HOUSTON – A lot of couples who meet or marry in medical school face a challenge when it comes to continuing their training with a residency program.
It's become such a dilemma over the years that the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) uses a different algorithm for couples, trying to help them achieve their dreams of being a doctor and having a partner.
"When applicants participate in an NRMP Match as a couple, their rank order lists form pairs of program choices that are considered by the matching algorithm. A couple will match to the most preferred pair of programs on their rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position," the organization said.
Students across the country, around the world and here in the Texas Medical Center found out their fate at the same time on Friday -- Match Day -- when they opened envelopes with their acceptance letter.
For couples like Jay Karri and Alexandra Grand, who have dreamed of becoming doctors and worked hard to finish medical school, they now have to think about their future as a couple.
"You're sort of prioritizing being together over the program that you get," Karri said.
"Most of the time we have talked with them at length to prepare them so that they are making their best choices," Stephen Jones, UT Health office of admissions, said. "They do have the opportunity to reach out to the program directors to say, 'You know I'm really interested in your program and my partner's also really interested.'"
That does not guarantee they end up in the same city or state. In some cases, students have been known delay their dreams to follow love.
"Worst-case scenario, we'll just take a year off," Karri said.
However, as he opened his envelope Friday, taking a year off was out of the question.
"It was a risky choice but we're happy because right now we both got great programs and we're in the same city. So it worked out well in the end," Karri said.
Baylor College of Medicine accepted both of them as resident physicians.
"That's all we wanted, really, was just to stay together," Grand said. "I didn't know what to expect when I was opening it so I'm glad it was just something great."
"Just excited to start residency and... next stages of our relationship and see what the future holds," Karri said.
Maybe the St. Patrick's Day luck helped all the couples on this Match Day.
"I believe that we had eight couples going through the match this year and all eight couples did match, so that's very exciting," Jones said.
Not only will Karri and Grand stay in Houston to finish their training, but they're both from Texas so their families are happy as well.