One-fourth of Class of 2023 will remain in Bexar County and 55% will remain in Texas.
Nearly 200 senior students of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine learned where they will do their medical residencies during the annual Match Day ceremony held March 17 at the Chicken N Pickle restaurant. The Long School of Medicine is part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
In a nod to the medical school’s excellent reputation, 99% of the students matched to residency programs of their choice, exceeding the national average. Programs, including those in San Antonio, signaled eagerness to receive the school’s well-prepared students for residency training.
Nearly a quarter of students in the match (24%) will remain in San Antonio for residency, bolstering the health care workforce in Bexar County and the region. Importantly, physicians often elect to practice in the cities, regions and states where they obtained residency training.
Critically for the Lone Star State, 55% of the graduating students matched to Texas programs and 43% matched to primary care specialties including internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. After primary care, other top specialties selected by the students included psychiatry and anesthesiology.
Residency will be a challenging experience, said Robert Hromas, MD, dean of the Long School of Medicine. Medical knowledge is doubling every three years, he told the assembled students.
“The minute you think you’ve got it, wait a year and it is going to be a third larger,” Hromas said. “What we hope we have installed in you is the habit of lifelong learning, that you will always have the humility you feel now about medicine and never think, ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got nothing more to learn.’
“Rather, always be a little afraid that there will be a sick person who you do not know how to help, because that will keep you stretching, learning and finding more information to help the patients in front of you, and that’s what you owe them.”
The lightning-fast expansion of medical knowledge makes this the most exciting time to be a physician, Hromas said. “When I was in your shoes, I never thought we could cure metastatic melanoma,” he said, referring to former President Jimmy Carter, who seven years ago presented with melanoma that had spread to the brain. Carter is still alive, although recently it was announced he had entered hospice care.
Closing his remarks, Hromas noted that soon, after graduation, the seniors will write MD after their names. “Every order you write will have the possibility to cure or harm. Stay humble,” he counseled.
Other highlights and stories follow.
MD-PhD program sends 4 to residencies
The National Institutes of Health-designated South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program at UT Health San Antonio offers a cohesive dual degree MD-PhD training experience.
Four members of the Long School of Medicine Class of 2023 who are scholars in the program learned their match designations on March 17, including two to Washington University in St. Louis (one in neurology and one in internal medicine and oncology), one to New York University in internal medicine (and seeking oncology training, as well), and one to the Christus Health/Texas A&M School of Medicine residency program in internal medicine.
MD-MPH program student Chidester to enter ob-gyn, advocate for patients
Long School of Medicine senior student Autumn Chidester is a native of Canadian, Texas, four hours north of Lubbock in the Panhandle. Chidester matched in obstetrics and gynecology at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School.
In May she will graduate with both the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, joining a growing number of physicians who have accomplished this.
“By obtaining my MPH, I want to better advocate for my patients and have a deeper understanding of how to assess external factors that impact care, whether that’s barriers to care, transportation, finances or things like that, and figure out ways to be creative to navigate those issues in the health system and outside the health system,” she said.
Chidester would like to end up in an academic institution in a leadership role where she can work on initiatives that are systems-based and wider-scale in addressing some of the issues in obstetrics and gynecology, she said.
Chidester was among a select group of MD-MPH students who stayed at the health science center for an extra year of research. She completed the four years of medical school education with that research year inserted. One of the projects was under the tutelage of Barbara Taylor, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine-infectious diseases and assistant dean for the MD-MPH program.
“Dr. Taylor is an incredible mentor. She gave good guidance, and I was able to build a connection and network from it on two projects that I found interesting,” Chidester said.
The Gates Foundation supported her work with coordinating an HIV vaccine clinical trial led by Taylor. The National Institutes of Health supported Chidester’s efforts on a positive links for youth project, in which the team is adapting a care-engagement app for youth living with HIV. “It is implemented at our clinic downtown trying to improve care including re-engagement and compliance,” Chidester said.
Her parents, Amber and Druston Chidester, who now live in Amarillo, and boyfriend Victor Manzaba were present to cheer her Match Day success.
Texas family excited that their medical student will stay in San Antonio
Siva Palasingam, Long School of Medicine senior who matched to pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, said remaining in the Alamo City will enable him to work with faculty he already knows, including Dina Tom, MD; Amy Holder, MD; Megan Foster, MD; Elizabeth Hanson, MD; Theodore (Ted) Wu, MD; and Wisdeen Wu, DO. He knows he will get to work with a strong team.
“I’m very proud,” said his father, Kampan Palasingam. “He was always a good student. When he was in high school, we asked, what do you want to do? He said he didn’t know. ‘Do you like biology?’ we asked. Yeah. Okay then, medicine.” The elder Palasingam chuckled while remembering that informal beginning.
Siva Palasingam, 26, grew up in Fort Worth. After graduating from Brewer High School in White Settlement, Texas, as the class valedictorian, he attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he was an honors graduate of the College of Natural Sciences.
Palasingam overcame viral meningitis as a young child, his mother, Linda Lian, said. His decision to become a pediatrician was driven not by that but instead by his love for children, Siva Palasingam said.
His older brother, Deva, works in the software field in Austin. The parents are glad to have their sons working in strong professions and in cities on the interstate that winds home to Fort Worth.
The Long School of Medicine congratulates its newly matched senior students!