December 18, 2013
Each year hundreds of medical students enter the National Residency Match Program with the hopes of landing in the same specialty, program type, or location as their partner or spouse. The NRMPS’s Registration, Ranking, and Results® (R3®) system allows couples to form pairs of program choices on their rank order lists that are considered in rank order when the matching algorithm is processed. A record 935 couples entered the Match in 2013.
For Drs. Lisa and Nicholas Batson (’08), succeeding in the couples match was just the first step in becoming partners in practice. After meeting during an anatomy class almost ten years ago, they have been side by side ever since: through completion of medical school, residency, fellowship, and now as the co-leaders of the new psychiatry division at Crystal Run Healthcare, a multispecialty group practice in Middletown, New York.
In 2008, the Batsons were one of over 700 couples that entered the Match. They secured residency appointments in psychiatry at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Later they completed fellows in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. They then joined Crystal Run in August 2013.
Lisa was exposed to the medical field at an early age. “I was encouraged by several of the doctors that I or my family came in contact with,” she said. She heard about American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) from a family friend whose daughter was an AUC alumna and Board-certified pediatrician. Having researched AUC in-depth, Lisa says, “I knew that was where I wanted to attend.”
For Nicholas, the prospect of traveling abroad to attend medical school was appealing, but he knew he wanted to eventually practice in the United States. “The fact that obtaining my medical degree from AUC would allow me to return to the states and be licensed to practice was a key determining factor,” he said.
Both Batsons touted the vibrant student life and community atmosphere at AUC. Lisa, who grew up in a small town in the Hudson Valley in New York, said, “I felt that the close knit community at AUC would be the best learning environment for me.” Nicholas, who served as president of Chi Phi, the community service fraternity on the AUC campus, said, “AUC offers many opportunities for leadership roles and community service oriented activities.”
The Batsons say their education at AUC prepared them to succeed. “AUC provided all of the resources needed, including preparatory courses, to be successful on the USMLE Step 1 exam,” said Nicholas.
Both completed clinical rotations at multiple sites in the U.S., experiencing medicine in different contexts. Lisa stated it “prepared us to be flexible and independent. At the time it was stressful, but at the end of it, I was prepared for residency and beyond. Going into the match process, we felt we were competitive candidates for residency and on par with U.S. medical school graduates.”
Today the Batsons are committed to providing relief from physical and mental suffering and are dedicated to working with therapists and other medical providers to care for patients at Crystal Run. Having gone through residency and fellowship training together, and now at the head of a new psychiatry practice, Nicholas and Lisa Batson are still drawing from the lessons they learned at AUC.
“The time spent in St. Maarten grounded us and made me realize what was truly important. I was appreciative of more in life and it carries over into how I interact with my patients today,” said Lisa.