Jack Friend said his path to one of the most competitive residency programs was not a traditional one. He praised the supportive environment at USA College of Medicine.

Published Jan 22nd, 2020

By Carol McPhail

CMcPhail@health.southalabama.edu

Fourth-year medical student Jack Friend has matched in one of the most competitive residency programs, ophthalmology, at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

The Mobile native said he will join 2019 graduates from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Drs. Christopher Lasecki and John Morgan, who are current ophthalmology residents at LSU.

“I’m excited to end up at LSU,” Friend said. “It’s going to be great to be two hours from home and to be with fellow South graduates.”

While most medical students will match through the National Resident Matching Program on March 20, students who wish to match in certain specialties such as military and ophthalmology programs participate in a special, earlier match.

Friend, who earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alabama, said he chose ophthalmology after shadowing Christopher Semple, M.D., of Premier Medical in Mobile during his first year of medical school. “What drew me in was retinal surgery,” he said. “I liked the delicate and high-tech nature of the procedures, and the patients you work with are great. It was a good personality fit for me.”

Friend presented research in 2019 examining early immune responses in the cornea at a meeting of the Association for Research in vision and Ophthalmology in Vancouver, British Columba. The project documented immune responses occurring in the cornea of the eye following an infection by the Herpes Simplex Virus. He had worked on the project with Robert Barrington, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the USA College of Medicine.

Friend said his path to one of the most competitive residency programs was not a traditional one. He praised the supportive environment at USA College of Medicine. “It took me three tries to get into medical school,” he said. “Being here, it’s been quite the journey.”

With his match behind him, Friend said that he will be a little more relaxed on Match Day in March. “I’ll already know what my envelope will say,” he said. “But I’ll see other students’ excitement when they match – hopefully with wherever they want to go. It won’t take away from that.”

The USA College of Medicine’s Match Day ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 20, in the Christ Center Gym at Christ United Methodist Church, located at 6101 Grelot Road.

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