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Med school grads pursuing careers in primary care

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From page A4 | March 19, 2013 | Leave Comment

SACRAMENTO — Nearly half of the 107 medical students graduating from UC Davis in June will enter primary-care medicine residency programs, the highest percentage in more than a decade, demonstrating the school’s ongoing commitment to alleviating the nationwide shortage of providers in the specialty.

Of the 107 students in the UC Davis Medical School Class of 2013, 48.6 percent will advance their educations in primary-care medicine, the largest percentage since 2002, when 49.5 percent of students were accepted into primary-care residencies. This year, 9.4 percent will enter advanced subspecialty residencies, the lowest number since 2000.

The graduating class also is the second-largest in the past 13 years, second only to the Class of 2012, with 113 students, so that the total number of graduating students entering primary-care residencies also is larger. Class sizes vary from year to year. The class sizes have grown by as many as 20 students or more in recent years.

Fifty-nine percent of the graduates will attend residency programs in California, with 15 percent remaining at UC Davis to continue their training to become licensed physicians.

UC Davis students learned which residency training programs they would enter on Friday, during the annual event that occurs simultaneously at medical schools nationwide known as Match Day. The students celebrated with faculty, administrators, family and friends.

Each year, more than 16,000 medical school students in the United States, together with thousands of “independent” applicants including former medical school graduates, students at schools of osteopathy and graduates of foreign medical schools, apply for approximately 26,000 positions available in the U.S.

Their matches are based on the results of the National Resident Matching Program, which uses a computer algorithm to match the preferences of applicants with those of residency programs at teaching programs nationwide.

Lee Jones, associate dean for student affairs, said students in the Class of 2013 matched to “really solid,” high-quality programs throughout the country, including residencies at Harvard University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of Washington and other top-flight institutions, as well as UCD.

The percentage of students entering primary care increased once again, reaching a 10-year high, he said.

“The UC Davis School of Medicine is recognized nationwide for producing outstanding clinicians, people who are culturally competent and who really care about their patients,” Jones said. “They are academically superb, clinically wonderful people who you would want to go see as a doctor.

“We feel really good about passing the baton of medicine on to this next generation of physicians.”

“I am so thrilled to be going to my first-choice pediatric residency, and I am so thankful to UC Davis,” said Angela Venturelli, a 27-year-old graduate who is from South San Francisco. Venturelli will be pursuing a pediatrics residency at Oakland Children’s Hospital.

“The student-run clinics showed me how important it is for all people to have great primary care, regardless of age, status, or class,” Venturelli said.

Kaveh Zivari, 27, of Los Angeles, president of graduating class, was matched to a residency in general surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. — where his uncle completed his own residency in obstetrics and gynecology before him.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” Zivari said. “This huge weight is lifted off our shoulders. We did so many all-nighters, we answered so many pagers and we studied so hard — all for this moment. Now we know what our futures are going to be.

“I’m excited to be going to a big city to experience life in New York.”

Wendy Palacios, 28, of Fairfield, will spend a transitional year at Harbor UCLA Medical School before returning to UCD for a residency in diagnostic radiology.

“I feel a combination of utter elation and absolute relief mixed with a little freaking out,” Palacios said. “I’m overjoyed I got my number-one choice of UC Davis and am excited to take on the adventures that one year in Los Angeles will hold.”

— UC Davis Health News Office

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