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I came to Penn Med with the vision of becoming a pediatrician. In my first years here I spent many afternoons in West Philly working with adolescents as a mentor and educator. As I became acculturated to the practice of medicine on the wards and in the clinics I was forced to re concile my new role in the community. In my later years I spent many days serving those adolescents as a medical provider and strived to develop my ability to serve as their advocate. I also grew fond of working closely with families facing the challenges of life-limiting pediatric diseases and became committed to serving as the doctor of multidisciplinary care teams.

This past year I interviewed with several pediatric residency programs up and down the East Coast, seeking to balance my professional and personal life. If I successfully matched in Philly or New York, my fiancée would be able to keep her current job and I would be within a short plane trip to my family in Maine. I found programs committed to public service and driven by research to suit my career aspirations best and eventually settled on my rank order list. Over the several weeks since that rank list was submitted I have fretted over where I might end up and how I might sink or swim there. I tried to reflect on my overall goal in this pursuit, to become a competent, caring pediatrician, but the uncertainty of Match Day continually threatens to obscure that vision.

As I speak with family and friends outside of medicine I am reminded of how fortunate I am as a medical student.  Despite the anxiety of matching to my new house I have solid job security in a rewarding and exciting profession. Our recent economic woes have not spared lawyers or financiers and the pressures have multiplied on down the socioeconomic scale. I try to remind myself that my choice of residency is an additional privilege; regardless of the outcome on Match Day I will have the opportunity to serve my new community as a doctor.

 

 
Joe Picoraro

This report was written by Joseph Picoraro, a Penn medical student, during the week of Match Day 2010. During medical school Joe co-founded Health Education through Adolescent Leadership. For this work building a broad network of health education and youth development programs for at-risk youth at Covenant House Philadelphia and Sayre High School, he received the Public Allies Changemaker Award. Joe returned to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp during the summer after his first year to serve as the behavioral coordinator, strengthening his understanding of the holistic care of seriously ill children. He rounded out these service activities by completing clinical rotations at Sayre, Covenant House and Hole in the Wall, gaining valuable perspective on the comprehensive care delivered in each setting. He is currently researching the traumatic stress of families caused by pediatric disease. He is matching in Pediatrics.

 

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