As reported by Hartford Courant, March 18, 2011.

Medical Students Meet Their Match

UConn Students Secure High Rate of Top Choices in Residency Programs

By Rinker Buck

It was Match Day at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, when graduating students learn where they will spend their residencies, and Arya Varthi had just found out he was headed toward one of his top choices, a residency in orthopedic surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Varthi, 25, barely had time to celebrate with his parents in the medical school auditorium when his cellphone rang. It was his sister, Maya, 26, who is graduating this year from the Tufts University School of Medicine. She had just learned that she is heading to a residency in internal medicine at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

"My parents are so relieved today," Varthi said, as joyful doctors-to-be milled around the auditorium, hugging each other and their parents and comparing notes on where they had landed for the next stage of their careers. "Most parents here had just one medical student to help out and support, but mine had two. But now they know that it's over for them and we can all move on with our lives."

Varthi spent his childhood in Connecticut but then lived with his family in India and Great Britain as his father accepted overseas assignments with his company.

"I'm a global baby, so I guess I could have gone anywhere," Varthi said. "But my parents are back in Connecticut now, so I'm happy I got Yale. But orthopedic surgery is very competitive, so I'm very lucky."

The annual Match Day, held in mid-March across the country, matches graduating medical students with their top picks for residencies and is an important milestone in a medical career. It is run by the National Resident Matching program, which uses computer software to match applicants with the available training programs at hospitals nationwide.

Schools of medicine consider their Match Day results an important milestone too, a kind of annual pulse on how their program is ranked by prestigious university hospitals across the country. This year, UConn medical graduates snared residencies at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Brown, UCLA and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Overall, the 2011 UConn grads secured a match rate at their top choice residencies of 98.8 percent, compared to a national match rate this year of 94.1 percent.

Kristina Ziegler, 27, grew up in Chester and worked as an ambulance crew technician and in a nursing home to help prepare her for medical school. She wanted to remain in Connecticut to be near her family and boyfriend, and secured a residency in general surgery at Stamford Hospital.

"I've wanted to be a doctor since I was 7," Ziegler said. "Stamford was my first choice, and it's wonderful to have this in my hands after so many years of hard work."