Match Day Brings Tears of Joy for Miller School Graduates

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Big hugs, tears of joy, and shouts of excitement rang out at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, March 20, as the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s graduating Class of 2021 celebrated Match Day after learning where they will continue their training as residents.

“We congratulate our graduates as they take a big step toward fulfilling their lifelong dreams of becoming doctors,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer, at the Miller School’s second virtual Match Day celebration. “While we couldn’t be together in person this year, Match Day is as momentous as ever, as we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our students and their families.”

Every year, students in the Miller School graduating class apply for residencies at medical institutions throughout the country, which then send their preferences for individual residents. On Match Day, the National Residency Match Program released the results through individual emails at noon.

Leah Colucci was thrilled about heading for Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut for a residency in emergency medicine. “My parents will be coming with me for the residency, so this is a big day for them, too,” she said. “My grandmother passed from Alzheimer’s disease and I have really enjoyed studying neuroscience in medical school. It’s been a great four years.”

Dean Henri Ford addresses the Class of 2021 on Match Day.

Hilit F. Mechaber, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs, moderated the virtual ceremony, which included congratulatory remarks from the other medical education deans. “It is a pleasure to welcome you to our profession as colleagues,” she said. “Congratulations to all of you and your families as you celebrate this milestone together.”

As for the most requested fields of medicine, Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., executive dean and founding chair of the Department of Medical Education, said 37 residents chose internal medicine, compared with 21 in obstetrics-gynecology, 16 in pediatrics, 12 in surgery, and nine in anesthesiology. She added that 42 percent of the Class of 2021 will train in primary care.  Overall, 58 percent of the new residents are women and 42 percent are men.

This year, 31 Miller School graduates will continue their training at out-of-state residencies in New York, Texas, California, 24 other states and the District of Columbia. Desmond Green will be traveling across the country to train in pediatrics at University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals in Seattle. “I’ve learned many things in medical school, including the importance of mental toughness,” he said. “I’m looking forward to serving the behavioral health needs of families in this time of COVID.”

Reflecting on her goals, Marie Desir said she was inspired by her mother, who worked as a nurse in Haiti before the family emigrated to the U.S. “I have always wanted to be a physician and make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “Our education at the Miller School has prepared us well to be both physicians and advocates for our patients.”  Now, she will begin a residency in psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Helen Bermudez is also heading for Boston for a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Growing up in Cuba, I wanted to be a physician,” she said. “When I came here, I faced many challenges, but my husband and my mom encouraged me to keep going, and turn my American dream into reality.”

Nearly 50 Miller School graduates will be staying in Miami with residencies at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital. That includes the Parrish family: James Parrish, who will begin a residency in orthopaedic surgery, Manasi Soni Parrish, whose residency will be in psychiatry, and their young son Miles. “The Miller School opened the door to both of us,” said James Parrish, who served in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan before beginning medical school. “We are both very excited about what our future holds.”

The ceremony included a guest appearance by Alex Mechaber, M.D., former senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education and now associate vice president for Physician Licensure Programs at the National Board of Medical Examiners. “It is wonderful to see you all again,” he said. “The future of medicine is very bright, thanks to all of you. I know you will continue to make the Miller School proud.”