By Wendy Sarubbi | January 15, 2013 3:52 pm

Two graduating M.D. students from the University of Central Florida College of Medicine were selected into highly competitive Ophthalmology residencies Tuesday in the first announced nationwide matches.

Sarina Amin and Briana Gapsis are members of the College of Medicine’s charter class, which thanks to community support received full four-year scholarships to medical school. Amin, of Orlando, was selected to attend the University of Florida’s Ophthalmology residency program. Gapsis, of Ellicott City, MD, was selected for Nassau University Medical Center on Long Island, NY.

Ophthalmology residencies are the first to be announced nationwide. The rest of the nation’s residency matches will be announced at noon on March 15. The College of Medicine is finishing details of that celebration and will be announcing them to media outlets soon.

“Tuesday’s results are very exciting because we have a 100 percent match success rate so far for our graduating seniors,” said Dr. Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the four-year-old medical school. “This is an impressive accomplishment for Sarina and Briana, particularly given the highly competitive nature of the field of Ophthalmology.”

Medical school graduates cannot practice medicine until they have completed a residency. In their fourth year of medical school, students interview with programs and then rank their choices. Residency programs do the same, placing students in order of their top candidates. A national computer then matches students and programs – ensuring that students are placed in their highest choice with a program that has also chosen them.

Amin said she was “ecstatic” to be going to the University of Florida, which was her first choice because of the strength of its program and because it is near her hometown. She has received top honors for her scholarship and research at the College of Medicine and learned she was going to UF while doing her clerkship training in emergency medicine at Orlando Health on Tuesday. “Words cannot describe how excited I am,” she said. “Florida has a great program that will provide tremendous training.”

Gapsis came to medical school with a keen interest in Ophthalmology because “people rely on their eyes for virtually everything. You can restore someone’s life by giving them back their vision.” She has done corneal research at Johns Hopkins University during the summer and said she chose Nassau University’s program because the teaching hospital serves a large and diverse population and combines private and academic medicine.

Gapsis was one of four students and Amin one of five nationwide chosen for their respective residency programs.

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