Throughout her time in medical school, Rana Torabi’s siblings have been her support system.
The three Torabis, who hail from Chesterton, Indiana, have stood shoulder to shoulder, sharing the experience of attending medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine–Northwest-Gary one right after the other.
Asad Torabiand Sara Torabi, Rana’s older brother and sister, graduated with their medical degrees in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Rana Torabi will join them soon, a member of the Class of 2019.
But her education isn’t over just yet. Torabi, who has chosen ophthalmology as her specialty, will begin her residency studies later this year. On Match Day 2019, she and other medical students from across the country will find out where they’ll be continuing their training.
Torabi already knows, however, that the majority of her residency will be spent in her Hoosier home. In January—with her ever-supportive siblings by her side—Torabi learned she’d be joining the IU School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology.
The program’s residents begin studying in Indianapolis during their second year of training. Torabi and her five future co-residents will join the department in July 2020. Friday, March 15, they’ll learn where they’ll be spending their first year of study.
Name: Rana Soraya Torabi Hometown: Chesterton, Indiana Specialty: Ophthalmology Residency match location (starting PGY2 in 2020): Indiana University School of Medicine—Indianapolis
What is your reaction to your match? I’ve never been happier! Matching at IU School of Medicine—Indianapolis feels like a dream come true. I think I will always remember that Thursday morning on Match Day as I frantically paced back and forth in front of my laptop awaiting the news.
At first, I actually thought I was dreaming, even as my brother hugged me and my parents cried tears of joy over the phone. It wasn’t until I received a phone call from Louis Cantor, MD, and later a letter from Charline Boente, MD, MS, welcoming me into the IU family that I finally let out a breath that I had been holding all year long.
What moment—or experiences—led you to choose this specialty?
Choosing ophthalmology was a bit of a surprise for me. I originally applied to medical school thinking I wanted to be a pediatrician. Early in my third-year clerkships, I discovered an unexpected love for surgery. I was entranced by a surgeon’s ability to transform someone’s life over the span of just a few hours.
Ophthalmology in particular called to me thanks to the guidance of Dr. David Gross in Northwest Indiana. Over my holidays and days off, I would come to his office and observe his practice. I loved the advanced technology he used and delicate procedures he performed on a day-to-day basis. I was entranced by the constant new advances coming out in the field that were truly vision-saving.
But most of all, it was watching his interactions with patients that led me to choose this specialty. In ophthalmology, you are able to help patients of all ages and ethnicities and form a strong relationship with them over the years. The continuity of care that exists between an ophthalmologist and her patient is one of the main reasons I chose this surgical subspecialty. I love that I get to help with yearly check-ups and annual screenings—plus, if any acute surgical issues arise, then I would have the capability of helping them in that regard, too.
For me ophthalmology has everything I love all wrapped up into one incredible specialty.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m excited to begin working with the IU School of Medicine—Indianapolis faculty and learning which niche of ophthalmology will best suit me. I’m looking forward to forming good bonds with the staff and also my future co-residents. I hope that they too will view me as a good friend and ally that they can count on in the years to come.
What aspects of your education do you think best prepared you for what lies ahead?
I was a regional student at the Northwest branch of IU School of Medicine where I received a strong foundation from Day 1 thanks to the great administration led by the guidance of Associate Dean, Dr. Pat Bankston. In particular, I really enjoyed doing most of my clerkships in “the region” as I received a lot of autonomy.It was through these experiences I learned the keys to medical practice and decision-making under the guidance of my attending physicians. I feel confident that this strong background will serve me well as I enter residency, especially knowing that I’ll have excellent mentors to reach out to when needed.
Was there a specific faculty member or mentor who really helped you along the way?
This is a hard question for me. I’m very lucky that my life has been touched by so many excellent mentors.
Originally, it all started with Dr. Brian Kennedy with his kind demeanor and the research we did together on RPE cells in human eyeballs at IU School of Medicine–Northwest-Gary.
Of course, each interaction with the IU School of Medicine staff, regardless of the timespan, was memorable and of high quality.
But among them, Dr. Cantor and Chi W. Yung, MD were truly influential. I met these gentlemen just eight months before my application was due, during a time where I had very limited knowledge on the ophthalmology match. Dr. Yung provided me with great, practical advice while Dr. Cantor helped to further solidify my passion for ophthalmology and advised me on my application.
I also need to take a moment and acknowledge Alon Harris, PhD,and his partner in crime, Brent A. Siesky, PhD. These men are research tycoons and quickly helped me feel like I was part of their team. They both actively took on the role as my mentor and helped me feel at ease about the stresses of interview season. I can go on and on about all of these individuals and more.
At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be standing here without the help and support of IU School of Medicine and all the other amazing mentors I met along the way. I’m so grateful to all of them. It’s thanks to them that I can smile and finally say, yes, I matched.
Match Day is Friday, March 15. Follow us on Facebook for a live stream of the event, starting at 11:30 am EDT, and share your photos and experiences using the hashtags #MatchDay and #IUSM2019.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications ...