A Match Made in Med School

Becky and Maya met at the Miller School and now are looking forward to Match Day to find out where their residencies will take them as a couple.

One night toward the end of Maya Lubarsky’s second year at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, after months of studying, she was invited out by fellow medical students for drinks in South Beach. The overall feeling was one of relief: social life was re-emerging after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the USMLE Step 1 board exams were complete.

“Becky was there” recalls Maya, who, at the time, was a year ahead of Rebecca (Becky) Barnett at the Miller School. “She spoke so confidently and had such a fun and joyous energy about her, and I loved it.” As the two talked, Maya decided that she just had to ask her out.

Becky offers an alternative version of their first meeting. The two had actually met once before. “Maya was at my interview day, when I was applying [to the Miller School],” she says. Maya was a tour guide and answering questions at the student luncheon.  “I have a notebook with notes from that day,” says Becky. “And I wrote Maya’s name in it.”

Becky and Maya embrace while working in a garden
Becky (left) and Maya have been exploring South Florida in ways they couldn’t during the pandemic.

Maya, a Florida native, didn’t remember meeting Becky that day. After all, she was busy meeting applicants, answering questions and giving campus tours.

Nonetheless, the two — both of whom are in the Miller School’s dual degree M.D./M.P.H. program — became a couple. Subsequently, Maya decided to dedicate the 2022-2023 school year to conduct research on heath disparities in breast cancer patients with Neha Goel, M.D., associate professor in the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery. Now, both are set to graduate in May, and will find out on Match Day 2024 where they will match as a couple for residencies.

Eyes on Match Day

Maya, who applied to internal medicine programs, hopes to go into oncology. “It’s a great field for research and a robust clinical practice,” says the DREAM program scholar. She hopes to continue to conduct research that addresses health disparities and social determinants of health, focusing on cancer patients. “I see a career at an academic center where I can conduct research, mentor trainees, and follow my patients over the course of their lives. It is so meaningful to be able to work with a patient at one of the most difficult points in their lives, and then continue that relationship.”

Rebecca, a native of New York State and a graduate of Cornell University, applied to OBGYN programs and hopes to specialize in sexual medicine and gender medicine. “I want to help people live a better quality of life,” she says. Both sexual medicine and gender medicine have existed for a long time, she says, “but there is a lack of education on both subjects in medical education, and tremendous opportunity to move the fields forward through research and affirming, inclusive patient care.” She hopes to work with patients with concerns related to sexual function, and gender-expansive individuals seeking an understanding environment and expertise in gender-related care. During her years between undergraduate and medical school, she was part of an HIV and STI prevention team and conducted research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.

Looking to the Future together

While Maya and Becky would prefer to be at the same hospital for their residencies, living in the same city would be great as well.

“We want to be in a place that will be supportive of a couple that looks like us and supports our dreams,” says Becky. “It was a big decision, but one that we’re so excited to move forward with. We could not have done this without our friends and family cheering us on along the way. We’re so grateful for our faculty advisors, and our core research mentors in OBGYN and oncology respectively, for their support.”

Miller School medical students Maya and Becky, walking on the beach at sunset

Tags: Class of 2024, Department of Medical Education, Match Day, Match Day 2024, residency