School of Medicine students celebrate strong residency placements on unconventional Match Day

March 20, 2020

Moses and her family

When Jalea Moses, MD ’20, chose to study medicine, she was motivated to help underserved communities, the patients who lack access to consistent health care.

Moses took a step closer to her dream Friday when she matched with an emergency medicine residency at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago.

Moses was among 82 students at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine who learned of their placements through the National Resident Matching Program. Members of the Class of 2020 were among a record-high 40,084 applicants seeking 37,256 residencies in The Match.

“Doctors in the emergency department work at the front lines of medicine,” Moses said shortly after she learned of her match. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with this coronavirus pandemic, but I’m ready to do whatever I can to help.”

This year’s Match Day was a virtual celebration because of social distancing and other measures dictated by the coronavirus pandemic. Students opened emails during a live video conference hosted by Netter’s student leadership.

Overall, Netter students matched with residency programs across the country, including Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, UCLA Medical Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the University of Vermont Medical Center, along with clinical affiliates at Middlesex Health, Waterbury Hospital, Griffin Hospital, Saint Mary’s and St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

School of Medicine students matched in 17 disciplines, including family medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, psychiatry, internal medicine and neurology. The residencies span 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Tony Li-Geng, MD ’20, is excited to be heading to NYU Grossman School of Medicine in Brooklyn for an internal medicine residency. He opened his match email in Boston with his aunt and her family while videoconferencing with the rest of his family in California.

He began to envision his career taking a trajectory toward health care administration after taking an elective course at Netter in hospital administration. During the COVID-19 crisis, he has been watching how hospital administrators — from operations and engineering to security and finance — have been working together with care providers. “Health care is a team game,” he said.

School of Medicine

Li-Geng’s NYU residency will expose him to mentors in leadership roles, people whom he described as well-respected in the Greater New York medical community.

The campus is located in the Sunset Park neighborhood, where many Chinese-speaking and Spanish-speaking people live. Li-Geng, a Chinese American, has long been interested in the health of Asian Americans and did his capstone on managing diabetes in East Asian Americans.

He said he would not be surprised if he was called to his residency earlier than expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is what I’ve worked toward — taking care of people in a crisis. I consider it my duty and responsibility because I have this training. I compare it to how an enlisted soldier might feel. Yes, it’s scary, but at the end of the day, it’s what I signed up for, and what I want to do.”

Carrie Dubeau, MD ’20, was thrilled with her match into cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She fills their one position for 2020 and will be working alongside another Netter graduate from 2018.

“The past four years have prepared us for a variety of challenges, and the resiliency that we have gained in doing so has allowed us to face in this situation and this day without blinking an eye. Netter has provided us all what we need to face these moments, and I cannot wait to see how my classmates and I flourish in our future residencies,” she said.

In the couples match, Chhai Meas, MD ’20, and Florence Yuan, MD ’20, are headed to the University of California Irvine to continue their education in family medicine. The pair met during their first year at Netter.

The match checked all the important boxes for Meas and Yuan. The family medicine residency is highly regarded and comprehensive. It’s also situated within driving distance of their families. Meas, the son of Cambodian refugees, is from Riverside. Yuan, who speaks Mandarin Chinese and English, is from San Diego. Like Moses, they also want to treat underserved communities.

“A lot of times, family medicine is practiced in urgent care, so we’ll see patients who don’t have great health literacy,” Meas said. “Patients may not even be able to read English, so they might come in with a fever and cough. Right now, given the socioeconomic barriers, access to health care during this pandemic is more crucial than ever.”

Yuan, the first doctor in her family, agreed. “As entering interns, we have a role to play for those who can’t advocate for themselves,” she said. “I speak Mandarin Chinese, so I’m often sharing information with my family and friends. Sometimes, the information from China and the U.S. is conflicting, so that makes everything even more confusing.”

Britton Gibson, MD ’20, is heading to the UConn School of Medicine for an OB-GYN residency. She said the specialty meets several of her interests and offers significant surgical opportunities. She delivered her first baby during her third-year clerkship.

“I asked the attending if I could put in the patient’s Foley catheter and she said, ‘If you put in the Foley, you have to deliver the baby.’ It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I also delivered babies during my fourth-year obstetrics sub-internship, and I look forward to this aspect of my career.”

Gibson has been conducting research into sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, for the last 10 years. She looks forward to continuing this work from a sexual and reproductive health angle.

For Dr. Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, Match Day is framed by a growing reputation for producing students who are well trained, compassionate and collaborative. “Our students have once again achieved exceedingly strong matches and head into the next chapter of their careers fully prepared for the challenges ahead,” Koeppen said. “Netter students are trained across diverse settings to become compassionate, patient-centered physicians — the world needs this now more than ever.”

For Dr. Kim Pham, associate dean for student affairs, an unconventional Match Day celebrated the resiliency and adaptability of an accomplished class.

“The Netter community is closely knit, and our students’ dedication is so evident in the way they have continued to support each other — even if done virtually from their respective homes,” she said.

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