By BILL BRUTON and DIRK HOFFMAN
Published March 24, 2023
The weather may have been a bit dreary, but the smiles inside the Powerhouse in South Buffalo were bright as the sun last Friday as UB medical students in the Class of 2023 gathered on St. Patrick’s Day for Match Day, a rite of passage for the prospective physicians as they learned where they will train in residency.
“This is one of the biggest milestones of all for our aspiring physicians,” said Allison Brashear, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, addressing the assembled students, family, faculty and friends.
“As we stand here together today … take a minute to breathe in and smile. You made it! You devoted long hours to studying medical science, learned the art of speaking to and treating patients, and completed many exams. You even persevered through a pandemic!
“As you now prepare to begin your residencies around the country, I am confident that because of all you have seen and done, and the courage, stamina and resilience that you have shown, you are ready for any challenge,” she added.
David A. Milling, executive director of the Office of Medical Education and senior associate dean for medical education, announced each of the students in attendance as faculty and school leadership passed out envelopes containing the match results.
Milling then led the countdown and at noon students simultaneously opened their envelopes to find out where in the U.S. they will be spending the next few years of their training as physicians.
Shawn Gibson, who has been accepted to the Association of American Medical College’s RISE: Developing Future Leaders in Academic Medicine & Science for fourth-year medical students, will be going home to New York City for his residency.
The Queens native matched to his first choice, an emergency medicine residency at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn.
“I worked there for a month in fall semester during my fourth year,” Gibson said. “I just loved working there. I loved the patient population.
“This has been a very emotional day, a day with a lot of ups and downs. I woke up at 4:30 with the Match Day nerves.”
It was also a day of reflection for Gibson.
“It’s been a very rewarding four years. It’s been a very long journey — adjusting to the pandemic, adjusting to medicine. The whole experience has made me more resilient. I’ve loved the activities at the Jacobs School, being part of SNMA (Student National Medical Association),” Gibson said.
He was also thinking about Jonathan D. Daniels, who served as a mentor to Gibson and countless other students. Daniels died tragically in a fire last July at his North Buffalo home, along with his adult daughters Jordan, a 2022 graduate of the UB School of Management, and Jensen, a 2021 graduate of Buffalo State College.
“He’s not here physically, but he's here in spirit,” Gibson said of Daniels.
Sherice Simpson, who along with Gibson served as co-president of the Jonathan Daniels Chapter of White Coats for Black Lives — one of two student groups named in honor of Daniels — also matched to her first choice: an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
“It’s been very exciting and rewarding,” Simpson said of her Match Day experience.
The Syracuse native was selected to participate in the 2021-22 class of the National Institutes of Health Medical Research Scholars Program, which is committed to training the next generation of physicians, dentists and veterinarians in research.
Following the ceremony, Dori R. Marshall, director of admissions and associate dean, presented Meghan Murphy Cloutier and Tanya Verma Jimerson — who are both Niagara-Wheatfield High School graduates — with Western New York Medical Scholarships at the Jacobs School. The scholarships — worth $120,000 each — are awarded to a graduate of a Western New York High School who has matched into a primary care specialty in Western New York. Each woman was also nominated to be a Generalist Scholar in Internal Medicine, which makes the announcement all the more meaningful.
The scholarships were initiated by local physicians and business leaders to address two key objectives: student debt and projected physician shortages.
Each scholarship recipient is required to sign a pledge to live and practice for at least five years at the conclusion of their training in one of the eight Western New York counties. Preference is given to applicants who complete their residency training in Western New York.
“I’m going to pay off a lot of loans. It’s a huge relief. When you’re a resident, you make more money than you ever have in your life, but it’s still not enough to pay off the loans,” said Cloutier, who matched in internal medicine at UB. “This is going to be a significant weight off my shoulders.”
Cloutier, who is engaged to Alex Bartnik, a doctoral student in the neuroscience program at the Jacobs School, is thrilled to be staying in Western New York.
“I’ve always wanted to stay in Western New York. My family’s here, my whole life’s here. We’re going to be lifers here in Buffalo,” Cloutier said.
Jimerson, who is also in the three-year internal medicine residency at UB, said receiving the scholarship “means a lot.”
“Four years of medical school has been crazy, but it’s been worth it. I’m excited for this new part of my life.”
Jeanvieve Lorray Cannon matched to the four-year anesthesiology residency at UB.
“I’m excited. It’s good to celebrate with everyone,“ said Cannon, a native of Syracuse.
In all, seven of the 12 residents in the anesthesiology program are from UB.
In addition, all four of the psychiatry residents are from UB, and two-thirds of the child psychiatry residents are UB grads as well.
In all, 27% of the class — 48 students — have chosen to stay at the Jacobs School for advanced training.
“We really have a desire to keep more of our graduates right here in Buffalo to serve our local community,” Brashear said.
This year’s class included three MD/PhD, three MD/MBA, one MD/MPH and two MD/OMFS students.
Ian Kevin Christman was all smiles as he matched to his first choice as well, an orthopaedic surgery residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
“My girlfriend (Ali Pophal) is from Cleveland,” Christman said. “I just love the city.”
It was Pophal who had Christman’s headshot put on sticks so she and other family members could pose in Ian masks for photos.
“It’s a great ceremony, a great process,” Christman said of Match Day. “It’s nerve-wracking. But now that it’s here, the nerves are out, and I’m super excited. I’m pumped to move forward with my career and I’m happy for everyone here who is doing the same.”