Suspense ends on Match Day

first_imgBy choosing to stay local, Ham and Zimmer bucked a growing trend among medical students to leave the area. More than half of UCLA’s graduates will head to hospitals outside Los Angeles when they receive their diplomas in June. Senior Associate Dean Neil Parker attributed the exodus to the high cost of housing locally. With up to $100,000 in student loans and starting salaries of $42,000, young doctors were finding Los Angeles increasingly unaffordable, Parker said. But they weren’t thinking about debt, finances or the details of professional medicine as they flashed their letters and snapped pictures with their fellow students Thursday. They were thinking of happy hours to attend and celebratory dinners. David Samimi hugged his friends. Then, for good measure, he hugged their parents. He had started out studying economics at Pierce College, transferred to UCLA as an undergrad and switched to medicine. He put in time as an emergency medical technician, then as a volunteer at the hospital. “You’d work there all night in this blue coat,” he remembered. “It didn’t mean anything, but a lot of the patients, when they’re first transported in, they think you’re the doctor. They’d really open up to you. And that’s when I fell in love with the job.” On June 1, he’ll don a cap and gown and graduate with the rest of his class. Three weeks later, the grads will begin as professionals across the nation. Samimi will intern at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, then head off to Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for his residency. “They’re all very excited and very confident now, but soon they’ll be off as M.D.s,” Parker said. “Then they’ll be in with their first patient and the nurse will turn to them and say, `Well, doctor, what do you want to do?’ … And that’s going to be the big moment for them.” [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WESTWOOD – Maggie Ham pulled the envelope off the wall, wondering about the precious contents sealed within. Ever since she could remember, the 24-year-old has wanted to be a doctor. Watching her father, a general practitioner, the Glendale native learned to love medicine at a young age. Now, after four long years of study at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, she would slit open the envelope’s flap and learn where she’d begin her career. “As `fourth-years,’ this day is all you think about,” she said. For most people, it was just a regular Thursday. But for Ham and 164 other medical students at the University of California, Los Angeles, it was Match Day, a nationwide ritual during which 16,000 students learn simultaneously which hospitals had accepted them as interns and residents. Ham gingerly carried her envelope back to the table where her friends waited with theirs. She was hoping to stay at the school where she’d learned, close to family in the city where she’d grown up. The students tore into their envelopes, pulled forth their letters. Ham cheered aloud. UCLA it was. She congratulated her friends and carried the news across the room to Raymond Zimmer, who’s considering cardiology. Dressed in a Superman T-shirt and clutching his own letter, he called out to Ham: UCLA had accepted the 25-year-old North Hollywood High School graduate as well. “I just can’t believe it’s finally here,” he said. “I’ve been wanting this my whole life, so this has been a long time coming. … I’ve gotta tell my parents! They’re going to kill me if I don’t call them.” last_img