Just like the much-anticipated match day that medical students across the nation face in mid-March, future military physicians await their matches with the same anticipation and anxiety.
The news for the hundreds of military physicians in training comes in December when a military medical board sends match determinations based on the specialties candidates have requested and the military’s future needs.
For Kenneth Sims IV, the news was all good. The fourth-year EnMed student – a proud U.S. Army lieutenant and West Point graduate – received a personal phone call from the program director and one-paragraph email that informed him he’d gotten what he wanted: Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Only half of those who requested the specialty were selected for the specialty.
“It’s a huge honor for me to be able to pursue the field that I really wanted,” the Lafayette, Louisiana native said. “I sought a lot of advice from physicians about a field that would fit my personality and skills. And, I’m truly excited to take the valuable knowledge I’ve obtained at EnMed and put them to work as I strive to fulfill my goal of becoming an ENT surgeon.”
The site chosen for five-years of training isn’t bad, either. He will do his residency at the much-sought-after Tripler Army Medical Center, located on the slopes of Moanalua Ridge overlooking some of Honolulu, Hawaii’s most scenic neighborhoods and vistas.
“I know I’ll be so busy that it won’t be like I’ll have lots of time to enjoy the beaches,” he said of working at the massive medical complex. “But at least I can enjoy the views.”
Sims, who will serve with the rank of captain, believes that completing his arduous engineering degree and M.D. at EnMed was made easier by the rigorous curriculum he pursued at West Point. There, he earned a mechanical engineering degree while rising through the ranks to earn the distinction of serving as a battalion commander who led other cadets.
West Point also allowed him to do his required undergraduate research into ways to devise better protective equipment for soldiers using principles of biomechanics and materials science. He completed student research internships at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Cambridge, MA.
Sims has followed family members by serving in the military, including one of his grandfathers who served as an Army medic during the Vietnam War. “I value that legacy, and I am proud to wear the uniform of my country,” he said. “I know it’s a way for me to serve the nation and those who defend our country.”
Sims is the son of Ken and Brooke Sims. He is a graduate of Lafayette High School.