--Annual Match Day ceremony to place some in special programs to care for urban poor in Baltimore region

March 18, 2010- Hugs, high fives, cheers and a few tears will abound when the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s seniors find out which hospital residency programs they will enter after graduation this spring.  The fourth-year students will gather for this annual, invitation-only celebration on the medical campus, where they’ll open official letters in the presence of classmates, professors and loved ones. 

The event for the 107th graduating class is slated to take place on Thursday, March 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Armstrong Medical Education Building on the Second Floor, College Commons Area, located at 1600 McElderry Street in Baltimore.  Envelopes will be opened promptly at noon.

New to this year’s class of future medical specialists are four doctors who will become the school’s first urban health (UH) residents.  The four accepted as UH residents come from 160 applicants from across the country.  They will receive  six years of specialized training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, designed to manage the myriad health problems — from high blood pressure and diabetes, to alcoholism, AIDS and domestic violence — that plague the inner-city poor. In what is believed to be the first program of its kind, these residents will receive joint training in medicine and pediatrics. 

The program is an effort by Johns Hopkins Pediatrics and Medicine Departments to address the growing medical needs for physician leaders in underserved communities.  “This pioneering program, developed by Len Feldman and Rosyln Stewart, will help to address the tremendous shortage of physicians equipped to deal with the health problems of the entire urban family,” says Myron “Mike” Weisfeldt, M.D., physician in chief and chairman of Johns Hopkins’ Department of Medicine.  These physicians also will learn the management skills needed to handle the complex medical problems commonplace in many of our nation’s big cities.”

Some 117 Hopkins students will be among the thousands of U.S. medical students this year that will discover where they will serve as residents. Johns Hopkins students often match to their first- or second-choice sites.

The nationwide program, designed to keep the match fair and objective, pairs the wishes of the students with the needs of hospitals’ residency programs.  Prior to Match Day, students complete lengthy paperwork, on-site interviews with hospitals and then provide a ranked list of top choices. Hospitals submit a similar list indicating openings, preferred students, and specialty or generalist preferences.  Each applicant is matched via computer algorithm to the hospital residency program that is highest on the applicant’s list and has offered the applicant a position.

“Match Day is one of those memorable milestones in medical school careers,” says Thomas Koenig, associate dean for student affairs.  “It’s a chance for us as a school to celebrate our students’ achievements and to look ahead to their even greater accomplishments in the years to come.  Wherever they match, they will always be considered Hopkins’ own.”

Although participants in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) are notified via e-mail if (but not where) they matched, Hopkins continues with its traditional, open-the-envelope Match Day group ritual.

A Sampling of Residents’ Stories
Students are available for press interviews.

Paul Doherty, M.D.
Doherty, who hopes to be one of the first urban health residents at Johns Hopkins, spent eight years prior to medical school working in the United States and in Africa with the uninsured and homeless, helping AIDS patients and former drug addicts seek treatment.  Indeed, it was helping one frail woman newly diagnosed with HIV and witnessing her sudden transformation back to a physically strong woman that propelled him to seek medical training at Johns Hopkins in 2006.  “I hope to help my patients experience similar miracles." he says.

Brian Englum, M.D.
Brian Englum’s roundabout road to Match Day took him halfway around the world to West African villages in need of better water and sanitation systems, HIV/AIDS education, and health care for mothers and their babies.  Before the Indiana University graduate made it to Johns Hopkins, he spent two and a half years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, learning how one person can truly make a difference in people’s lives.  Even as Englum prepares for his general surgery residency, he continues to keep one eye on the rest of the world and its needs.  One of the things he loves about surgery — aside from the teamwork and the intensity and the problem solving that goes on in the operating room — is that it will boost his value to medical groups serving overseas.  Once he is a practicing surgeon, Englum says, he can go for a few weeks or a month to a country in need — say, after a natural disaster like the recent earthquake in Haiti — and use his skills to make a real difference in just a short period of time.  “I can make an impact,” says Englum.

Eric and Damaris Nou, M.D.
Eric and Damaris Nou, the first in both of their families to pursue a career in medicine, met during freshmen year, as biology students, at Yale University.  Since then, they have been together, working, studying and helping each other achieve their goals — a journey they hope will continue during their residencies.  Both Eric and Damaris, participating in the residency match as Internal Medicine candidates, say their first priority is to match together in the same institution and that Johns Hopkins is one of their top choices.  “It is an amazing place to train for residency with great peers and mentors,“ Eric says.

Josh Taylor, M.D.
Josh Taylor’s father James grew up “dirt poor,” he says, in rural Alabama, one of 10 children of a moonshiner and the first in his family to go to college.  Football enabled the elder Taylor to get a university degree, but the inferior education he got at a segregated school for Native American students meant the college pre-med courses were too tough and his aspiration to become a doctor would fail. Josh Taylor is about to fulfill his father’s dream.  The 25-year-old Taylor, a graduate of the University of Alabama, says his graduation from Johns Hopkins is “a culmination of a dream for both him and for me.” Josh’s father became a successful businessman, with his own construction business and the resources that enabled all of his children to go to college and pursue whatever paths they could imagine for themselves.  The envelope that Josh will open on Friday will take him to a general surgery residency and the next stop on his remarkable journey.  Will it be at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, closer to his family?  Or at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, his adopted home for the past four years?

For More Information:
Johns Hopkins Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Health Residency program   

Osler Medical House Staff Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

National Resident Matching Program (NRMP )

Media Contact:
John M. Lazarou; 410-502-8902;
[email protected]
Stephanie Desmon; 410-955-8665;
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