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by Jessica Pasley | Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014, 9:16 AM
For the first time that she can remember, Paula Marincola forgot her own birthday. Once the most celebrated day of her life, it took a backseat to another milestone on March 21 — Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Match Day.
As she stood on the stage in Langford Auditorium waiting to open the envelope that held an important answer about her future, the audience broke out in song.
While onlookers crooned “Happy Birthday” to the 26-year-old, two friends ducked behind the table on stage to read the contents of the envelope to determine where Marincola was matching.
They presented her with a surgeon-outfitted stuffed animal bearing the T-shirt of her residency match — right here at Vanderbilt.
“Today was absolutely the best day EVER,” beamed Marincola. “I love my birthday so much and every year I make a big deal of it, but with it being Match Day, I sort of forgot. So today was a great surprise and I am staying at Vanderbilt for my general surgery residency.”
Match Day is the crowning moment of the National Resident Match Program (NRMP), which matches thousands of medical students with residency programs at medical centers and hospitals across the country.
This year 93 fourth-year School of Medicine students learned where they will be spending the next several years in their medical residencies.
By Vanderbilt tradition, names were randomly selected by Scott Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for Medical Student Affairs.
“Given the increasingly competitive environment in the match, we are all extremely pleased with our results this year and very proud of the senior class,” said Rodgers. “Once again our match list is fantastic.
“With the opening of new medical schools across the country and an ever-expanding enrollment to deal with the physician shortage, the residency applicant pool was the largest ever. And still our students were accepted into some of the most competitive programs and specialties.The class of 2014 has given Vanderbilt another banner year,” Rodgers said.
Each announcement was paired with a personalized walk-up song and a picture montage displayed on the screen behind the student, inspiring thunderous applause, whooping calls, whistling and noisemakers.
Early match was available for students going into Ophthalmology, Urology and the U.S. Military, but that didn’t quell the excitement for those students.
For Nicholas Smith, who learned in January that he would be heading to his first choice, UCLA, for his Urological Surgery residency, the event was still a big day for him and his wife, Rachel, who just recently married.
“Whew,” said a beaming Smith. “This feels like a victory for all the hard work over the past four years. And it’s wonderful to have my beautiful wife here by my side. She has been here with me from the first day of medical school.”
The pair met while teaching in Miami. While Smith was pursuing his medical degree, Rachel was earning her masters in public health from Meharry Medical College. She will also graduate in May.
Thomas Davis was most excited to see his fiancée’s reaction to where he matched. The pair, who met as undergraduates at Vanderbilt University, will be married in June.
“Everywhere I interviewed, without even soliciting their thoughts, residents kept telling me you’ll never find teaching in emergency medicine like Vanderbilt’s. It didn’t take long for me to take the hint that Vanderbilt emergency medicine is a phenomenal place.”
Thankfully he matched at his top choice, Vanderbilt, a relief to his bride-to-be, a pre-kindergarten teacher with Metro Schools.
“This day is truly a celebration,” said Davis. “I love that we balance the stressful anticipation with fun.”
Every student who came to the stage to retrieve his or her envelope first had to place $1 in a fishbowl to build up a cash prize for the last student called, as a reward for patience in the face of high anxiety. The pot was sweetened by an initial donation of $200 by Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, who welcomed the students, families and friends to Match Day.
For Kim Grelli being last was actually a first.
“I’ve never won anything before,” said Grelli before announcing that she matched in Pediatrics at the University of Washington affiliated hospitals.
She took home $311.
Match Day was Webcast live, allowing family and friends from around the world to watch the festivities.
