TCOM grads from the same hometown team up as chief residents
By Steven Bartolotta and Jennifer Hetro
In life, your path is meant to cross with some certain people. Allyson Matthys, DO, and Vikaash Persad, DO, 2017 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine graduates, are two of those people.
Matthys grew up in small-town Texas, one of four daughters to a pair of educators and a descendent of a long line of military members. She always knew she wanted to grow up and have a job that helped people, and after surviving two separate accidents involving a firearm and a car crash, she zeroed in on becoming a doctor.
Just a few miles away, Persad, also was raised in a suburb of Austin, Texas, one of four children to parents who were teachers. He dreamed of getting out of his home state to see more of the world and beyond. Working for NASA was — and still is — his longtime dream, but he was inspired to pursue medicine after meeting a doctor who operated on his mother.
Both Dr. Persad and Dr. Matthys earned degrees in osteopathic medicine from TCOM, and were accepted into the family medicine residency program at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, Pa.
“TCOM gave me a firm understanding of the medical science basics and gave me the tools to step out into the real world with confidence,” said Persad . “It gave me a sense of community and place in the larger medical field, and I was able to connect with mentors and future colleagues I have today.”
But it wasn’t until they crossed paths during residency orientation week in Scranton that they finally met and realized all they had in common.
Now, the duo has become a powerhouse team as they share the responsibilities and rank of chief residents of the family medicine program, which allows them to play off each other’s strengths and enhance each other’s roles as mentors and doctors in the community-based learning environment. The foundation of their strengths were formed in their time in Fort Worth.
“We complement each other, and I couldn’t see myself doing this without him,” Dr. Matthys said. “I respect him as a leader and a friend. We talk every decision out and have almost telepathy.”
“We’re two sides of the same coin,” Dr. Persad agreed. “We’re a package deal, because we work better together and are a great team.”
Aside from sharing a love of the Dallas Cowboys, authentic barbecue and travel, they also hold a sacred bond that was cemented when Dr. Matthys, who became a commissioned officer through the Army’s Specialized Training Assistance Program, swore Dr. Persad in to be a commissioned officer with the Air Force this summer. Both hold the rank of captain.
“I was proud. He could have picked anyone, so I felt honored,” Dr. Matthys said of the ceremony.
Serving as peer-elected chief residents will help both when the time comes to serve their country, they said, thanks to the diplomacy and versatility the leadership roles have taught them so far. While being a chief resident does mean added work, the benefits far outweigh the pressures, they agreed, and they each couldn’t ask for a better partner to work with.
“You’re on the cutting edge and affecting change when you spend time in such a variety of hospitals, clinics and specialists’ offices. Every day is different, and we’ve really honed our ability to just roll with it,” Dr. Matthys said. “The personal growth with Vikaash has made any of the bad worth it.”
“Everything we learn here will benefit us in the future,” Dr. Persad added. “It helps with our military careers and in medicine.”