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Jan. 20, 2015 - Medical Student Eyes Ophthalmology as Career Path

salisbury03.JPGUniversity of South Alabama fourth-year medical student Daniel Salisbury is continuing a family tradition. He recently found out he matched in an early match program in ophthalmology.

Salisbury, a native of Mobile, matched at Tulane University’s ophthalmology program in New Orleans. He will be the fifth ophthalmologist in his family. Salisbury’s father trained in ophthalmology at Tulane University, and it is also where his older brother will be training in ophthalmology one year ahead of him.

“I had a strong feeling that I would end up at Tulane,” he said. “I couldn't have been more excited.”

“Ophthalmology is a very competitive residency,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean for medical education and student affairs and professor and vice chair of the department of cell biology and neuroscience at USA.

The majority of medical students go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out where they will be doing their residency training following graduation, but students who wish to match in ophthalmology participate in a specialty match program that takes place months before Match Day in late March.

Salisbury said he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a doctor. “I first became interested in medicine when I was a child because I was quite injury prone and often had to make trips to the emergency room,” he said. “I would always watch the doctor stitch me up.”

Because of his family’s history, ophthalmology was always a consideration when Salisbury entered medical school. “I had a lot of experience from working in my father's office as a teenager, but I also realized that there was more to the field of medicine than just ophthalmology.”

He thought it only fair to have an unbiased opinion in making his decision prior to his application for residency. “I found that I enjoyed surgery, but I also really enjoyed talking to patients,” he said. “Ophthalmology provided a balance of clinic and surgery, but I found the microsurgery to be most intriguing.” He made his final decision – to pursue the ophthalmology career path – in March of his third year.

Salisbury will start his ophthalmology residency in July 2016 after completing a one-year internship. “I am looking forward to living in New Orleans with two of my older brothers,” he said, “and I'm also looking forward to going to Saints games.”

It is his medical education at USA that will help guide Salisbury through his residency. “USA was everything that I could have asked for in a medical school,” he said. “It allowed enough autonomy and responsibility to students to promote self-learning and confidence.”

Salisbury said he is fortunate to have matched early in one of the few specialties that participates in the early match, but he is eagerly waiting for Match Day when he can celebrate with the rest of his classmates. “I believe that will be the time when my matching will really take the full effect,” he said.

The remainder of the USA College of Medicine Class of 2015 will find out where they matched on Match Day, March 20, 2015. The event will take place at the Mobile Convention Center in downtown Mobile.

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