Anna Ahn – U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pediatrics
Annie Ahn – Baylor College of Medicine, Otolaryngology
Vignesh Alamanda – Carolinas Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery
Tiara Aldridge – VUMC, ObGyn
Laura Ballenger – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Pediatrics
Elizabeth Berry – VUMC, Medicine-Preliminary; Emory U. School of Medicine, Dermatology
Jennifer Best – Northwestern McGaw, Otolaryngology
Magdalena Bokiej – Case Western, Emergency Medicine
Stefan Bumol – U. of Illinois-Chicago, Psychiatry
Isaac Chocron Kaswan – Steward Carney Hospital, Transitional; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Ophthalmology
Javier Cifuentes – VUMC, Surgery-Preliminary
Matthew Clark – Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Emergency Medicine
Thomas Davis – VUMC, Emergency Medicine
Joshua Doyle – VUMC, Pediatrics
Carol Duh-Leong – Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center, Pediatrics-Primary
Ilyas Eli – U. of Utah Affiliated Hospitals, Neurological Surgery
Allison Ferreira – UCLA Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Curtis Gabriel – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Phillip Gorrindo – Northwestern McGaw, ObGyn
Kimberly Grelli – U. of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Pediatrics
Katharine Gurba – Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Anesthesiology
Joshua Gutierrez – Navy Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Jenny Held – Navy Medical Center, Surgery-General
Grace Ho – Eastern Virginia Medical School, Medicine-Preliminary; Deaconess Medical Center, Neurology
Jaycelyn Holland – VUMC, Pediatrics
Marguerite Hood – Children’s Hospital Boston, Pediatrics
Nina Hu – Indiana U. School of Medicine, Pediatrics
Vanessa Hux – Ohio State U. Medical Center, ObGyn
Karola Jering – Johns Hopkins Hospital, Internal Medicine
Rishin Kadakia – Emory U. School of Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery
Charissa Kahue – VUMC, Otolaryngology
Barry Kang – Wayne State U. Detroit Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Natasha Kassim – U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Internal Medicine/Women’s Health
Carmela Kiraly – U. of Chicago Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Harish Krishnamoorthi – U. of Texas Southwestern Medical School, General Surgery
Anupam Kumar – Hospital of the U. of Pennsylvania, Internal Medicine
Michelle Law – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Haerin Lee – UCLA Medical Center, Surgery-Preliminary
Zhuoyan Li – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Opal Lin-Tsai – UCLA Medical Center, Pathology
Lucy Lu – Bassett Medical Center, Transitional; Duke U. Medical Center, Radiology-Diagnostic
Michele Luhm Vigor – U. of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Emergency Medicine
Paula Marincola – VUMC, General Surgery
Nicholas Markham – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Shannon McConnaughey – U. of Washington Affiliated Hospitals, Internal Medicine
Matthew McDonald – U. of Oklahoma, Orthopaedic Surgery
Jude McElroy – UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience, Psychiatry
Ryan McGrath – U. of Michigan Hospitals, Internal Medicine
Andrew Medvecz – VUMC, General Surgery
Elliot Min – U. of Southern California, Neurological Surgery
Lauren Mioton – Northwestern McGaw, Plastic Surgery
Catherine Abbie Necessary – VUMC, Medicine-Preliminary; Baylor College of Medicine, Dermatology
Marta Perez – Barnes-Jewish Hospital, ObGyn
Walker Plash – U. of Cincinnati Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Kristen Ploetze – Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Orthopaedic Surgery
Maria Prom – Massachusetts General Hospital, Psychiatry
Brittney Pryor – U. of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Child Neurology
Jennifer Rahn – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Family Medicine
Rachel Reinert – U. of Michigan Hospitals, Internal Medicine
Quentin Reuter – Northwestern McGaw, Emergency Medicine
Michael Reyes – Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Anesthesiology
Nicole Roberts – Christiana Care, ObGyn
Carmen Rodriguez – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Gretchen Roth – Central Iowa Health System, Transitional; U. of Iowa Hospitals, Dermatology
Megan Ryan – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Nishma Sachedina – U. of Chicago Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Sarah Scott – VUMC, Medicine-Pediatrics
Fyza Shaikh – U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Nakul Shekhawat – St. Joseph Mercy, Transitional; U. of Michigan, Ophthalmology
Monique Simpson – U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Psychiatry
Michael Siuta – VUMC, Surgery-Preliminary
Shannon Skinner – VUMC, Internal Medicine
Ashley Smith – Baylor College of Medicine, Psychiatry
Nicholas Smith – UCLA Medical Center, Surgery-Preliminary; Urology
Jessica Solomon – Children’s Hospital Boston, Pediatrics-Preliminary; Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
Michael Spinner – Stanford, Internal Medicine
Ilana Stol – Yale-New Haven Hospital, Internal Medicine
Daniel Sun – Cleveland Clinic, Surgery-Preliminary; Urology
Russell Sundby – UCSF, Pediatrics
Maria Tamborski – UCLA Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Charles Terry – Emory U. School of Medicine, Internal Medicine
Analise Thomas – Duke U. Medical Center, Plastic Surgery
Daniel Tilden – VUMC, Medicine-Pediatrics
James Tsahakis – Denver Health Medical Center, Emergency Medicine
Uzoamaka Ugochukwu – VUMC, Neurology
Voranaddha Vacharathit – Cleveland Clinic, General Surgery
Prakasa Vempati – Tufts Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Magarya Waitara – Ohio State U. Medical Center, General Surgery
Jonathan Wolfe – U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Brian Wright – VUMC, Surgery-Preliminary; U. of Missouri Hospitals, Radiology-Diagnostic
Soo Yang – Stanford, Pathology
Jessica Pasley, (615) 322-4747
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