CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
University of Hawaii medical school graduates learned their residency-training sites yesterday in a Match Day ceremony. Diane Pan, left, and Jesse Lam will be staying in Hawaii to study pediatrics. Pan was holding Maya Chun, whose father, Spencer, will study family medicine in Utah. CLICK FOR LARGE
It's a match! Medical grads get residency
Four years ago they probably did not know what blood pressure was, and soon they will be saving lives, the acting dean of the University of Hawaii medical school noted.
"To get to this day is an incredible accomplishment," said Gary Ostrander, addressing 64 graduates of the John A. Burns School of Medicine yesterday.
"You have a wonderful life ahead of you," said Associate Dean Satoru Izutso, noting he was recently on an operating table, and the face over him was one of his students. "That's the last thing I remembered," he said.
The graduates were gathered in the medical school auditorium with friends and family for national Match Day. A computerized National Residency Match Program matches choices of about 15,000 medical school graduates with residency programs in teaching hospitals. All open their envelopes on the same day.
UH medical students chose three faculty members to distribute their envelopes: former Dean Ed Cadman, Dr. Richard Kasuya and Dr. Damon Sakai.
Emceeing the event, Dr. Mary Ann Antonelli, dean of students, warned the excited students not to open their envelopes until they were all handed out.
Finally given the word, the graduates screamed, hugged and cried with happiness when they learned where they will be going to pursue their medical careers.
Spencer Chun, 31, will be taking his wife, Saemi, and their 9-month-old son, Maya, to Provo, Utah, for a family practice residency at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
"It's been a challenge for the family, but super-rewarding. We're very lucky," he said, describing "a lot of support from our families, even from the state."
"Just last month, we got food stamps," he added. "I never thought I'd be doing that. We're very, very appreciative of all the services provided to us."
About 22 students will do their residencies at UH, including at least five friends specializing in pediatrics. "I don't know if all of us knew we were going to rank it (UH) No. 1," said Jesse Lam.
Natalie Parsa said she is "very, very excited" about a UH family practice residency. She wants to practice in Hawaii and feels it is important "to become immersed in the community."
"Life can begin again," said Cody Takenaka, staying at UH to study internal medicine and going into geriatrics. She is also getting married May 26 to her fiance, Ryan Nakano, an audiovisual technician at the Queen's Conference Center.
Shaylin Chock was beaming because she will be able to join her husband, Brandon Itagaki, at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is in internal medicine, and she is interested in child psychiatry.
Itagaki planned to fly home last night for a celebration, Chock said.
Marci Peralto and Mark Bridenstine used to study together, and "young romance" bloomed, she said. They plan to marry April 22 and will go to the University of Colorado, their first choice in a couple's match. She is going into obstetrics/gynecology, and he will specialize in internal medicine.
Brooke Hargrove is also specializing in OB/GYN and will go to the University of Irvine Medical Center in California with a new husband. After nine years together, she and Matt Cabrera will marry May 26.