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UCSD med students look to the future

By UCSD

Beaming with a smile that arrives only after a hard-earned accomplishment, Chris Moriates admitted he was nervous.

“It was hard for me to open the envelope but amazing to finally see my future in writing!” said the newly assigned UCSD School of Medicine senior.

On March 19, Moriates and 107 of his classmates joined thousands of medical students across the nation in a “once-in-a-lifetime” event called Match Day, which is the simultaneous opening of envelopes that reveal where the students will pursue their residency training program. Students apply to residency programs at the beginning of their final year in medical school.

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The 2009 graduating class at UCSD’s School of Medicine consists of 108 men and women drawn largely from California, but representing other states and countries as well.

Seventy-eight percent of the class will train in California, with 25 percent remaining in San Diego.

For Carolyn Kelly, M.D., associate dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, it was an emotional morning.

“Admissions is a pretty long process,” explained Kelly, who has shepherded this class since 2005. “I spent many, many hours convincing these very students to come to UC San Diego and now, to see them about to launch their training, is incredibly gratifying.”

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This day is the culmination of a dream for many, including Albert Kashanian and his parents, who moved to Los Angeles from Israel when Kashanian was just 25 days old.

“My parents didn’t have much of a chance for a formal education, and today I got my number one choice - internal medicine at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. This experience has an amazing energy … exciting and happy,” Kashanian said.

Parents, spouses, significant others, siblings, friends and children gathered round the newly minted residents, popped the champagne and toasted futures.

The surreal qualities of Match Day will disappear - along with the champagne bubbles - soon enough. That’s when Moriates will begin his residency in internal medicine at UC San Francisco Medical Center, ranked seventh among the nation’s top 10 hospitals, according to a survey conducted by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine calls this an “honor roll” of “the best of the best.” Moriates will take his place among them in June.