Episode 28 - MATCH 2022 Unique Paths
Once Ross University School of Medicine (Ross Med) students receive their MD degree, they embark on their path to residency. Each year hundreds of our graduates receive the news that they have reached their goal and are matched to leading hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. The majority of our graduates secure residencies through the National Resident Matching Program, with nearly 15,000 alumni.
MILENA GARCIA: Hello future Rossies and pre-med explorers. This is Milena Garcia, your host for Ross University Checking the Pulse: a Pre-med Podcast. This is our mini podcast featuring facts and information about our medical program, insights from current students and tips from practicing physicians each week. This broadcast will be broken down in small episodes focusing on one aspect of our program, also having guests talk about their own experiences as students and as doctors.
Once Ross students receive their MD degree they embark on their path to residency. Each year hunDreds of our graduates receive the news that they have reached their goal and match to leading hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. The majority of our graduates secure residencies through the National Resident Matching Program, with more than fifteen thousand alumni. We’re inspired every day by the difference they are making in the world. Initial results from the March 18th National Resident Matching Program show yet another strong year for Ross graduates, with a 95 percent first-time eligible residency attainment rate so far.
Congratulations to all residency positions! In this episode, we will chat with three of our recent grads who matched in the cycle: Doctors Alizatu Koroma, Atousa Jahanshahi, and Soraya Djadjo. Congratulations on matching, first of all, ladies! I'm very excited to have you here with us and hear a little bit more about your stories, so let's have a moment to have you introduce yourselves. Dr Koroma, we'll start with you.
Dr. Alizatu Koroma: Hi, my name is Dr. Alizatu Koroma. I was born in Sierra Leone during the time of the civil war. I came to the U.S. when I was 10 and I went to undergrad at the University of Texas at Arlington. I did my bachelor's in medical laboratory science, and I worked before I decided to go to medical school.
Garcia: Dr Djadjo, thank you for joining us. Let's hear about your story.
Dr. Soraya Djadjo: Thank you for having us! My name is Dr. Soraya Djadjo. I was born and raised in Cameroon, west Africa. I came to the U.S. when I was about 15 or 16. I went to undergrad at Georgia State University, so I’m a Panther –we have the best weather by the way–my major was in chemistry and minor in biology.
Garcia: and Dr. Jahanshahi.
Dr. Atousa Jananshahi: Hi! My name is Atousa Jahanshahi. I'm Iranian. I moved here when I was 15. I went to Penn State for undergrad and that's it.
Garcia: Alright, and thank you again for being here. It's very exciting to hear your stories, and each one of you has a very unique path, it sounds like, so I want to give you the opportunity to share. Dr. Koroma, tell us about your journey to medical school.
Dr. Koroma: After undergrad, I worked as a medical laboratory scientist and doing that, I did a lot of blood transfusions, massive transfusions, and I just knew that I needed to do more for the patient and I needed to learn more, so I took the MCAT and the first time did not go so well. I did not qualify for the U.S. medical schools. I took it again, even did shadowing, did more volunteering. My GPA was a 3.9 and then I went to Google, I was like how do I get to medical school, this is not my Dream, it’s got to happen and Ross came up and I applied and I got in and Ross gave me that opportunity. They opened the door for me and because of that, I knew what I had to do to get where I am today and that's what I did.
Unique Paths to Residency
Garcia: Dr Djadjo, what was unique about your journey through medical school?
Dr Djadjo: After undergrad I decided to go to medical school. What's unique is I was a transfer to Ross University. It was an amazing experience. The transfer wasn't challenging, but Ross made it so easy. They, I can say, held my hand all the way through the process of transferring, all the way through the process of adapting to what they have to offer and they guided me through my last few years. I'm truly grateful for being a part of Ross.
Garcia: Dr. Jananshahi, what was unique about your journey through medical school?
Dr. Jananshahi: I knew from the beginning I always knew that I wanted to do medicine, but like Ali, my scores weren't good. My GPA was very high, but I couldn't get into an MD school and I didn't want to DO, because there was a chance that I was going to go back to my country and they don't accept DO. I was like yeah, I definitely need to do MD and Ross was an option and I'm glad and I'm grateful for the opportunity Ross gave me. I got to travel a lot. I did my rotations in different states. I lived in Chicago, Maryland, Texas, Florida and I met nice people. I went to different hospitals. The experience is wonderful.
Garcia: You all have such different stories. This is great. It's a great representation. I think of our student body everyone has a story, right? I feel like we really do hear it when you sit down with us doing the interviews. We want to hear your stories and here's three really unique examples of it and now here's where you are today, March, the week after match. Congratulations to all three of you. This is what matters, right? This is what your story that you just told culminated to. Congratulations! I recognize you. I recognize your hard work, your resilience, your grit, not giving up, overcoming your obstacles, my goodness! Look at all these things that you have accomplished so far. Let's talk about your match experience. Dr. Djadjo, how was your match experience? The match experience in general is a little bit daunting, so we hear that often. I think terrifying is the word that we hear, yes. Why is that?
Dr. Djadjo: It is a long process, I believe approximately six months where you have to apply to programs you want to go and wait for interviews as you stress out and lose all your hair and what not. You go through the interview process and then you stress out again and lose your hair trying to wait for the matching, so it's an interesting experience, but again I am truly grateful for Ross because I can say they held my hand. It's not like you're just going on your own. They prepare you before the match. You say, hey this is what to expect and then during the process they say okay this is what we have to offer. We offer mock interviews, and they assign you advisors and to kind of guide you through the process based on your score, based on your interest, they say this is what you should do this is what you can do so they kind of guide you through the process so you're not alone, because it can be very challenging and daunting and they offer mock interviews not only with alumni, but you get the opportunity to interview with the chairs which is interesting. Depending on what you want to go into, you can get the chair from the department to kind of prep you for interviews so that was really truly helpful and I'm truly grateful for us for such an opportunity because it made my process a little bit more bearable
GARCIA: And where did you match?
