For many medical students, the lead up to Match Day brings with it several emotions: Excitement, anticipation, hope, pride. It’s the start of a new chapter in their training, usually in a new place. Often, one of the biggest questions lingering is: Where will I call home next? The possibilities fan out in many directions ahead of them until the moment that defines what’s next comes on Match Day
Elizabeth Gero, Class of ’23, felt the full weight of this question as she wrapped up her residency interviews. On the one hand, she was eager to continue her training in family medicine after four years at Ross Med. On the other, she was nervous about the possibility of uprooting her family, including her son who is in middle school, from their home in Cleveland, Ohio, where they have lived for his entire life.
So, on Match Day when Gero found out that she had matched with the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program, the feeling of accomplishment also brought with it a sense of overwhelming peace.
Her husband, who also is in the medical field as a practicing surgeon, attended the virtual Match Day event held by Ross Med. Gero said it was special to be able to share that moment with him, and then tell their son the news when he got home from school.
“I’m really ecstatic and relieved because this means we get to stay in our hometown,” said Gero. “I am just overcome with emotion.”
A Continuum of Care
Growing up, Gero saw the way her parents – her father an optometrist and her mother a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse – treated their patients.
“My dad was really kind and compassionate. He was honest with his patients, and I noticed that throughout the years he would treat the entire family, including parents and children. Even if the children went away to college, they would come back and see my dad,” Gero said.
That model of caring for the entire family over the course of a lifetime was at the core of her decision to transition from being a general podiatrist to going to medical school. “I practiced podiatry for two years in Cleveland, and during that time I developed a desire to want to be able to treat the rest of the patient and expand on my training,” Gero said.
Her husband, a general surgeon, works with residents who attended Ross Med. When he told her the medical school has a location in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Gero has family, she took the MCAT, applied, and was accepted. From there, she jumped in with both feet to pursue her dream.
A Comprehensive System of Support
Once at Ross Med, Gero found herself immersed in exactly the kind of training she envisioned when she first set out on her journey to become a doctor. “There are so many things I loved about it,” she said.
One aspect in particular that resonated with Gero was the comprehensive support provided from day one to her as a student and as a parent. When Gero started her first semester in Knoxville, her son lived with her and attended the on-campus preparatory school provided by Ross Med.
“That was really special. It stood out to me that they supported me, because medical school is never easy – especially for parents,” Gero said. Looking back, she recalls one of her favorite memories from med school: getting to have lunch with her son every day that first semester in between studying and classes. She also connected with other parents on campus. “We shared the same experiences and supported each other. I thought that was incredible. I still talk about it today,” Gero said recalling that time with a smile.
After studying at the Ross Med campus in Barbados for three semesters, Gero then went on to complete her core rotation in family medicine in Michigan during her third year. Her rotation took her just three hours from home. During these years in medical school, Gero said she learned how to be adaptable and resilient. She also felt a deep reinforcement of why she wanted to practice family medicine.
“Because of the strong clinical rotations, the diverse patient populations and the diverse pathology I worked with, it helped me practice medicine and gave me a lot of confidence.”
A Dedication to Community
In the near term, Gero is excited to start her residency at Case Western, where she has prior experience working in their Acting Internship program. She’s also planning to spend time with family, attend her son’s soccer games and do some traveling.
Looking further ahead, she said she hopes to be a compassionate physician for her patients and an advocate for women in medicine.
“I want to encourage residencies, as well as medical schools, to help parents with things like childcare and flexible schedule. Because it takes a village to get through,” Gero said.
She added: “I'm so thankful for my family’s support because I could never have done this without them. Because they stepped up the way they did, I was able to succeed.”
In 2023, 97% of eligible Ross Med students matched into residency programs. To get started on your own path to Match Day, learn about how you can be hands-on from the start at Ross Med here.