Southland med students get linked to residencies in annual Match Day festivities

UCLA medical students receive their placements on Match Day.
UCLA medical students receive their placements on Match Day.
Corey Moore/KPCC

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Graduating Southland medical students are making plans, now that they know where they’ll begin their residencies. For months, these excited UCLA med school graduates - along with some 17,000 others across the country - waited eagerly for a computerized program to spit out results that would help shape their future medical careers.

Last year, they chose where they hoped to work during their post-graduate residency training. Now they know.

Peony Liu, 26, of Orange County plans to become a pediatrician. During the wait, she mostly kept her cool.

“I didn’t have any anxiety about matching but once we were flooding over to open our envelopes I was definitely anxious, nervous and excited at the same time.”

Liu will spend her residency years at UCLA – her top choice.

"I actually had a dream last night that I matched at UCLA but wasn’t quite sure whether to believe it," Liu said as she laughed. "And then I came here, took my envelope, opened it and unfolded it one fold at a time, and it said UCLA."

Fellow graduate Vatche Tchekmedyian found out he’ll go to Harvard in a few months. The 26 year-old president of his class comes from a family of doctors. He’ll study internal medicine at the esteemed Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Tchekmedyian promises to keep patients’ interests at heart. “The primary concern right now is to become really good doctors and hopefully that will make us conscientious of decisions to make in terms of health care reform.”

Tchekmedyian’s great uncle Vatche Hovsepian, archbishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s Western Diocese, couldn’t be happier to hear that. He says the family has taught his great nephew well.

“You have [to be] a compassionate physician," said Archbishop Hoysepian. "I don’t care what money they make. I tell them be human and compassionate with the patients because they are not pieces of biology. They are humans created by God."

About 150 UCLA medical students clustered to find out where their careers are headed. Many received their top choices. Half of them plan to specialize in primary care and will study in Los Angeles.

All 100-plus medical schools in this country – including USC, UC Irvine, Charles Drew University and Loma Linda University in the Southland – announce their graduating students’ matches on the same day.