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Med students meet matches


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POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009

Anthony Barcia's studies at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine became a family affair over four years.

“;We got married in year one, gave birth in year two, gave birth in year three, and year four we told him he could just graduate,”; said his wife, Carrie.

She and their two children were among 59 seniors and family members who packed the University of Hawaii medical school's auditorium yesterday for the nation's annual “;Match Day”; to learn where seniors will go for residencies.

A computerized National Residency Match Program matches choices of nearly 16,000 medical school seniors with teaching college residencies.

Hawaii students joined others across the country in opening their envelopes at the same time with a lot of screaming, hugging and “;yahoos!”;

Barcia said he “;didn't have a lot of nerves”; because he had a military scholarship and was matched in December to Tripler Army Medical Center, his first choice for an orthopedic residency. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and will be elevated to captain upon graduation.

His father, Peter Barcia, is a doctor, and his sister, Amy Harpstrite, and her husband, Jeffery Kimo, are doctors who did residencies at the UH medical school. An older brother is a doctor in Virginia.

Barcia, raised in Kailua, met his wife while coaching rowing in California. Their children are Lindsey, 2, and Riley, 8 months. Barcia is the ninth of 10 kids, his wife said, explaining they had a lot of family support while growing their family during his medical studies.

Aimee Grace is carrying on a family tradition, going to Stanford University for training in pediatrics.

“;I'm thrilled,”; she said.

Her sister, Nalani, a third-year student at the UH medical school, wants to be a pediatric surgeon. A brother, Trevor Jr., is at Stanford, and another brother, Cameron, graduated from there.

“;We're paying a lot of debt,”; joked their mother, Mary Ellen Nordyke-Grace. “;Our estate has gone into education,”; added their grandmother, author Eleanor Nordyke. They both went to Stanford, as did Nordyke's grandparents, Ralph and Louise Cole.

Nineteen JABSOM seniors are remaining at UH for their residencies, up from 13 last year. Others are scattered across the nation, with the most, 17, going to California.

Ricky Amii said he is going to the Fresno campus of the University of California, San Francisco — not his first choice, but “;one of the top ones,”; he said. He is pursuing emergency medicine because of “;the variety of things you see and the excitement of what (cases) you get.”;

His girlfriend, Briana Lau, is going to Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif., for a general surgery residency. Her brother, Eric, is a third-year medical student at UH.

“;We're proud of her,”; said her father, Dr. Bert Lau of Island Veterinary Care in Moiliili.

He said people do not realize how intense and difficult medical school is. “;What the children have to know is light-years ahead. It's so tough, not like it used to be.”;

Eleven students chose internal medicine, the most popular choice, and 10 are going into family medicine. Nine chose general surgery, and six, emergency medicine.