Match Day: Anticipation, fulfilled goals and the call to serve

Christiana Fakhri, fourth-year student in the Long School of Medicine, inserts her Match Day map pin on San Antonio, where she will stay for a pediatrics residency.
Christiana Fakhri, fourth-year student in the Long School of Medicine, inserts her Match Day map pin on San Antonio, where she will stay for a pediatrics residency with UT Health San Antonio and University Health. She is pictured with her fiancé, Mathias Pfeil, whom she is marrying on May 12, nine days before the May 21 Long School of Medicine Commencement.

A group of fourth-year students from the Long School of Medicine voiced their feelings just minutes before envelopes were opened to reveal their residency destinations. The occasion was the annual Match Day celebration on March 18 held outdoors at John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes.

Audrey Phan said Match Day brought her “pure excitement, a little bit of nerves and anticipation of a lot of happy tears.”

“Anywhere in the Midwest or in Texas would be great as a destination,” Phan said. “But I really think the match works out where you are meant to be.” A native of Chicago, her envelope revealed that she will do a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Methodist Health System in Dallas.

Christiana Fakhri is entering pediatrics, one of the primary care specialties. “No matter where I end up, I’m happy to have this opportunity to match somewhere,” she said. “But ideally I would love to stay here in San Antonio. My family is close by, I love the community, and I feel that I could really make roots here and I’d be sad to see it go.”

Fakhri later received her wish, as her envelope revealed that she matched to the UT Health San Antonio pediatrics residency program at University Health.

“San Antonio is a huge center for underserved children,” she said. “We have a large refuge center for unhoused children, for migrants, for refugees, so we have a pretty unique patient population here and I’m really proud of the work that is being done.”

Dina Tom, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics faculty, is an inspiration to her, Fakhri said.

Chris Bacak said he is incredibly honored to have a residency position and to be part of the match. An Austin native, he is matching to an orthopaedics residency. “I will be a surgeon, which is a very exciting statement to say,” Bacak said. The envelope later revealed his match to the residency program at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso.

Chelsea Easley, a native of Canton in Northeast Texas, said: “I would love to stay here in Texas, I am a Texas girl born and raised, and this is the community that I want to give back to. Where in Texas? I would be happy to explore a little bit, but definitely I have that passion for underserved and rural populations, so really anywhere in Texas would give me a great opportunity to serve those people.”

Later, Easley stepped up to the microphone on stage, opened her envelope and announced that she had matched to the emergency medicine residency program at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted a lot of issues overall in our health care system and put an emphasis on emergency medicine,” Easley said. Situations in her own family confirmed this, she said, as emergency medicine physicians helped her loved ones get back on the road to good health.


Watch the excitement here, and read these other Match Day 2022 stories:

57% of matching medical students to remain in Texas for residency, and 22% in San Antonio

Physician scientist will bring his years of research experience to geriatrics residency


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