Gabriel Williams opened his match envelope, fist-pumped and cheered, “I got Nemours!” – capping off March 15’s Match Day at the UCF College of Medicine that saw three students enter a new pediatric residency at Nemours Children’s Hospital down the street in Medical City.
Williams was born and raised in Orlando, did his undergraduate work at FAMU (Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University in Tallahassee), and returned to his hometown for medical school. He’d worked as a substitute teacher and, like most College of Medicine students, did his pediatric clerkship at Nemours.
“Today is joy,” Williams said. “Nemours was my number one choice because I want to give back to the community I grew up in.”
Twenty-one seniors matched into pediatrics – the most in College of Medicine’s seven years of graduating students. In total, 118 of 119 students who went through match secured graduate medical education positions. UCF’s 99 percent match rate is higher than this year’s national average of 93.9 percent. Nationwide, 38,376 medical students applied for 35,185 residency positions.
UCF med school graduates will do their training nationwide at hospitals including Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Michigan, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale. In Florida, in addition to Nemours, they will train at locations that include AdventHealth, Orlando Health, University of Florida, University of Miami and University of South Florida. Nine will train at UCF residencies in North and Central Florida through a consortium with Hospital Corporation of America – the most UCF students of any residency program in the state.
Laura Chilcutt and Elliot Griffith are joining Williams at Nemours. Chilcutt was an immigrant/human rights attorney before medical school, and when funding for such legal efforts dried up, she decided to become a doctor to do her part to care for the underserved. Griffith and Williams were standing at the same table when they learned they are both going to Nemours. They high-fived and hugged and then Griffith dug into a “goodie” bag of Nemours memorabilia that delighted hospital officials handed to him.
Nemours is a great partner of ours. The hospital is where most of our students get their training in pediatrics. The impact of their partnership is strong – Nemours inspired more than a fifth of this year’s class to go intro pediatrics this year, including the three who will be doing their residency training at that facility.
We hold our Match Day celebration on the Tavistock Green. Nationwide, match results are kept secret until noon EST on the third Friday in March. Minutes after our students had learned their futures, Dr. Colleen Moran-Bano, who directs the College of Medicine’s pediatric curriculum, stood on the green as delighted students ran toward her, announcing where they will do their pediatric residencies. Baylor … Cincinnati Children’s Hospital … Penn State … UCLA … University of Chicago … University of Colorado … University of Florida … University of South Florida.
“These students want to practice preventative medicine, advocate for children, and help children become happy, healthy adults,” she said of her charges. “This is a group that’s highly motivated to improve the human condition.”
Deborah German, M.D. is the Vice President for Health Affairs and Founding Dean of the UCF College of Medicine.