Newswise – EL PASO, Texas – Waiting was the hardest part for the 114 students in the Class of 2024 at Foster School of Medicine.

On National Residency Match Day, Friday, March 15, students opened their envelopes promptly at 10 a.m. to find out where they will spend the next phase of their medical training.

Of the 114 Foster School of Medicine students who accepted Friday, 10 have found residency in El Paso. Of those matched in El Paso, nine found a match at Texas Tech Health El Paso and one found a match at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.

Game Day is an exciting milestone for medical students and their families across the country. This comes after students have spent the last six months applying for residencies, conducting interviews, and deciding on the order in which they will evaluate the programs they would like to join.

Family members, friends and members of the University President’s Development Council, who have provided significant support to these students throughout their academic careers, were also present at the Match Day ceremony held in the auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building II on campus.

Alyssa Downey, who completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso and is a graduate of the Silva Health Magnet School across from Foster School of Medicine, expressed her deep gratitude upon discovering her fit with the emergency medicine residency program in Texas Tech Health El Paso.

“I’m staying here for my residency because my whole family is here,” she said. “I have a huge support system that is important for your residency.”

For Downey, medical school’s proximity to her high school meant finding role models to follow.

“It meant a lot to me to have doctors who looked like me across the street,” Downey said. “It was critical to have a medical school here in our Borderplex to learn how to care for patients and what is important at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Her desire to continue to serve the local community underscores the profound impact of her upbringing and training in our Borderplex. Downey’s journey embodies the transformative power of perseverance and the fulfillment that comes from pursuing unexpected dreams.

“I’m just so grateful to be here,” she said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become an emergency doctor. If you told 12 year old Alyssa I would do that.” “I would have thought you were crazy. It’s such a blessing to be able to do this.”

Texas Tech Health El Paso offers 22 residency and fellowship programs throughout El Paso with openings for more than 300 talented medical residents from our borderplex and across the country. Approximately 10% of Foster School of Medicine graduates attend Texas Tech Health El Paso each year, consistent with the university’s mission to develop our own future generation of physicians. Residency programs currently offered include emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, gynecology, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology, surgery, orthopedic surgery and pathology.

The Class of 2024 began their medical education journey as the Foster School of Medicine concluded its month-long 10th anniversary celebration in early 2020 at “A Red Tie Affair for a White Coat Occasion,” where every dollar raised by our generous community supported these scholarships. Among those who embarked on this journey in the fall were seven recipients of Foster School of Medicine’s 10-year scholarships, all of whom received their grants on Friday.

El Pasoan Mariah Perkins completed her undergraduate studies at Baylor University and attended Montwood High School. She matched with the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, where she will complete the general surgery residency program.

Perkins described the first year of medical school in 2020 as “pretty tough” as the COVID-19 pandemic changed learning and at the time involved distance learning and not being able to make in-person friendships.

“I think it made us better. It’s made us more resilient,” Perkins said.

Perkins was one of the recipients of the Foster School of Medicine’s 10th Anniversary Scholarship and it had a major impact on her life.

“Receiving this 10th anniversary scholarship really changed things for me,” Perkins said. “It gave me a new perspective; it gave me the motivation to really do my best in school. And it pays off because I’m here at Match.”

She is looking forward to the challenge of the residency.

“I know it will be tiring, but this is something I care deeply about and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Perkins said. “It’s about being there for someone who is in their most vulnerable state.”

Past graduates of the Foster School of Medicine have participated in residency programs at institutions across the country, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, George Washington University, Baylor University, New York University, Mayo Clinic, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Texas Tech Health El Paso’s goal is for students who match these prestigious institutions to bring their expertise back to the Borderplex upon completion of their education.

The Mission of Foster School of Medicine

The Foster School of Medicine was founded to reduce health disparities in our region by training culturally competent physicians. In 2008, before the Foster School of Medicine opened, the average number of physicians per 100,000 residents in El Paso County was 75% below the state average and 37% below the national average. Today, that physician shortage has fallen to 60% nationally and 28% in Texas.

At Foster School of Medicine, medical Spanish is required, which helps students provide culturally competent care during medical school and throughout their careers. It was one of the first medical schools in the United States to integrate medical Spanish into its curriculum.

Foster School of Medicine students gain clinical experience in the first year of the curriculum. This is an unconventional approach at most U.S. medical schools, where students typically begin clinical rotations in the third and fourth years of their medical training.

About Texas Tech Health El Paso

Texas Tech Health El Paso is the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border, serving 108 counties in West Texas that have been historically underserved. It is a designated Title V Hispanic Serving Institution that educates the next generation of healthcare heroes, 48% of whom identify as Hispanic and are often first-generation students.

Founded in 2013 as an independent university, Texas Tech Health El Paso is a proud, diverse and uniquely innovative location for education and research.

With a mission to eliminate barriers to healthcare and create life-changing educational opportunities for borderplex residents, Texas Tech Health El Paso has trained over 2,400 physicians, nurses and researchers over the past decade and will add dentists to its graduate ranks beginning in 2025. For more information, visit

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