University of South Florida

Another beautiful Match Day!

Senior medical students at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine learned where they will spend their residencies on national Match Day

Click here for Match Day 2018 results.

The lawn outside Ulele restaurant along the banks of Hillsborough River was packed March 16, as senior medical students from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM) gathered with friends and family to learn where they will spend their residency training after graduating from medical school next month.

Called Match Day, the annual event is held at all medical schools across the country to reveal where senior medical students will spend their residencies, the next step in their medical education – which can last from three to seven years, depending on the specialty. The match process is handled through the National Residency Match Program (NRMP).  Match Day, which follows several months of students applying for, interviewing for, and ranking their preferred residency programs, is when students learn which residency programs chose them. This year’s NRMP main match was the largest in history: a record-high 37,103 applicants submitted program choices for 33,167 positions, the most ever offered in the Match.

For USF MCOM, festivities began with a welcome and good luck from USF System President Judy Genshaft.

“This has always been the most joyous event,” Genshaft said. “Best wishes, good luck and congratulations.”

USF System President Judy Genshaft, center, with Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and Morsani College of Medicine dean, and Dr. Kira Zwygart, MCOM associate dean for student affairs.

Up next was MCOM Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, thanking the USF Board of Trustees, MCOM Alumni Society members, and donors who attended the event, including Dr. David Vesley and Helen Vasiloudes.

Turning to the students, Dr. Lockwood said “We have all been working on this day for the last four years, but especially our students. All of you senior medical students from the Class of 2018 have worked very hard to get here.”

Then, at high noon, the first envelope was drawn, going to Carrie Ryan, who matched to a general surgery residency at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine.

The first match! Carrie Ryan.

For this year’s Match Day, the Class of 2018 includes 158 MCOM students, of which 48 are in the SELECT MD program and have spent the past two years doing their clinical rotations in Allentown, PA.

More of the Class of 2018: USF Health students in the SELECT MD program matched in Allentown, PA.

In addition, five students participated in military matches. As happens in military matches, these students already learned where they will be conducting their residencies, but joined in the celebration with their classmates at Match Day.

Names continued to be announced by Kira Zwygart, MD, associate dean for MCOM Office of Student Affairs. One by one, senior students came forward to accept an envelope, open it, and discover their futures.

Each medical school has its own tradition for releasing the match information: some simply hand out envelopes and students open them en masse. The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine has a long-standing tradition for handing out envelopes one at a time, in random order, and allowing each student to open and announce to their classmates where he or she is headed. The additional attention to each student and the additional time for sharing their news creates a festive atmosphere that, over the years, has offered generations of USF students an opportunity to savor the moment that defines their future.

Another MCOM tradition: each student places a dollar into a box and, because the student names are called in random order, the final envelope holder gets the cash. This year, the final call went to a couple: Sarah Rawi and Alec Freling. Both are going to the University of Connecticut School of Medicine; Rawi matched in an internal medicine residency and Freling will be in emergency medicine.

And the money goes to a couples match… Sarah Rawi and Alec Freling.

Then the crowd of newly matched students gathered together for what might be their last photo as a class. Everyone cheered in unison, thrilled to have matched.

The MCOM Class of 2018 shows their USF Bulls pride.

Stats: From the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine: 158 students matched; 34 students (21.5%) are staying at USF; 70 (44.3%) are staying in Florida; and 59 students (37.3%) chose primary care as their specialty (internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics). Click here for more details about the nationwide Match from the National Residency Match Program.


Match Day defines the future for students

Yohan Perera always knew he wanted to travel internationally to care for the underserved. In choosing a specialty for his career, Perera felt it was family medicine that offered the most opportunities to meet that goal.

“I have always felt a strong calling to serve internationally and family medicine will allow me a lot of flexibility to do that,” Perera said. “I wanted to be well prepared to meet the challenges of international medicine. I love surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics and internal medicine, and it is family medicine that does all of those, plus has the international opportunities I’m seeking.”

California bound: Yohan Perera and his wife Jessica celebrate his match to a residency in family medicine in Ventura, California.

