Twin Sisters Preparing for Military Medical Careers After Graduation

May 6, 2024 | Graduate News, News, UToday, Alumni, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Tyrel Linkhorn

Throughout athletics, high school, their undergraduate studies and medical school at The University of Toledo, twin sisters Lyndsey Matus and Alex Best have been side by side, serving as each other’s strongest supporter.

As the sisters approach graduation and the beginning of their post-graduate training, that close bond will continue, with both sisters earning family medicine residency placements at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Graduation Cap

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“It’s been amazing, and it may sound cliché, but she literally is a built-in best friend for me. When we were thinking about residencies and where we were going to go, we thought for a split second we might end up somewhere different, but our rank list looked really similar and we’re staying together,” Matus said. “I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Getting into medical school was a longtime goal for both sisters, a desire that was heavily influenced by their mother, Dr. Coral Matus, family medicine specialist and associate professor and associate dean for clinical undergraduate medical education in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

In their early days, the sisters would talk to her about her day and try to guess the sex of any new babies their mother helped deliver. As they grew older — and learned enough conversational Spanish — they were able to witness her work firsthand, joining her on a mission trip to Guatemala.

“We got to be up close and personal to what the life of a physician looks like from the time we were born,” Best said. “The coolest thing for me now is hearing other faculty members or our mom’s patients talk about how much of a difference she makes in their lives. We think the world of her and it’s awesome to see patients think the world of her as well.”

Lyndsey Matus

Lyndsey Matus

The sisters’ path to their own careers in medicine started at Wayne State University in Detroit, where Matus and Best both studied biology and played basketball.

When it came time to apply for medical schools, they sent applications to universities across Ohio and Michigan.

Recognizing how difficult admission to medical school is, Best said staying together wasn’t the top goal, but they were both accepted to UToledo and chose to attend together.

“We weren’t totally expecting to be back in Toledo for medical school but it’s been such a blessing to be with our family and friends here,” Best said. “All through high school and college we would study together and that continued in medical school. It’s been fun to go on this journey together.”

For Coral Matus, who has been with the University for nearly eight years, seeing her daughters remain so close and follow in her own footsteps has been special.

“Growing up I knew they had an interest in medicine, but I always encouraged them to do what made them happy. I am so proud of them as people, but beyond excited that they will be my colleagues in family medicine as well,” she said. “They embody compassion, selflessness and excellence. That makes me proud as a mom and as an educator. I know they will represent the College of Medicine and Life Sciences very well going forward.”

Coming out of Wayne State, Lyndsey Matus was sworn into the Health Professions Scholarship Program for U.S. Air Force, committing to four years of active-duty service after medical school in return for the Air Force covering her tuition. Best followed her shortly thereafter.

Alex Best

Alex Best

“We didn’t really know about the program until our junior year of college, but once we heard about it, we jumped into it,” Best said. “We have a couple of family members who have been in the Air Force, so there’s a military tradition and we feel blessed to serve our country.”

Both women are currently commissioned as second lieutenants and will earn a promotion to captain after graduation. They also will each be in the Operational Graduate Medicine Education program, which includes additional training beyond the core of family medicine to prepare them to become flight surgeons.

Dr. Thomas Sodeman, a professor of medicine and assistant dean for student affairs in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences who served nearly 30 years in the Army Reserve and Air National Guard, met Best and Matus early in their medical school careers.

He said being a military physician brings unique opportunities, and he believes both Matus and Best are well-suited to taking those jobs and running with them.

“There’s really no way to separate the two. They’re both really good. The best accolade I could give them is I would go to war with them,” Sodeman said. “They’re going to be really good doctors, they’re going into being flight surgeons like I was, and I think they’ve got a really bright future in the Air Force and eventually when they get out in the civilian world too.”

As they prepare to make the move from Toledo to Las Vegas, both sisters say they’re grateful for the time they had here in medical school — both for the ability to be with family and the educational opportunities they received.

“It’s been a great experience. The education has been excellent and the clinical rotations at UTMC, Toledo Hospital and the surrounding community has provided a lot of variety,” Matus said. “UToledo is definitely top notch and gets you prepared for residency.”


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