Matches Made in Medicine: SMD Grads Learn Where They’re Headed Next

Mar. 15, 2018
In the summer between Nichole Roxas’ third and fourth year of medical school, she had an allergic reaction that made it hard for her to breathe. An EMT quickly came to her rescue, but the frightening experience prompted her to look at health care with new eyes.

“I got a second chance at life that day and realized how valuable access to quality health care is,” said Roxas, who later joined with many of her SMD classmates to speak out publicly against the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal last fall. “I realized that I could use my voice as a future physician to help ensure that no one in our country is ever left without the care they need.”

Roxas, who will receive her medical degree in May, was one of 100 soon-to-be physicians from the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry who recently found out where they’re headed to complete the next three-to-seven years of their residency training. When Roxas opened her envelope on Match Day—with her parents and roommate at her side—she learned that she’s going to Yale-New Haven Hospital. She found it hard to breathe for a whole different reason.

Nichole Roxas learns she's headed to Yale.
Nichole Roxas learns she's headed to Yale for residency.

“I almost couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Roxas, who also holds an MPH and will train at Yale to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist, while continuing to advocate for health equity. “I started crying happy tears because it’s a dream come true for me. The education I received in Rochester has irrevocably shaped my moral compass and the direction of my career.”

Match Day, which took place at exactly 12 noon on March 16, is when medical students across the country get the results of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which matches the preferences of students with the preferences of residency programs. Of the 18,818 students nationwide who entered the match this year, 94.3% were able to secure residencies that they will begin in July.

Specific to the URSMD, 21 students will remain at URMC for their residencies, while 18 will complete their training elsewhere in New York State. Those remaining are headed to 23 states and the District of Columbia. As it has been the last few years, Internal Medicine was the top specialty choice (19), and a total of 41 students are pursuing primary care through Internal Medicine, Family Medicine (11), Internal Medicine-Pediatrics (3) and Pediatrics (8) residency programs.  

Couple Derrick German and Kenia Valdez
Couple Derrick German and Kenia Valdez both matched to URMC

Engaged couple Derrick German and Kenia Valdez are two SMD students who will join the ranks of URMC’s Family Medicine residency program. As the clock neared noon in the SMD’s Class of ’62 auditorium, they were visibly worried they might not match to the same place. But their worry quickly turned to joy.

“Rochester was our top choice because we love the sense of community here, and of course it’s where we met too,” said Derrick. “We were holding our breath up to the last minute not knowing for sure, and now it feels so incredible, like a new door has opened for us.”

Should the couple decide to practice in Rochester after residency, they will be part of a growing number of primary care physicians doing so. Between 2013 and 2017, 32% of the 265 residency graduates of URMC’s four primary specialties went into practice in the Finger Lakes region.

Guylda Richard with her loved ones
Guylda Richard, second from right, with her loved ones.

For Guylda Richard, Match Day was especially emotional because she never expected her father—a lung transplant recipient who had a heart attack while she was in medical school—to be standing beside her as she learned she would be training at URMC, her number-one choice. She is entering the Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics program, which was ranked best in the nation by Doximity in 2016.

“I was attracted to Rochester for medical school because of the biopsychosocial model and the how we are taught from day one to think about patients as people with lives and backgrounds that contribute to their health,” said Richard. The SMD has allowed me to grow in my understanding of the people around me.”

“To have him here with me today, in good health, to see this, is so special I can’t put into words," said Richard, whose husband, mom, and mother-in-law also witnessed the event.

Sam Carrell with his wife Ellie
Sam Carrell, with his wife Ellie. Carrell is headed to the University of Pennsylvania.

While some are happy to stay in Rochester, Patrick Asselin, who grew up in Brighton and earned his undergrad degree from SUNY Geneseo, is looking forward to new surroundings at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where he’ll train in Child Neurology and continue his research in concussion and head injury.

His advice to incoming medical students?

“When medical school gets tough, remember why you want to be a doctor,” said Asselin, who will solidify a match of another kind when he marries his fiancé next week. “Rochester has prepared me to become a thoughtful, caring and compassionate physician, and I will remember all of the friends I made, and the great patient interactions I was able to experience here.”

See all of SMD’s Match Day results here.

See the NRMP national results here