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Future Doctors Gather Outdoors to Celebrate Match Day

Monday, March 21, 2022

Fourth-year medical students pick up bags containing envelopes revealing where they have been matched for residency programs. Photography by University of Arizona Health Sciences Communications, Kris Hanning.

After an excited countdown, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson Class of 2022 simultaneously opened their individual envelopes at precisely 9 a.m. on Friday, March 18. A letter inside revealed where they would spend the first three to seven years of their careers as physicians in specialized residency training programs.

Match Day occurs on the third Friday in March, when around 42,000 soon-to-be medical school graduates simultaneously learn where the National Residency Matching Program placed them. This year’s event was the first in-person Match Day ceremony held by the College of Medicine – Tucson since 2019, before the pandemic forced the 2020 and 2021 celebrations into virtual spaces.

“On this day two years ago, we faced uncertainty and concern about an evolving pandemic we knew absolutely nothing about. Today, we face optimism fueled by dropping rates of infection and rising rates of immunity,” said Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, dean of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. “Let us celebrate your resilience through this past year, which makes today even more special, and wish you success on the road ahead.”

Emotions were high as students tore open their envelopes. Cheers erupted across the crowded lawn west of the Old Main Building, and students embraced each other and their loved ones in celebration.

“This is an emotional event where you get to know where you’re going to spend the next many years of your life and fulfill your dreams of being a physician,” said Kevin Moynahan, MD, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson vice dean for education.

Fourth-year students Aaron Masjedi and Kayla Darris emceed the Match Day ceremonies and were part of the student committee that helped organize it. Masjedi’s residency specialty will be obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, and Darris will specialize in emergency medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, through Georgetown University.

Tucson Match Results

Class of 2022 students matched at 63 different hospitals across 28 states, including at prestigious institutions such as Stanford University, Yale University, the Mayo Clinic, UCLA, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The graduates will pursue specialties in areas such as anesthesiology, dermatology, neurology, orthopaedic surgery, radiology and urology.

More than a third of graduates will remain in Arizona, and more than half of the class will go into primary care, helping address the urgent need for more primary care physicians across the state and nation. Residencies generally start in July, and residents are required to go to the institution to which they matched.

Match Day highlights include:

44 graduates will complete their residencies in Arizona:

  • 30 in Tucson (10 primary care)
  • 13 in the greater Phoenix area (7 primary care)
  • 1 in Flagstaff (primary care)

32 graduates matched with Banner – University Medical Center (BUMC) residency programs in Tucson and Phoenix:

  • 25 will train at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson through the College of Medicine – Tucson Graduate Medical Education Program.
  • 4 will train at Banner – UMC South through the College of Medicine – Tucson South Campus.
  • 3 will train at the College of Medicine – Phoenix and Banner – UMC Phoenix.

52% of graduates matched into residencies in primary care fields, defined as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology:

  • 24% in internal medicine
  • 12% in family medicine
  • 12% in pediatrics

48% matched into non-primary care specialties:

  • 12% in emergency medicine
  • 11% in general surgery
  • 8% in psychiatry
  • 5% in anesthesiology
  • 5% in radiology (diagnostic)

Meet the Class of 2022

There were 114 members of the Class of 2022 who matched into residency programs. Below are a few of them.

Madina Jahed: ‘A dream come true’

Madina Jahed matched to a psychiatry residency at her top choice, Stanford University.

“All my family is in the Bay Area, so to be able to match back home and be with them, and also in one of the Top 10 psych programs, it’s like a dream come true,” she said. “I’m thankful for the support and mentorship I got at the University of Arizona because without it, I would not be at Stanford.”

Jahed spent her early years in Afghanistan, moving to San Jose, California, with her family when she was 7 years old. She says her early memories of the Taliban regime played a part in her attraction to psychiatry.

“Growing up amongst war, I knew mental health really affected our physical health, so I wanted to dedicate my career to that,” she said. “I wanted to address the mental and emotional needs of patients, because I saw it as something that was lacking in my own culture.”

As a medical student she worked toward a distinction in community service, which entailed participating in the Commitment to Underserved People (CUP) Clinics Program, which provides care to the Tucson community under the supervision of volunteer attending physicians.

“I’m dedicated to serving communities in medically underserved populations, and I want to focus on refugee and immigrant populations. That’s always been a passion of mine,” she said.

