|Lauren Chastain celebrates her match in psychiatry at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, S.C.|
On March 15, 2019, senior medical students at the USA College of Medicine gathered in the Grand Ballroom at the Mobile Convention Center. The annual event – coined Match Day – serves as one of the biggest days in a medical student’s career.
|USA College of Medicine Class of 2019|
After interviewing with residency programs across the nation, students rank their top-choice programs in order of preference. Training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP then uses a mathematical algorithm to designate each applicant into a residency program. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.
The USA College of Medicine seniors matched in 20 states, with 58 students matching out-of-state and 19 students matching in the state of Alabama. Twelve of those students matching in Alabama matched at USA Hospitals.
“Match Day is a huge day for medical students,” Dr. Marymont said. “After students complete their undergraduate career, they go on to do four years of medical school where they earn their doctor of medicine,” he said. “During their residency training, they will become immersed in the specialty of their choice and build upon the fundamental skills they learned during medical school.”
A milestone for students, faculty and USA Health at this year’s Match Day ceremony was announcing one of the students entering the newly established emergency medicine residency program at USA Health. The program received accreditation in January and will welcome the first class of residents in July.
According to Dr. Edward Panacek, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the USA College of Medicine, Alabama has an extreme shortage of board-certified emergency medicine physicians – a predicament he said will be addressed with USA’s new training program. “The majority of resident physicians, particularly emergency medicine physicians, ultimately practice within 50 to 100 miles of where they finish their training,” Dr. Panacek said.
Christopher Musselwhite matched in emergency medicine at
“I knew I wanted to pursue medicine shortly after graduating from the Coast Guard Academy,” Musselwhite said. “I really enjoyed my studies, and wanted to continue them in a way that would result in practical benefit for others.”
Musselwhite said another source of motivation was their response to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010. “What was the most striking was coming on-scene to Port-Au-Prince and seeing the devastation,” he said. “One year prior, we had taken on supplies from Port-Au-Prince to deliver to northern Haiti for Hurricane Gustav response, and the city didn’t look the same at all.”
Musselwhite, along with his wife and three children, is looking forward to this next journey. He said he is honored to serve in the first class of emergency medicine residents. “I feel privileged to be in the first class because we get to shape the destiny of how the program will be in the future,” he said. “It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get to work.”
"Our motto in the Coast Guard is 'Semper Paratus,' which means 'Always Ready,'" he said. “This motto still holds true, because in the emergency department, you have to be always ready for whatever rolls in the door."
Perrin Windham matched in pediatrics at the University of
Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga.
As part of a new initiative aimed at expanding access to quality health care for all Alabamians, Windham was among three medical students at USA this year who received a $60,000 scholarship from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
According to the Alabama Rural Health Association, 54 of Alabama’s 56 rural counties are entirely or partially classified as primary care and mental health care shortage areas. To help meet this need, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama partnered with the USA College of Medicine to offer $1.2 million in scholarships, over a five-year period, to deserving USA medical students. Primary care encompasses family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology.
Windham of Daphne, Ala., said the scholarship served as a reinforcement for her career path as well. She initially intended to specialize in oncology, the result of losing her father to cancer at a young age. But, once she went through the pediatrics rotation during her third year of medical school at USA, Windham realized her calling was working with children. “Being able to see kids, even when they were sick, made me so happy," she said. "I loved going to work every day."
Windham matched in pediatrics at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, Tenn. After completing her residency training, she will commit a minimum of three years to practicing as primary care physicians in medically under-served areas of Alabama, as part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield scholarship.
Tina Artz matched in dermatology at Henry Ford Hospitals in
“I played Division I soccer for the South Alabama’s women’s soccer team for all four years during my undergraduate career,” Artz said. “I quickly learned that teamwork, time management and discipline were everyday essentials. These values allowed me to succeed on the field and in the classroom, and I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in biomedical sciences.”
During her senior year, USA won the Sunbelt Conference Tournament Championship. “The skills I mastered during my undergraduate career allowed me to go from working with an athletic team to a medical team," Artz said. "Instead of scoring goals, the aim of our game is getting our patients healthier.”
Artz matched in dermatology at Henry Ford Hospitals in Detroit, Mich. As she enters the highly competitive specialty – with only 25 residency positions available in the 2018 Match – Artz said she is greatly looking forward to starting this new journey.
She comes from a family of family medicine physicians, but decided against that route due to her “specialist personality.” “Both my father and older sister serve as family medicine physicians,” she said. “There are many overlapping features of family medicine and dermatology. In both, I am able to work with all age ranges, treat all diseases that are specific to those ages and create lifelong relationships.”
David Roveda matched in radiation oncology at the University
of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham.
Roveda matched in radiation oncology at the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala.
“I chose to specialize in oncology because the patient-physician relationship between cancer patients and their oncologists was at a deeper level than any other I witnessed during medical school,” he said. “I was always enamored by both the patients who sought to actively take control of their disease, as well as their physicians who had the opportunity to care for these patients in their most vulnerable moments.”
He credits the medical education he received at the USA College of Medicine for adequately preparing him for his next steps as a resident physician. “The USA College of Medicine’s active engagement and investment in my education has provided me the necessary foundation to begin my path of residency,” he said.
Roveda said he is looking forward to what his residency training will bring. "When I reflect on my four years here," he said, "those same principles frame the culture of the program and allow me to feel comfortable and confident entering residency."
View more photos of Match Day 2019 on Flickr.
Click here for a complete list of Match Day 2019 results.
Watch the recap video of Match Day 2019 on YouTube or below.