So far, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine is six for six.
All of its fourth-year medical students who participated in the early match process matched in their specialty fields of ophthalmology, urology and the military.
"We are ecstatic with the success of the early matches. We're hoping it's a good omen of more successful matches to come," said Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, senior associate dean for Student Affairs.
The "matching" process is how medical students compete for slots in residency programs to train in their preferred medical specialty. Most specialties participate in the National Match Day, held on the third Friday of March each year. But some medical fields choose their new residents earlier.
For example, the Military Match—for medical students in the military—is held in December. The College of Medicine had one student applicant who matched at Walter Reed Medical Center, the nation's top military hospital.
Ophthalmology and urology, two of the most competitive specialties, announce their match results in early February.
In a welcomed and rare development, on Feb. 1, medical student Alexander Black matched in ophthalmology at UF Health Jacksonville. And the next day, his girlfriend and classmate, Amanda Kahn, matched in urology at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.
"This is truly amazing. I only know of one other couple who simultaneously matched in those two tough specialties," said Hernandez Suarez.
The couple credits hard work, preparation and a bit of luck for their success in landing high-demand specialties and their top-choice programs in the same city. "We couldn't have done any of this without FIU," they said, acknowledging the support from faculty and administrators who counseled and encouraged them.
Rory Ritts Jr. had also waited anxiously for the early match results. Now he's looking forward to July 1, when he starts his urology residency at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "I am incredibly grateful to match at a high-quality program that prides itself on having a phenomenal culture among residents and faculty. And I'm thankful to the Wertheim College of Medicine and my mentors for supporting me along the way."
Jason Kozarek and Isaac Zucker are the other students who'll soon start training to become urologists. Kozarek will perform his residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Zucker at the University of Toledo.
All eyes are now on March 17, when the rest of the graduating medical students learn where their career journey will take them next.