Austen Lowell Thompson, PhD: ‘I’m excited to get to work’

Phoenix native and first-generation college student Austen Lowell Thompson, PhD, matched into an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“It’s an ideal place to train and learn. I’m very excited to get to work,” he said. “They have the best surgeons in the world and are world renowned for the balance of research and academic surgery. You learn from the best teachers possible, and at the same time, some of the best research in the world comes out of the Mayo Clinic.”

Dr. Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in physiology from the College of Medicine – Tucson, as well as a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology from the College of Science, in 2012. His experience at the University of Arizona was so positive that he stayed for graduate school, enrolling in the MD-PhD program. In 2020, he completed his doctorate and is set to complete his MD in May.

His residency in Minnesota represents the first time he’ll be living outside of Arizona.

“I definitely see moving back to Arizona at some point, but I am excited for a different chapter,” he said.

Anna Ressel and Radu Moga: ‘We’re very happy’

Anna Ressel and Radu Moga will be married in April, and both matched into residencies in family medicine at Banner – UMC South through the College of Medicine – Tucson South Campus, which they said was their first choice. While they expected to be matched to residencies in the same city, they felt lucky to be matched to the same institution.

“We’ll be co-residents,” Ressel said excitedly.

They came to the ceremony by themselves so they could experience the anxiety and joy in relative privacy.

“This is such a life-altering moment for both of us, and we wanted to share it with just each other,” Ressel said.

They opened their envelopes simultaneously.

“I looked at mine immediately, and within a fraction of a section I saw his too and I started crying,” said Ressel.

“Lots of crying,” added Moga. “We’re very happy.”

They are both completing distinctions in rural health, which includes clinical rotations in rural communities. Ressel did a rural rotation in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, and says she enjoyed being part of the community.

“My rural rotation was my happiest memory of medical school. I loved getting to know the patients, the town and the culture,” she said. “Radu would come visit on the weekends and we would hike and try new restaurants and roast marshmallows in the backyard. It was all very picturesque and annoyingly wholesome.”

As recipients of the Primary Care Physician Scholarship, they will remain in Arizona after completing their residencies.

“We want to practice in rural, underserved areas in Arizona,” said Moga. “It would be wonderful to keep training here.”

Brianna Dolana, MS: ‘My top program’

Native Tucsonan and first-generation college student Brianna Dolana, MS, received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona, and matched to an emergency medicine residency at Banner – UMC Tucson through the College of Medicine – Tucson.

She says she was happy — and relieved — to match into this program.

“I have family here, I have support here,” she said. “This is just my top program.”

Dolana is also pleased to remain in Tucson because it means she’ll be able to continue her involvement in a mentorship program she launched with other medical students. The program, called THE MAZE (Teen Healthcare Education and Mentorship, an Arizona Effort), connects medical students with underrepresented students interested in pursuing higher education.

“We want to help our community get out of poverty and to increase access to education,” she said. “I didn’t know how to apply to college, and I wouldn’t be in medical school if hadn’t luckily found my way there. There were so many questions along the way, and I didn’t want that to be the case for anyone else.”

For now, her mentorship program is partnered with Rincon High School, but she hopes to see it expand it to other local high schools, including her alma mater, Tucson High School.

Caylan Moore: ‘I’m excited to grow’

Phoenix native Caylan Moore matched into a psychiatry residency at Yale University, his top choice.

“It felt surreal,” he said of opening the envelope and learning where he’d spend the next few years of his training. “As a first-year medical student with impostor syndrome, I never thought that was a program I could be at. It took a lot of mentors, friends and family telling me I should go after my dreams.”

He says Yale’s program appealed to him for its commitment to Black trainees.

“They graduate the most Black psychiatry residents outside of an HBCU,” he said. “I needed to be somewhere where I could see myself reflected, where I felt supported by people who understand what I’m going through as we navigate this difficult journey of residency. It’s going to make a difference and let me really thrive.”

He says he’s been passionate about mental health for years, and knew from “day one” that he wanted to practice psychiatry.

“Mental health is not talked about enough, especially in my community. People really need to know that it’s OK not to be OK,” he said. “I’m hoping I can be a voice to show we don’t have to have the stigma that we have associated with mental health.”

For the first time in his life, he’ll be living outside of Arizona.

“I am nervous about moving to the cold, but I’m excited to do something new, to grow,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to learn.”

Because he is a recipient of the Primary Care Physician Scholarship, he’ll be returning to Arizona when his training in Connecticut is complete, and hopes to open a clinic in Phoenix to work with patients from marginalized backgrounds.

Media Contact: 
Anna C. Christensen