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March 18, 2013 - Match Day 2013
USA senior medical student Rachel Roberts opens her envelope at the Match Day ceremony. Roberts matched in anesthesiology at University Hospital & Clinics in Jackson, Miss.

On March 15, 2013, after much anticipation, senior medical students at the University of South Alabama gathered at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile to find out this year’s Match Day results.

The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.

“Match Day is an important day in the life of a medical school,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs. “This year, as in the past, we are extremely proud of our students’ successes in securing excellent residency positions. Their success reflects years of hard work on their part and also speaks to the quality of the educational training provided to them here in the USA College of Medicine.”

The Match works like this. After interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

Amy Freeman matched in obstetrics and gynecology at USA.

Amy Freeman, a fourth-year medical student at USA, is a first generation college graduate who was granted admission through the University’s Early Acceptance program.

Born and raised in Theodore, Ala., Freeman had plenty of exposure to medicine at an early age. Her mom was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and Freeman grew up accompanying her at endocrinology appointments.

“Everything about it fascinated me, and I wanted to be involved in every way possible,” Freeman said. “It was devastating to watch my mom deal with her illness, but it was a blessing to be introduced to the world of medicine and develop a passion for it.”

During medical school, Freeman said trying to focus on her classes and care for her mom seemed impossible.

“There were times when I wasn’t sure if I would be good enough,” Freeman said, “but knowing I had the support of my friends and family kept me going.”

Looking back on all the experiences that led her to this point, Freeman said she knows it was meant to be. “The obstacles I faced taught me that perseverance can overcome anything and made me stronger than I ever imagined I could be,” she said. “As I move forward into residency, I am confident that the life lessons I have learned and the encouragement from those around me will carry me through.”

Freeman matched in obstetrics and gynecology at USA.

“USA was my first choice so I am ecstatic,” she said. “It was really important for me to stay in Mobile to stay near my family, and I love the people here.”

Sonia Savani matched in medicine-pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

Sonia Savani, senior class vice president at the USA College of Medicine, was also granted admission to the medical school through the University’s Early Acceptance Program. In addition, she was USA’s first undergraduate to have scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.

“I have had an absolutely phenomenal experience at medical school at USA,” Savani said. “The faculty and administration are outstanding student advocates, and my classmates are amazing people who will make fantastic physicians. Such a personalized, hands-on medical education coupled with the supportive environment is truly a rare opportunity, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been given the chance to begin my journey as a physician here at the USA College of Medicine.”

Savani hopes to pass down her experiences at USA to her younger siblings. Her little brother, Umair, is starting medical school at USA next fall and was also granted admission through the Early Acceptance Program.

Sonia’s younger sister Sunna is a ninth-grader at Ocean Springs High School. “She is by far the smartest of all of us,” Sonia said. “She just scored an insanely high score on the ACT as a freshman in high school, and we are very proud of her. She may just be the third Savani to come through USA.”

Savani matched in medicine-pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

“I’m really excited. It’s such a great program, and I’ve been praying for it,” Savani said. “USA has prepared me for everything I will encounter in my residency.”

Malori Evans matched in psychiatry at Einstein-Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

Senior medical student Malori Evans said her career as a physician will allow her to give others a second chance at life – a gift that she was given many years ago.

At the age of two, Evans was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma and spent the next two years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment. Shortly after her fourth birthday, her cancer went into remission.

Evans said the years following were spent visiting the hospital on a regular basis for check-ups.

“During this time, I developed an interest in science and medicine,” she said. “From an early age, I knew I wanted to grow up to become a doctor.”

Evans matched in psychiatry at Einstein-Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

The NRMP also allows couples to form pairs of choices on their primary rank order lists. The couple will match to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position.

Tessa Kleyn (right) matched in pediatrics at USA. Her husband, Emile, matched in internal medicine at USA.

USA medical students Tessa and Emile Kleyn met during their undergraduate studies at USA.

They had their wedding ceremony in South Africa in July 2009 and started medical school together at USA in August of the same year.

When Tessa was diagnosed with cancer on her first day of medical school orientation, she was thankful to have her husband by her side.

"My husband is my best friend, and I am his No. 1 fan,” she said. “For the first two years of medical school we had the same class schedule, we sat together in class, we shared notes, and we challenged each other to do our individual bests. I would not have made it through without his support. When I felt like giving up just after my surgery, he encouraged me to push through."

Tessa, who received treatment at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, said she was extremely grateful to have access to excellent care close to home.

“I underwent curative surgery just one week after my diagnosis and PET scan surveillance for the subsequent three years,” she said. “I cannot pretend that every day was a good day, but I can say with fervor that I fought cancer, I fought to stay in medical school, and I will be a better doctor to my patients for it."

Tessa was recently awarded the Regan Robinson Young scholarship, created in memory of a medical student at USA who was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2003 at the age of 23. The scholarship provides assistance to a rising senior medical student who embodies Regan’s spirit and character. In addition, Tessa’s husband Emile was chosen by his classmates to receive the Arnold P. Gold Humanism award, given to a senior who has demonstrated outstanding compassion to patients and their families.

Tessa matched in pediatrics at USA and Emile matched in internal medicine at USA.

“We are so very excited about it,” Tessa said. “We both received our undergraduate degrees at USA and worked at the USA Trauma Center as patient care assistants. This is our home.”

To view more photos from the event, click here. For the complete list of Match Day results, click here.

For more Match Day news coverage, click the following links:
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