Solmaz Karimi’s heart was racing. Her hand tremored as she held her phone. Four years of anticipation had led to this moment — and she was one tap away from learning her fate in the pharmacy residency match.
“When I opened the email, I still couldn’t look at it,” said Karimi, a fourth-year University of Florida College of Pharmacy student. “I pointed my phone toward the ceiling and slowly tilted it toward my eyes.”
What she saw next brought a wave of emotion. In blue text were the words, “Congratulations, you have matched!” As her eyes began to water, she scrolled further; she had matched with Duke University Hospital in North Carolina.
“I was shocked, excited and honored all at the same time,” Karimi said. “I had been preparing for residency since day one of pharmacy school, and it was hard to process the magnitude of the moment.”
Similar scenes of excitement and joy were experienced across the UF College of Pharmacy this spring, as 149 fourth-year students and graduates learned the location of their residency training program. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, or ASHP, the UF College of Pharmacy matched the second most pharmacy students into residencies this year among the nation’s pharmacy colleges.
The ASHP match program pairs thousands of student pharmacists across the country with hospitals and community pharmacies. More than 5,500 postgraduate year one, or PGY1, and postgraduate year two, or PGY2, residency positions were available this year. UF’s residency matches included 101 PGY1 and 48 PGY2 placements in 22 states across the nation.
“Residencies are highly competitive and the pandemic added new challenges with a virtual interview and selection process,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor in the UF College of Pharmacy. “UF pharmacy students and graduates have stepped up immensely the past year to support our nation’s health care needs, and these experiences will only make them stronger as they embark on this new chapter of their professional careers. We are thrilled so many Gator pharmacists will have the opportunity to advance their training in residency programs.”
Pharmacy residencies have grown in popularity among graduates in recent years, because they build upon a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and provide advanced pharmacy practice training. Candidates typically spend the months of January and February traveling the country interviewing with programs, but the pandemic shifted everything online this year.
Jason Acevedo, a fourth-year student at the Jacksonville campus, interviewed with more than a dozen programs. Like many of his peers, he relied upon his education and training at UF to impress residency program directors. Acevedo diversified his resume by working at a community pharmacy and held several leadership position in student organizations – including president of the Kappa Epsilon fraternity and treasurer of Phi Lambda Sigma.
“Residency became a goal of mine early in pharmacy school, and I worked hard to make myself a good candidate,” Acevedo said. “It was such as huge relief to open the email and see that I matched with St. Vincent’s Healthcare in Jacksonville.”
Acevedo and Karimi credit UF College of Pharmacy faculty for guiding them through the match process. They said faculty were always available to answer questions and offer advice. In addition, the connections UF faculty have with alumni and colleagues throughout the state and nation really benefitted residency candidates.
“UF pharmacy graduates have done so well in the profession that they have really lifted the reputation of the college” Karimi said. “Now it’s our turn, as future residents, to maintain those high standards and carry on the tradition of excellence.”
UF College of Pharmacy Residency Matches by Year
2021 – 149
2020 – 145
2019 – 135
2018 – 130
2017 – 133
2016 – 124