A milestone moment

By Jan Jarvis

Minutes before opening envelopes that would determine their fates, UNT Health Science Center medical students Christine Langner and her boyfriend Matthew Bartow struggled to stay calm.

“If we stay along I-35 that would be great,” said Langner, as she waited to find out which residency program she matched with.  “Temple, Tulsa, San Antonio, Austin.”

There was a countdown – 5, 4,3,2,1 – and in an instant, the moment had arrived. It was Tulsa for both of them – psychiatry for Langner and family medicine for Bartow.

“Now we know we will be together,” she said. “We are super happy.”

For the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2016, Match Day was a significant milestone on the journey to becoming a physician. With the simultaneous opening of envelopes, a majority of the school’s fourth-year students learn the identities of the hospitals, cities and specialties where they will spend the next three to eight years.

“I am so proud of every one of you,” said Dr. Michael Williams, president of UNTHSC. “Never forget us in your hearts and minds as you go forward.”

Hugs, high fives, cheers and tears followed as cameras flashed and proud parents posed with their children. Finally being able to open the envelope came as a huge relief for Lindsey Welch, who had hoped to do her residency in San Antonio, where her family lives.

“I got my No. 1 choice,” she said. “It’s the next stage in my journey, and I can’t believe it is finally here.”

About 130 TCOM students attended the Match Day ceremony, which was is primarily for residencies affiliated with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Forty-six members of this year’s class already discovered where they are headed next by matching into residencies affiliated with the U.S. military or the American Osteopathic Association.

For the occasion, James McBride had given his wife, Kayleigh Wiegers, giant cookies decorated with the names of her top residency choices.

“Children’s Mercy Hospital in Missouri,” she announced as she wiped away tears. “That’s what I was really hoping for.”

This year more students are going into pediatric residencies than ever before, said Dr. Paul Bowman, Chairman of Pediatrics. Traditionally, about two-thirds of TCOM graduates enter primary care specialties, and the school produces more primary care physicians than any other medical school in Texas.

“We had students that matched in Texas and surrounding states and each coast,” Dr. Bowman said.

Award Winners

Numerous students were recognized for their achievements at Friday’s Match Day ceremony.

  • Anh Nguyen, Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence with an emphasis on research
  • Spencer Septien, Dean’s Award for Excellence with an emphasis on clinical practice, and the Wayne O. Stockseth Chair’s Award
  • Rachel Rube, Dean’s Award for Scholarly Excellence with an emphasis on academic achievement, and the Department of Surgery Award
  • Micah Casterline, The Donna Jones Moritsuga Award
  • John David Meyers, 2016 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service Physician Professional Advisory Committee
  • Kristina Barsten, Excellence in Women’s Health Chair’s Award
  • Melody Minter, Excellence in Pediatrics Award
  • Lara K. Jones, Internal Medicine Chair Award
  • Prashant Raghavendran, Robbye Richards, DO, Award for Outstanding Academic Performance in Family Medicine
  • Molly Davis, Excellence in Psychiatry Chair’s Award
  • Joseph Smathers, Junior Bone Crusher’s Award

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