Dhanatcha Sadetaporn wiped away happy tears as she clutched a bouquet of light pink and white roses and smiled for photos with her close family.
Moments before, the 25-year-old Katy resident ripped open an envelope revealing she had matched into the psychiatry program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, her first choice for residency partly because she isn’t a fan of heat and humidity in Houston.
“Amazing,” she said when asked how she felt about the occasion. “I wanted either Boston or Houston.”
Sadetaporn was one of 163 fourth-year medical students at Baylor College of Medicine who matched Friday morning to a medical residency program in the U.S. The annual National Resident Matching Program pairs fourth-year medical students with residency programs.
Forty students matched with Baylor, and 63 total matched into Texas programs. Seventy students will begin residencies in primary care fields of family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology or emergency medicine.
Before envelopes were opened and students’ lives were changed, Dr. Paul Klotman, CEO, president and executive dean of the College, said this particular cohort had lived through the most difficult medical school experience of all time.
Klotman remembers his Match Day like it was yesterday, he said, including the fact that he did not match into his first-choice school. But he understands now that the day is about matching into a program that is excited for a new doctor, not a student selecting where they will learn to be a doctor.
“It’s really important to know wherever you go, whatever it says on that envelope, that the people on the other side are happy about you joining them,” he said. “People are really excited about you coming to them. Once you open your envelope, be really happy.”
Michael Reul, 26, matched at Emory University School of Medicine’s cardiothoracic surgery program. Reul is the third in his family to choose cardiac surgery as a profession, after his father, Dr. Ross Reul, and grandfather, Dr. George Reul, who trained with Dr. Denton A. Cooley.
“I couldn’t be more proud; it’s an amazing thing when your child chooses to do what you do,” said Dr. Ross Ruel. “For Michael, it’s more of a calling. He has kept an open mind and has always had a passion for heart surgery.”
Reul’s father, who also graduated from Baylor before completing a residency program at Harvard University, said his son is lucky to have inherited his surgical ability from his grandfather.
In 2020, days after Harris County went on lockdown at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Baylor made the decision to hold Match Day virtually. Last year, only students were invited to participate in an intimate in-person ceremony.
This year, however, all students were invited to attend with an unlimited number of friends and family. For many, this made the day more special and their futures in medicine more solidified.
“It wouldn’t have been the same virtually,” said Lauren Ferriño, a native Houstonian and Rice University alumna, matched into the pediatrics program at Baylor.
Her mother, Dr. Renu Garg, is a Houston-area pediatrician who completed her residency at Baylor, and her sister graduated from the medical school and now works for federally qualified health centers in Houston. Ferriño chose pediatrics because she wants to make an early impact on her community. She considers her family’s work as inspirational.
As the students prepare for their next step, whether it’s in Houston or elsewhere, Dr. Edward Poythress, associate professor of medicine, said it’s important to not forget what they learned at Baylor.
“This is a day of ‘what’s next,’ but you should carry the culture of being a Baylor College of Medicine student with you,” said Dr. Edward Poythress, associate professor of medicine. “You are hardworking, industrious with energy and positivity that is palpable. Be bold and a changemaker for excellence.”
By Julie Garcia