Couple’s Match Q and A with Dr. Minella Lentini MD

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Q and A with Dr. Minella Lentini MD

Q) So it has come to our attention that you were lucky enough to get sun-dipped during residency….you did your peds residency out in Arizona yes?

A. Yup! 

Q)  And you participated in a couples match? How did you and your husband choose Phoenix? Was it your top choice? 

A. Yes, I met my husband in medical school and after three years of dating we decided to take the jump and participate in the couple’s match. My now husband and I decided to apply to residency programs all over the country…we had spent our entire lives in the northeast and knew this was our chance to move somewhere exciting for the time being before starting a family. We interviewed at places where we both received interview spots. We fell in love with Phoenix during our interviews and especially after taking a week-long vacation up to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon. It was our second choice, but honestly we felt relieved because our first choices were an hour apart from each other (not including the time spent in horrific traffic in that city). In Phoenix, our programs were five minutes away from each other. 

Q) So tell us a little about the couple’s matching process? Did you find it stressful? Or maybe it was easier to go through that process with a partner? Give us some of the pro’s and con’s?

A) Cons:

-The matching process was definitely more expensive since we flew out to double the interviews we would have gone on otherwise. 

-At times it was hard to turn down interviews if the other person didn’t get an interview.

-Making our list together required a lot of discussion, so be prepared!


-It was exciting to explore new places with my significant other and imagine our future there together

-Thankfully our top choices really coincided with each others’ choices, which made life so much easier

-Residency programs really like the fact that you’re couples matching and may even offer you an interview if you didn’t get one initially

Q) So it sounds like you had pretty amazing training during your residency? What advice would you have for medical students who are going through that process? Were there certain things that you prioritized that may have helped you pick a program that was such a good fit for you?

A) My advice is to keep an open mind during the interview process–you’ll quickly find out what is important to you. Make sure you talk with as many residents as you can to find out what they like and dislike about the program, and if you would fit in with their personalities. Make sure they have a good work/life balance, and that the graduating residents feel ready to practice independently. Also make sure you can see yourself enjoying the location you land in! We loved being able to drive 5 minutes to hike Camelback and other surrounding mountains every week.

After my interviews, I realized that I wanted a program where my training was split between a large children’s hospital and a small county hospital. I wanted to experience the large volume and interesting cases found in a children’s hospital, especially in a place with a large catchment area (e.g. in Phoenix, we’d have patients come in from all over AZ, NM, and even CO). I got to see incredibly rare diseases as a consequence. 

I also wanted to care for the underserved population and see the challenges on the other side of medicine, so my time at the county hospital was well spent. 

Q) But you decided not to stay? You’ve moved back to the Northeast. As a golfer myself, and someone who’s lived in cold weather my entire adult life. That makes me a bit sad—but alas, I digress. Were you offered a job at the place you trained?

  1. We decided not to apply to any places in Phoenix. We wanted to have children in the next year or two, and wanted to be around family and friends when that happened. I came back to NY for a few interviews and landed in a pediatric practice that I love!

Q) Were there any idiosyncrasies to practicing pediatrics in the Southwest? For example, do kids get allergies out in the desert? Are there as many asthmatics? Teach us something about Pediatric Medicine in the Southwest….Did you have many snake bite victims? Pediatrics in the Southwest was pretty interesting! I didn’t see any snake bite victims personally, but I saw more than a few scorpion bites, burns (which you can get just from falling on the sidewalk in the 120 degree weather!), cases of cocci (also known as Valley fever), and parasite infections like neurocysticercosis. I was very surprised that people get allergies and asthma in Arizona, and I actually started to develop seasonal allergies down there! It may have something to do with the sand/dust in the desert–we had quite a few dust storms (also known as haboobs) where you could not see a foot in front of you. We also learned quite a bit about the different problems plaguing the migrant and Native American populations that are not as prevalent up North. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I got to spend those 3 years in Arizona!

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