Luck of the Irish Welcome; Hard Work a Must

Amarillo Medical Students Met Their Match on St. Patrick’s Day

Medical student poses with his family while holding a sign showing where he matched.

A medical student at the Amarillo campus poses with his family while holding a sign showing where he matched for residency.

With St. Patrick’s Day, thoughts may turn to four-leaf clovers, pots of gold and the luck of the Irish. March also represents springtime, new beginnings and time for Match Day for fourth-year medical students. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine students participated in Match Day Friday (March 17).

For these students, new beginnings started as they opened their envelopes simultaneously with students across the country. Once opened, the envelopes’ content revealed where they will spend the next three to seven years as residents and what specialty they will pursue for their professional careers.

“What an exciting time for each of our students,” TTUHSC School of Medicine Regional Dean Richard Jordan, M.D., said. “They are now beginning the pathway to the medical specialty in which they will spend the rest of their professional careers. This new training arena will be quite challenging but very highly rewarding, and we believe they will more than meet the challenge."

Large group of medical students pose for a group photo.

Amarillo Campus School of Medicine Class of 2024

Match Day is a nerve-wracking event that has played out on medical school campuses across the country since 1952. Months before Match Day, students begin applying to residency programs in their preferred specialties. Students visit sites to evaluate and ultimately rank their preferred residency programs. At the same time, administrators at each site interview and rank applicants. 

“We are so proud of the work they have done for the last four years; to see the joy on their faces—knowing that hard work paid off—is what we look forward to today,” Kristin Stutz, TTUHSC assistant regional academic dean, said.

TTUHSC medical students from Amarillo matched at residency programs across the country including TTUHSC, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Medical School, LSU School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine, Stony Brook Teaching Hospitals, Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania and others. In total, 51% of the students matched in primary care residencies; 58% of the students will stay in Texas after graduation.

“In Amarillo, we are graduating 55 new physicians, and many of those physicians will stay in the Panhandle to practice,” Jordan said. “Eight of them will be at TTUHSC and another 32 students will stay in Texas. Having a medical school in this community is particularly advantageous when you think about the number of bright young people that come through our community and choose to stay.”

That decision to return to the Panhandle hits close to home for Chuck Guerra, who matched with Family Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

“Obviously, I can't tell the future, but as of right now my plan is to come back to Amarillo after residency to set up a practice,” Guerra said. “I have fallen absolutely head over heels for this city, and I really want to come back and give to the community everything that it has given me. I'm hoping that wherever I get into residency allows me to pursue a path that can target marginalized populations; I think there is a lot of work still do.”

The process of Match Day is celebrated at the 155 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Starting on the Monday of Match Week, applicants are informed whether they have matched to a residency program, but the student is not told the name of that program until Friday.

Of the 173 TTUHSC students across all campuses, 24 students matched at TTUHSC programs; 96 students (55%) are remaining in Texas; while 83 (48%) of the students matched to a primary care residency program. Others student matches included 10 orthopedic surgery, 11 OB/GYN, 15 psychiatry, 28 internal medicine and 21 students in pediatrics.

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