Dr. DJADJO: In Atlanta, Georgia. Family medicine at Phoebe Putney and Georgia.
DJADJO: Thank you!
GARCIA: Dr. Koroma, how was your match experience?
KOROMA: First, I'm the first doctor in my family so I did not know anything. Just googling it. But I applied and my first interview I got, it was terrible. I didn't know how to interview. So last semester, the mock interview, I chose that. Ross also has a lot of like alumni and the alumni have really helped me. They became my mentor. They're the one that I went to ask like “how would you answer this interview question?” They were able to connect me to different program directors that were in different programs and I think that really helped and build my confidence a lot because I know I have the support behind me to just help with my journey and get to match.
GARCIA: Where did you match?
KOROMA: I matched at Trident Medical Center in South Carolina, surgery.
GARCIA: Alright. Dr. Jahanshahi, how was your match experience?
JANANSHAHI: It was scary. It was a long process. It started before, like even nine months ago maybe even like farther than that because I had to go to a lot of open houses. Virtual open houses some of them. Ross actually planned them for us. After that, I applied and then I got interviews. As Dr. DjoDja said, I never felt like I'm alone. There were opportunities for mock interviews and things like that and then at the end when I was making my rank list – so rank list, how it works is it's an algorithm. It's a very complicated algorithm, but to put it in a simple term it's like you rank your list of the programs you have. Let's say you have five interviews, 10 interviews, 20 interviews, you put your number one to your number 20 and then programs do the same thing too. They put their number one candidate to the last one they have or how many they want, and then if your number one matches their number one, you match. So that's how the match process works. If your number one doesn't pick you but your number two picks you, you might get that one, so you have to be thoughtful about how you want to make your list. They say put your favorite one but still you have to be smart about it. I got help from school, like how to do it, so I had people to help me brainstorm. I didn't feel left out, I didn't feel alone. Nobody really forced me or pushed me to do anything they just helped me choose to do what I want to do.
GARCIA: Where did you match?
JANANSHAHI: So Albert Einstein Pennsylvania.
GARCIA: For what?
JANANSHAHI: Specialty internal medicine
GARCIA: Congratulations! And this is super exciting. I think all three of you are first generation doctors, correct?
JANANSHAHI: Yes, we are.
GARCIA: Congratulations! It is very exciting. I hope everyone listening understands how important Match Day is. I think, and please correct me if i'm wrong– I'm not a medical student, but I hear often that after the day you heard about your acceptance to medical school, Match Day is the most important day of your career, correct? Is that what it fair to say? Okay. I'm happy to highlight your accomplishments here and share your stories. One last question for all three of you: if you by any chance have any advice for our future Rossies. And Dr. Jananshahi, we'll start with you.
JANANSHAHI: One thing I didn't know is that in other countries when you do residence, when you do medical school, you can practice; but in the U.S. you have to do residency and it's important which school you choose to help you get into the residency and I can tell that Ross actually helps you. A lot of the Rossies, they end up getting into residency. So they can actually practice medicine, so it's a wonderful opportunity. I'm not telling anybody where to apply or anything like that but I think it's something important to consider.
GARCIA: Our match list will be posted on our website. We already have 15 years already posted there so everyone go check it out. 2022 is being uploaded as we speak, as we verify with the alumni where they're going, so there will be more updates. Please feel free to check it at any time. Dr Koroma, any advice for our future Rossies?
KOROMA: Yeah, there's a lot of things that you guys are gonna hear from different people but go with your gut. This is a long process. It's a marathon. You have to do it for yourself, so go where it's going to best support you and support your Dream and get you to where you need to be.
GARCIA: Thank you. Dr Djodja, any suggestions or advice for our future Rossies?
DJODJA: To kind of piggyback on what Koroma said, I always tell people that medical school is not a sprint. It's not about who gets there first, it's a marathon. It's about getting there so everybody has their own pace. Everybody has their own journey. As long as you stay focused on why you went, why you chose to be a physician and focus on that when things get stuck. They will get tough. Focus on that and surround yourself with people who are like-minded. Sometimes when we surround ourselves–I don't want to say the wrong people but people who were not thinking in the same direction we want to go, it kind of pulls us back. So surround yourself with people who are like-minded and who are positive because there's really a lot of negativity in this world. You want to surround yourself with a lot of people who will encourage you to to say “You can do it! Keep going,” you know? How can we do better so you're surrounding your support system and stay focused on your goal.
GARCIA: Thank you. Great advice from all three of you, great stories from all three of you. Thank you so much for sharing, thank you so much for your time. Congratulations once again, we are 100% proud of you, you represent who we are, and I thank you. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for listening to Ross University: Checking the Pulse: A Pre-med Podcast. This is Milena Garcia, your host. This podcast is made for you, so let me know what topics you want us to cover in future episodes. You can send me your comments, feedback, and requests to email@example.com. Definitely follow us on Instagram, Twitter and our YouTube channel at RossMed school or on Facebook. If you’re listening to this podcast on iTunes, I am working my way to five stars, so remember to send me your comments and let me know your ideas. If you’re on Spotify, remember to click the follow button to get our future episodes. Alright, see you future Rossies and pre-med explorers next week!