UConn-Trained Future Doctors Meet Their Match

This is the day UConn School of Medicine students find out where their journey will take them next

Some of the nearly 100 Class of 2022 medical students celebrating on national medical Match Day March 18 who are set to enter the future health care workforce as residency program trainees in Connecticut and as far away as California. Center in the photo is soon-to-be UConn-trained doctor and UConn emergency medicine resident Nurudeen Lucky Osumah (UConn Health photo/Tina Encarnacion).

At the stroke of noon on Friday, March 18 nearly 100 soon-to-be doctors training at UConn School of Medicine anxiously clicked open digital envelopes to learn their fate on national medical Match Day 2022.

Following this May’s medical school graduation, they will begin their medical residency programs spanning from Connecticut to California during the summer for advanced clinical training over the next several years whether in primary care, family medicine, pediatrics or other medical and surgical specialties.

“Today is your big day and your big moment,” said Dr. Bruce Liang, dean of UConn School of Medicine and newly named interim CEO of UConn Health during the School’s livestream countdown celebration before the medical students’ destinies were revealed. “We are 50 years strong thanks to students like you choosing to enter academic medicine. Since 1972 we have been producing future doctors like you for our great state of Connecticut – and nation. And together with you we are building tomorrow’s talented health care workforce. You are the future of health care. And your future starts today, right here, at UConn, with your Match to a residency program.”

In fact, UConn is Connecticut’s largest and No. 1 source for new physicians and surgeons.

On national medical Match Day, the Class of 2022 had 99 students successfully placed in residency positions. This is a high match rate of 99%, with 26% of medical students going into primary care fields, 29% staying in Connecticut, 48% remaining in New England, and 80% in the Northeast.

“We are incredibly proud of you,” said Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs Dr. Melissa Held during the livestreamed countdown celebration in the Academic Rotunda at UConn Health. “Look how far you’ve come. You’ve trained to be doctors in the midst of probably one of the most difficult times in health care. And you’ve made it! You really are prepared for anything that comes your way. Approach this next phase of training with the courage and resilience that I know you have shown these past few years and you will be successful.”

Second-year medical student, Patrick Bogui, shared an inspiring livestreamed violin performance of “Man in the Mirror” for the Class of 2022’s national medical Match Day.

Liang concluded in his Match Day remarks: “I know that you will make your mark during residency – and upon the patients and communities you serve. Because you already have – right here at UConn Health and in Connecticut these past 4 years. Remember, you will always be an important member of our UConn Family. And we will forever be here for you.”

The special livestreamed event included an inspiring violin performance by Patrick Bogui, a second-year medical student, playing the song “Man in the Mirror” to inspire the matching students.

“Congrats to the Class of 2022. One of the things I’m learning at UConn is that as doctors we are advocates for our patients. The change that we want to see has to start with us,” said Bogui.

Some of the many medical student stories from Match Day 2022 include:

More Women Surgeons on the Way
Sandy Carpenter, 25, of Ridgefield is excited to discover what her future holds as she heads off to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to become a general surgeon.

“I am off to general surgery residency,” says Carpenter.  “I chose general surgery because of the surge of adrenaline I get in the operating room, my passion for art and working with my hands, and the privileged opportunity to care for critically ill and vulnerable patients every day. UConn SOM offers exceptional clinical experiences at the hospitals in and around Hartford where you have the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives. For each specialty I rotated through, I really enjoyed being part of the team and collaborating to solve problems for our patients.”

Also staying for orthopaedic surgery residency training at UConn School of Medicine is Francine Zeng ’18 (CLAS), 25, of South Windsor.

“I am so excited for Match Day,” says Zeng. “It is amazing finally seeing all of our determination and efforts over the past 4 years pay off as we find out what the next steps of our journey are.”

“When I came into medical school, I had zero exposure to orthopaedics, and honestly did not see myself as a surgeon. However, I fell in love with anatomy early on and realized I love being in the operating room. My favorite thing about orthopaedics is the ability to directly help patients with their functional abilities and get them back to doing the things they love. It is also a diverse field and operations can range from creating a new thumb for a child or providing an elderly patient with a new hip so they can walk pain free,” says Zeng.

Zeng credits her biggest inspiration and mentor Dr. Kathy Coyner, who she met on the first day of medical school. Coyner runs several workshops with the goal of exposing and inspiring more females to enter surgical subspecialties.

“Dr. Coyner took me under her wing early on and allowed me to gain more exposure to, and ultimately fall in love with, orthopaedics. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support,” says Zeng. “My time at UConn has given me the confidence and resources to become a great a physician and I am so excited to get started!”

Also remaining at UConn School of Medicine for orthopaedic surgery is Lisa Tamburini, 28, of Wolcott. She also attended UConn as an undergraduate. “Four years of hard work, with big and small accomplishments along the way, and it’s all for this day.”

“I entered medical school with the goal of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon and can now officially say I am going to accomplish that goal,” says Tamburini, who shared her special digital envelope opening moment with her husband and parents. “They have been by my side throughout this journey; providing support, meals, a listening ear, and space and time to myself depending on the time of year or time of day.”

The field of orthopaedic surgery lacks women, with only 6% of orthopaedic surgeons being female. “While this is the case, I have never felt like I couldn’t accomplish my goals because the support I have had from UConn has been amazing,” Tamburini says. “UConn has three outstanding female Orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Coyner, Dr. Geaney, and Dr. Solovyova, that have helped me every step of the way and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I really can’t thank each of them enough for not only mentoring me but also for just being themselves and proving that being a female and being an orthopaedic surgeon is absolutely a possibility.”

