Fifty medical students from the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria joined thousands across the country on Friday, March 15, as they learned which residency they “matched” into and where they would spend the next three to seven years of residency training. These 50 fourth-year students are approaching their graduation in May. The next step is completing a residency in their choice of specialty.
UICOMP students matched to 11 different specialties in 20 states. Of those, 28 are headed into primary care, and 12 students will remain in Illinois with six matching to residency programs in Peoria. The top three specialties medical students chose to pursue this year were Internal Medicine (19), surgical fields (10), and Emergency Medicine (7). Students learned of their matching program at 11 a.m. Friday, March 15, at the Gateway Building in downtown Peoria.
Classmates Gus Demanes, Peoria, and Abriella Stone, Las Vegas, are engaged with a May 18 wedding day approaching, and compiling their match lists for their locations and specialties of choice was no simple feat. Demanes is entering orthopedics, and Stone’s choice was internal medicine. As a couple, they sought matches that would allow them to be together in the same city if the same hospital was not an option. After compiling all possible options, their list included 275 different match combinations. They were elated to both receive their first choice – Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.
“Adding couples matching adds a whole other level of stress,” Stone said. But on Friday, the stress subsided after they opened the envelopes. “I was just so impressed and proud of the whole class,” Stone said. “A lot of us ended up in a top choice program, and it was incredible to see that many people so happy with their family and supporters.”
Classmate and Florida-native Nick Lara got his first choice as well. “When they called us up and I got the envelope, that’s when my heart really started racing,” Lara said. “I was so relieved, so astonished to get my first choice.” That choice was MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois, where he will be in a one-year residency in transitional medicine before returning to the United States Air Force to continue his training in flight medicine. As a second lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force, Lara’s match was unique. Following his one-year transitional residency, he will serve four years on a flight team with the U.S. Air Force before completing his residency in anesthesiology.
Lara’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia, and he is the first member of his family to
attend college. Lara credits a friend’s father who was a military physician with giving him the
inspiration to enter the military and combine it with a career in medicine. “I’ve always felt a call
to duty to serve,” Lara said. Thanks to the Air Force Health Profession Scholarship Program,
Lara’s medical school tuition was paid in return for serving four years in the Air Force.
In Peoria, 74 residency positions were filled. UICOMP educates 244 medical students and has
nearly 300 resident and fellowship physicians in 21 graduate medical training programs affiliated
with UnityPoint Health – Methodist, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital
of Illinois. UICOMP is home to the Cancer Research Center, the Center for Outcomes Research,
and a partner in Jump Simulation.