Richie Diaz of Zachary reacts to learning she will continue her education at Georgetown University during Match Day at LSU Health.

After years of hard work and dedication, Richie Diaz of Zachary came to her Match Day at LSU Health Shreveport with one goal in mind: Georgetown University. When she opened her envelope and realized that dream had come true, it was obvious by the look on her face.

“My husband and I went to high school together,” Diaz said. “So we’ve just kind of coordinated being in the same city at the same time. He was stationed in Georgetown when he wasn’t deploying for the Marine Corps. So that’s why it was our first choice. It feels really good. I think in my face it probably showed just how much hard work and effort, that it was worth it.”

Diaz was one of 121 School of Medicine students who learned where they will go for their residency training during Match Day festivities Friday, March 16.

Students were called to the stage randomly and presented a sealed envelope containing the news of where they matched. Each student announced their fate and shared their excitement in front of a crowd of family, friends, faculty and fellow students. In what has become a tradition at LSU Health Shreveport, each student contributed to a monetary gift that went to the last student to receive his envelope. This year’s gift went to David Detz who will be completing his General Surgery residency at Methodist Hospital in Houston.

“I’m so proud to come from here,” Diaz said. “There’s more than one of who’s matched into Georgetown before, and I think it really speaks for our school that we do well coming from LSU and they teach us good clinical skills anyhow to produce caring, smart doctors. It’s an exciting thing.”

Diaz will serve her residency in Internal medicine and pediatrics at Georgetown. From there, she plans to complete a hematology and oncology fellowship and then return to south Louisiana.

Forty-five percent of this year’s class will stay in Louisiana for residency, including 29 percent staying in Shreveport. Students also were matched to several programs outside the state, including, including Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Mount Sinai, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Baylor Scott & White.

“It is my honor to share that this year represents the most successful Match Day in the history of our health sciences center,” said Dr. G.E. Ghali, Chancellor and School of Medicine Dean. “These results are a direct reflection on the caliber and commitment of our faculty who work tirelessly in delivering the best possible education and training to our students and residents. I wish the very best to our students staying in Shreveport as well as to those who matched in programs around the country. I am confident each one of them will represent LSU Health Shreveport well strengthening our legacy of successful medical education.”

LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine learned on match Day that it successfully filled all 119 residency positions available. The new group of LSUHS residents will be welcomed to Shreveport in July, where they will train at University Health and other partner hospitals.

Match Day ceremonies are held at the same time on the third Friday in March at medical schools around the country. Throughout their final year of medical school, students apply and travel to residency programs around the country to complete interviews. Students then rank their preferred residency programs through the National Resident Matching Program, or The Match. A computer algorithm then simultaneously takes the list of programs ranked by the student and the list of students ranked by the residency programs to fill available positions. The NRMP expects this year’s Main Residency Match to be the largest in history.

Students will receive their Doctorate of Medicine medical degrees in May at graduation before starting their respective residency programs.

By Scott Anderson