It’s a Couples-Match
“I am extremely excited for Match Day!” says Carla Fabiola Rivera-Perez, 26, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She says she traded in her tropical island for the chance to attend UConn’s medical school in snowy Connecticut. She opened her digital envelope for a psychiatry residency alongside boyfriend Gabriel Colon, 27, from Hartford, who matched in emergency medicine. They chose to couple-match and will be headed together to Mount Sinai Morningside-West in New York City.

“Growing up, I was very fortunate to have parents who allowed me to express my emotions in very healthy ways and who emphasized the importance of mental health. This and having the opportunity to witness the amazing work psychiatrists do every day inspired me to pursue a career in Psychiatry,” says Riviera-Perez. “Pursuing a career in medicine is a long and tough road at times, but if the passion and drive are there, the journey is truly worth it.”

Made their Match

Nurudeen Lucky Osumah of the Class of 2022 will be staying at UConn for his emergency medicine residency.

One of those future medical doctors joining the health care workforce at UConn School of Medicine as an emergency medicine resident is Nurudeen Lucky Osumah ’21 MBA, 28, who opened up news of his resident placement with his family in West Haven.

“I am very excited for Match Day 2022. It was a culmination of all the hard work that I and many of my friends put into medical school. This is a momentous milestone in my life,” says Osumah, who is choosing to enter emergency medicine based on the opportunity to make an immediate difference. Also, interestingly he took a year off from medical school during the pandemic to earn his MBA at UConn.

Osumah stresses: “I always tell people that UConn School of Medicine provides a sense of community I would not have at other medical schools. In addition, I am heavily involved in Health Career Opportunity Programs and dedicated much of my time to help the pipeline program. For all of the students who want to go into medicine, always continue to persevere and move forward. Working in healthcare is a very rewarding experience. The road itself is long and stressful but the outcome is well worth the wait.”

Future pediatrician Caity Miller ’27 (CLAS), 26, of Greenwich, like most of her classmates, was excited, but also anxious to see what institution’s name was inside her digital envelope.

She is headed to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and her boyfriend William Lambert, 27, of East Hampton, is headed into neurosurgery residency at UMass Chan Medical School.

“A part of me has always felt drawn to the pediatrics field, and seeing the hope and resilience that has threaded all of my experiences with the pediatric population,” Miller says. “We have amazing mentors in pediatrics here at UConn which has been incredible for all of us entering this field. There is no ‘one’ or ‘right’ rack to a career in health care or medicine. The road to any of these careers is long and challenging. Take the path that is right for you and do what you love and you will never be wrong.

“As a soon-to-be double UConn grad, it is so nice to see that carrying that UConn name with you really does mean family,” she says. “When looking at medical schools, finding a place with a strong sense of community and support was one of my top priorities. This is what I found at the UConn School of Medicine on my interview day, and what drew me to stay! That sense of community has definitely stayed strong throughout my four years, and the sense of support I feel from not only faculty, but my peers has made for a wonderful four years.”

Future neurosurgeon Lambert agrees: “UConn School of Medicine offers a team-based, collaborative learning environment for students to form a solid clinical foundation, allowing them to excel in whatever field they chose to pursue. Thanks to invaluable mentorship, I will be entering the field of neurosurgery. While there are a multitude of mentors for which I have to thank for the opportunity to pursue this career, I owe a special thanks to Dr. Ali Sultan, Dr. David Hersh, and Dr. Ketan Bulsara, without whom I would not be where I am today.”

Another matching medical student is Nathaniel Jenkins ’17 (CLAS), 26, of Bristol, who is entering psychiatry residency in California at UC San Francisco.

“Our entire medical careers lead up to the thrilling event of Match Day,” he says.

George Bekheet matched to anesthesiology residency training at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

During medical school he discovered that mental health is a gateway to physical health. “Providing patients with the tools they need to do the things they love to do and live a life of fulfillment is my passion,” says Jenkins. “UConn’s psychiatry department is really top-notch and has allowed me to have phenomenal experiences. Of the many wonderful mentors I’ve had, Dr. Zdanys and Dr. Fahed have been the biggest inspiration to me. I attribute so much of my success to them.”

Jenkins says “I feel well prepared to enter the front lines as a result of the incredible training UConn has provided me. I am 100% UConn. I have been a part of this family since I started my undergraduate degree as a freshman at Storrs. I loved it so much that I just had to stay for medical school! I suppose that makes me a ‘Double Husky.’ I wouldn’t change it for the world. This University will always hold a special place in my heart.”

George Bekheet, 26, of Melville, New York, who is entering the specialty field of anesthesiology for training at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, agrees.

“I’m glad to be a UConn Husky. UConn School of Medicine is a community of friends and family that have taught me the foundational elements of medicine. I’ve also met countless life-long friends,” says Bekheet, who credits his father inspiring him to enter medicine.

A soon-to-be family medicine resident Suleiman Abiola with his brother Olajide Abiola (SOM ’19) during his White Coat Ceremony at the start of his medical school career.

Suleiman Abiola, 28, of Trumbull, matched into family medicine at Middlesex Hospital. His brother, Olajide Abiola, also graduated from the medical school in 2019.

“For me, family practice seemed like the most natural expression of the deep-rooted values I have maintained my whole life. I believe family medicine will allow me to continue to make deep and lasting connections with people from all age ranges and walks of life,” he says.

“UConn has been such a great home for me. I decided to go to UConn because I felt that I would have a supportive learning environment with faculty that and students that would help me thrive and that has truly been the case. I am glad to finally be a Husky and to fully embrace the blue that bleeds throughout Connecticut. Living and working in and around UConn Health has actually helped me to really appreciate all that Connecticut has to offer and has helped me envision the possibility of setting down long-term roots in Connecticut.”