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For week ended March 26, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 04Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Doctor Learns His Fate on Medicine's Match Day
(On Match Day, Aspiring Doctors Learn the Course of Their Future)
New York Times pg1 25Mar00 P2
By Kate Stone Lombardi

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- March 16th of this year was a momentus day for nearly 15,000 medical students across the U.S., including LDS medical student Christopher Degn. A student at New York Medical College, the medical school of Cornel University. The fourth-year medical student, with virtually all of his peers, participated in the National Residency Matching Program to match students with residency programs across the U.S.

''It's probably the second most meaningful day in medical school,'' Dr. Susan Anderson Kline, executive vice dean of academic affairs. ''The first is commencement, because you really join the profession and your family gets to call you doctor. But this determines what kind of career they're going to have, and it has a lot to do with where they're going to live -- certainly for the next several years and maybe for the rest of their lives.''

The program uses a computer algorithm to match students to either their first, second or third choice of residency programs. At New York Medical College, 47 percent matched to their first choice, 28 percent to their second and 12 percent to their third. Just five percent didn't match at all, but managed to get a residency after a few days of scrambling.

Degn says that the match isn't quite the most momentous of his life. He reserves that for the day he received his mission call to France, like the match, a unknown that will have an affect on the next few years of a person's life. ''Opening this envelope -- where everyone opens it all together -- it's almost like career voyeurism,'' Mr. Degn said. ''And to trust your life to an algorithm requires a lot of faith.''

Unlike most of his peers, Degn went to medical school as a married man and father of three, leading his friends at school to marvel at his stamina. But Degn says that having a family is ''more of a blessing than a curse.'' He says that playing with his kids helped melt the tensions of school.

And his family had an affect on his choice for a residency. ''The reason I chose interventional radiology is because I have three kids,'' Mr. Degn said. ''Interventional, so I can directly save lives. Radiology so I can save my marriage. All the procedure residency programs are notorious for their divorce rates -- some even boast of that.''

And when Degn opened the envelope, he was pleased to get his second choice, the University of Kentucky at Louisville. Both Degn and his family were pleased, because Louisville offered a particular benefit, ''This is the only place we could go where we could afford to buy a house,'' Mr. Degn said with his arm around his wife, Mindy. ''No more renting.'' Even his 5-year-old daughter Aubrielle quickly caught the significance, ''Can we get a dog?'' she asked.


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