Pep Talk — April 2014

Spring arrives at the UCF College of Medicine with a flurry of activity – from Match Day to FIRE research presentations, Step 1 studying to plans for our May 16 graduation.

On March 21, 55 of our seniors matched into residency programs across Orlando, Florida and in other top programs across the country. We had 100 percent of our students match, into specialties that included primary care, anesthesiology, dermatology and vascular surgery. In Florida, students will do their residencies at locations including Florida Hospital, the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Jacksonville, Miami Children’s Hospital, Orlando Health, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.

Students who sought national placements will do their residencies at programs that include Emory, Georgetown, Harvard’s Massachusetts General, Johns Hopkins, Stanford University and Vanderbilt.

Central Florida’s weather couldn’t have been more beautiful for our outdoor Match Day celebration, as seniors received their sealed envelopes in gold and black paper lanterns hanging near the palm trees on our Tavistock Green.

In addition to matching our own students, National Match Day was also a huge milestone for UCF for another reason. We learned the 16 M.D. graduates who will become our internal medicine residents at a new program beginning in June. The college’s partnership residency program with the Orlando VA Medical Center and Osceola Regional Medical Center is designed to help ease our community’s shortage of primary care physicians.

To say that March 21 was a busy day at the college is a huge understatement. As seniors were learning their residency matches, our first- and second-year students were participating in the annual FIRE (Focused Inquiry and Research Experience) conference. They presented research on topics that included using computer games to combat obesity, better treatments for gout and the efficacy of Cesarean section surgery.

I want to thank all of our FIRE mentors, who share their time, expertise and spirit of inquiry with our students. UCF’s FIRE module is unique because it gives young M.D. students first-hand exposure to scientific discovery. Many of our students will go on to present their work at professional meetings and in publications thanks to your strong guidance and mentorship.

After making their formal research presentations, second-year students are now focused on studying for the USMLE this month and next. The Class of 2016 has big shoes to fill. The Class of 2015 surpassed the national average by 6 points, with an average score of 234.

And as the students work hard on their academics, they are also focused on giving back to the community. The student-run KNIGHTS (Keeping Neighbors In Good Health Through Service) free clinic at Grace Medical Home just celebrated its first anniversary of providing care to uninsured residents of Orlando.

The clinic continues to get state and national attention for its partnership spirit. KNIGHTS leaders presented at the Society for Student-Run Free Clinics (SSFRC) International Conference in Nashville, where more than 400 students from medical schools nationwide attended.

At the same time, two students participated in the Department of Community Service (DOCS) Retreat at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. M-2s Elissa Engel and Grace Logan were among 25 medical students selected to present at the conference and then traveled to the Florida Keys to volunteer at the University of Miami’s largest health fair of the year. There, they helped care for more than 700 patients at three different South Florida locations.

As you can see, there is hardly a second to take a breath at the college. And we are also preparing for the commencement of our Class of 2014. You all should have received email invitations to the commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Venue on the main UCF campus.

I hope you will be able to join us as we graduate 55 more UCF-trained physicians. These students are a credit to the healthcare profession, thanks to all that you do in their training.


  Pep Talk — April 2014


UCF College of Medicine