To bolster his drive for serving, Perera started his tenure at MCOM by volunteering at the BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, which treats a medically underserved population near the USF campus. The effort made a lasting impact: he was executive director for a year, helped apply for and get a $38,000 grant from Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, helped coordinate the addition of a cardiology night at BRIDGE clinics to offer much-needed ultrasound and EKG screenings, and helped expand counseling services, too.

“It’s been awesome to gain this experience,” he said. “In addition to helping an underserved population, I gained invaluable organizational leadership experience.”

Perera said it is MCOM that really provided the strong education he will need in the years ahead. When looking at medical schools, USF Health’s medical school stood out for offering better clinical experiences to their students than other programs, he said.

“Medical schools have pretty much the same first two years for a curriculum,” he said. “It’s the third and fourth year that really make you a doctor, and USF offers the breadth of clinical experience, opportunities and expertise I’ll use my entire life.”

Perera matched in family medicine at ­­­­­­­Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California.


Chelsea Wilson saw firsthand the intensity of the emergency room, and she knew she wanted to work in the middle of it.

After spending five years as a physician assistant, nearly two of which was in an ER, she realized that she wanted the increased responsibility of being a physician.

“I love the diversity of conditions and care requirements that come into an emergency room, the diagnostic work that is always from scratch with each new patient, building from the ground up every time – it’s like a puzzle,” she said.

With her parents, Kira and Ron, Chelsea Wilson learns she’s headed to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

Wilson’s drive fits well with that specialty, and has always pushed her to stay ahead of her peers. She was homeschooled and dual enrolled in college classes, finishing more than two years of college before graduating high school. Then she went on to the University of Florida for a master’s degree as a physician assistant – graduating as a PA at age 22!

While at MCOM, Wilson created a workshop as her capstone project that is designed to teach senior students about finances, loan repayment and saving for retirement.

“My personal goal for the project is to get people to save during their residencies and make responsible financial decisions that will set them up for the future,” she said. “If we keep living like a resident, even for two years, once we become an attending physician, it will make a huge difference in the long term.”

Additionally, saving during residency, she said, means they can contribute to their Roth IRAs while their income still qualifies them. She emphasizes the point by showing how it pays off in the long run through the power of compounding interest.

“This kind of information is lacking for graduating students, especial physicians who already start saving years after their peers due to the length of medical school and residency,” she said.

Wilson, the first in her family to become a physician, hoped to be matched at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. And she did, in emergency medicine.


Mark Schattschneider is not your typical senior medical student. He is 39 years old, worked as a registered nurse, and has five children.

But those atypical experiences are really what prepared him to become a physician.

Schattschneider never thought about medical school while growing up. And not in college or in his early career, either. The decision to become a doctor came while he was already in a career and well down the road for building a family. A job as a patient transporter at Moffitt Cancer Center gave Schattschneider his first look at the medical field. That led to training as a nurse aide, then to becoming a registered nurse, a role he had for nine years.

“I was working in the intensive care unit and loving it, but I knew I wanted to do more, to have a wider responsibility for my patients,” he said. “Going to medical school would be a huge time commitment and, like many, I wondered about my academic confidence.”

Mark Schattschneider announces to his family and the world that they are staying in Florida — he matched to an emergency medicine residency at Orlando Health.

Then, while on a medical mission to the Dominican Republic, Schattschneider talked with some of the doctors.

“They all gave me great insight into what the career is like,” he said. “And while chatting with a surgeon, for every excuse or obstacle I said was in my way, he told me he had said the same things, and that nothing was really standing in my way. He told me that, if I feel a calling, I have to go for it.”

But it would take seven more years before he actually started medical school. Work and family stretched the effort but in 2014, at age 35 and with five children, he stood with his classmates on the first day of medical school at USF Health.

Four years later, he is matching to his residency.

Schattschneider fulfilled his hopes – he is staying in Florida in an emergency medicine residency at Orlando Health.


Communications team supporting Match Day 2018: Anne DeLotto Baier, Freddie Coleman, Torie Doll, Shelby Kaplan, Tina Meketa, Ryan Noone, Elizabeth Peacock, Sandra Roa, Sarah Worth, Michelle Young, Eric Younghans.





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