Match Day brings TCOM students closer to their goals

By Jan Jarvis

Match Day 2017
Whitney Cameron and Keith Goodman

For as long as she can remember, Whitney Cameron has wanted to be a doctor.

“When I was a little girl, instead of wanting stickers and suckers like most kids do when they visit their pediatrician, I wanted gloves and tongue depressors,” she said.

The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine student will move a step closer to that goal on March 17 when she learns which residency program she has matched with. Cameron is among 180 TCOM students who are expected to learn their fate during the Match Day ceremony at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

For Cameron and others, the anticipation is nerve-wracking.

“I’ve been a little nervous but I’ve also had a lot of time for reflection,” she said. “This is a major accomplishment, not just for me but for my support system as well. I am the first physician in my family.”

The National Resident Matching Program’s Match Day is primarily for residencies affiliated with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Thirty-eight other TCOM students have already matched with one of five other programs.

Keith Goodman is one of them. He already knows he is headed to Washington, where he’ll follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and go into family medicine.

“If you were Hispanic and born in South Texas during the mid-1900s, chances are you were delivered by my grandfather,” Goodman said. “He was the only Spanish-speaking physician there, and he saw patients from early morning until bedtime.

“It looks like I’m going to be doing almost exactly what my granddad did.”

Goodman chose family medicine because he wants to treat patients of all ages, but he also hopes to help meet the growing need for primary care physicians.

By 2025, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of up to 94,700 doctors, with one-third of the deficit among primary care physicians. TCOM has sought to address that shortage by providing more primary care physicians than any other medical school in Texas.

Although Goodman always wanted to be a primary care physician, his career path took a few detours.

The father of four worked as a jailer for two years, followed by a decade as a police officer in Austin. With a family to support, he didn’t think medical school would be an option. But when his parents offered to help with tuition, he returned to school.

Cameron, who grew up in Oak Cliff, a medically underserved area in Dallas, also faced challenges on her way to becoming a physician. Soon after starting at TCOM, she had surgery to remove half of her thyroid due to a benign tumor. Two years later she learned she had Type 1 diabetes.

“Becoming a patient opened my eyes to what it means to be cared for,” she said. “My experiences as a patient empowered a personal ambition to convey the outstanding medical care I continue to receive.”

She interviewed at multiple pediatric residency programs and will be happy to match with any of them, she said. What matters is being able to reach her goal of helping others while doing what she loves the most.

“I want to inspire others from similar backgrounds to achieve their dreams despite challenges by never allowing fear to outweigh courage,” Cameron said.

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