Rutgers medical school students joined thousands across the country who learned which residency programs they will attend
Brian Moriarty never thought about becoming a doctor until a horrific, almost fatal, accident caused the experienced skydiver to hit the ground at 30 mph, shattering his bones, breaking ribs and collapsing both lungs.
A five-week medically induced coma, six months in the hospital and inpatient rehabilitation and more than three years of physical therapy changed his plans.
“A near death experience forces you to reevaluate your purpose and determine what you were put on this earth to do,” said Moriarty, 35, who will graduate in May from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS). He earned a MD/MBA dual degree with Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick. “The way I like to look at it, I received all of this compassion for so long that it is now my duty to give back.”
Moriarty, a recipient of the Gold Humanism award for leadership, compassion and dedication, gives back by volunteering as a trauma support peer provider for patients being treated for critical injuries at University Hospital in Newark, where he did his rotation during medical school, and West Chester Medical Center, where he was cared for after his accident.
“I feel like I have incredible insight that not many physicians and surgeons have, because luckily for them they haven’t been on the other side of it,” said Moriarty who has worked as a paramedic for 15 years. “Doing all of this comes with a lot of emotion and it feels so right.”
Moriarty was among thousands of medical school students throughout the country, at NJMS in Newark and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) in New Brunswick, who participated in Match Day events, the annual ritual when medical students across the country simultaneously open envelopes telling them which residency programs they applied to accepted them.
At RWJMS, 96 percent of the 161 graduating seniors who participated matched to a program of their choice, compared to the national average of 94 percent. Forty-two RWJMS students will stay in New Jersey to do their residencies, 29 of whom will train at either NJMS or RWJMS. Others will do their residencies at John Hopkins, Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian-Columbia University and other prestigious hospitals.
At NJMS, 96 percent of the 170 graduating students matched, with 44 of 51 students staying in New Jersey and doing residencies at either NJMS or RWJMS. Others will complete their residencies at UC Davis Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Duke University Hospital, Stanford Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as other prominent hospitals.
A near-death experience forces you to reevaluate your purpose and determine what you were put on this earth to do.
The group of Rutgers medical school students also includes Taylor Corsi, 27, an honor student who was also recognized for her leadership, compassion and dedication with the Gold Humanism Award and will graduate from RWJMS.
While Moriarty was inspired by a personal tragedy, Corsi’s inspiration came from her mother, a retired nurse, and her sister, a neonatal nurse practitioner. For her, the health care profession has always been a family affair.
“I have always been very outspoken and liked leading a team,” said Corsi, an equestrian since age 3 who worked throughout all four years of medical school rehabbing an injured rescue horse. “My mother and sister thought my years of riding horses, who definitely have minds of their own, and my personality would allow me to stay cool under pressure, which will help me as a doctor.”
During her second year of medical school Corsi, who received undergraduate degrees in neuroscience and women and gender studies, wanted to continue her mission to advocate for victims of interpersonal violence and helped launch an elective course “Responding to Interpersonal Violence."
“It is an important issue for all health care workers to be aware of and I wanted to offer formal opportunities for growing knowledge in this area,” Corsi said.
Both Moriarty and Corsi plan to become surgeons. He wants to help fix those with broken bones as an orthopedic surgeon while she plans on becoming an oncology surgeon. At Match Day ceremonies, Moriarty learned he would be doing his residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, while Corsi will complete her residency at Yale University and its hospital system in Connecticut.
“I am so thrilled - my program director FaceTimed me after the match and it was the best feeling to know the program is equally as excited,” said Corsi, who was celebrating the news with her family.
Moriarty, who was celebrating the news with paramedic colleagues, said Baylor was a top choice because he had done a rotation there during medical school and worked with incredible clinicians.
“I’m excited for this next chapter in my journey and the patients I’ll care for along the way,” he said.
I am so thrilled – my program director FaceTimed me after the match and it was the best feeling to know the program is equally as excited.
The students at this year’s Match Day started medical school the semester before COVID-19 changed how medical education was taught. Although they were just starting out, they watched telemedicine become the norm and saw medical schools across the country switch to remote learning.
Amy Murtha, dean at RWJMS, congratulated the students for their hard work and dedication, telling them they “represent the very best of our medical school mission, values and vision.”
“The entire medical school community is celebrating today. Match Day is the culmination of years of hard work and effort by our graduating students and a day of joy for their families and loved ones” Murtha said. “Their strong residency matches set our students on a path to lives of service to patients, important clinical research and contribution to society.”
NJMS Dean Robert L. Johnson also celebrated the future physicians, praised their accomplishments and thanked them for their commitment and dedication.
“We are exceedingly proud of all of our students who matched today into top residency positions throughout the country, and into our own programs at New Jersey Medical School,” he said. “Each year our match rate meets or exceeds the national average, which is a testament to the high-quality education they receive here. This is no exception.”