Matthew Frederickson and Ashley DurantPhotos Provided

Matthew Frederickson (pictured left) was recently matched with the residency program in Orthopedic Surgery at UC Davis-Sacramento. Ashley Durant (pictured right) was recently matched with the residency program in Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University.

Choctaws featured in Forbes article

By Christian Chaney
May 1, 2023

Forbes published an article in mid-March spotlighting Native Resident-Physicians titled “A Match Made Indigenous: Celebrating Incoming Native Resident-Physicians.”

Read the Forbes article here.

Featured in the article were two Choctaws, Matthew Frederickson and Ashley Durant. Both are Career Development clients and proudly model their Native culture.

Matthew Frederickson is completing medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He matched with UC Davis-Sacramento Orthopedic Surgery in Sacramento, Calif., where he will spend the next six years.

“This is a very special landing spot for me because I was born in Sacramento while my parents were both medical students at UC Davis,” Frederickson said. “So, this feels very full circle. I’m excited to go back home and be near my family during a rigorous surgical training.”

Frederickson began working with Choctaw Nation’s Career Development program during medical school.

The program’s efforts made school more affordable and less stressful for Frederikson.

“I really appreciate their support, especially from BJ Albright, who helped me and other Choctaw students tremendously,” he said.

Ashley Durant, an Oklahoma native, is finishing her last semester at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.

She matched with Northwestern University’s Emergency Medicine Residency.

Before deciding to attend medical school, Ashley was an ICU dietician.

She says meaningful access to equitable healthcare is her passion, ultimately leading her to choose Emergency Medicine as her specialty.

Durant utilized Choctaw Nation’s Career Development to help make her dream a reality.

“BJ Albright and the entire team in the career development program have been amazingly supportive during my medical school journey. First of all, medical school is so incredibly demanding of students that we are really unable to have jobs, even part-time, for the entire four years. There are also many expenses outside of tuition and textbooks that students are expected to purchase out of pocket, including online resources, exam preparation courses, question banks and board exams,” said Durant.

According to Durant, not only did the support from Career Development and Higher Education help her reduce the overall cost of student loans to pay for tuition, but she could also submit some extra expenses like board exams and even her medical license.

“I am moving across the country to begin my residency in a few months. Since I have not been able to earn an income in the last four years, having board exams and medical licenses paid for by the tribe gives me more money to put towards moving,” Durant said.

She plans to spend her career advocating nationally and with medical organizations to increase access to patients across all specialties and represent the Choctaw Nation as a healer and a teacher.

Learn more about Choctaw Nation’s Career Development program.

Editor’s Note
Also included in the Forbes article was Chris Rufus Sweeney. Sweeney, originally from Ada, Oklahoma, attended Brigham Young University for his undergraduate degree and participated in the Native American Research Internship at the University of Utah, culminating in a Science Magazine publication.

Later, as a medical student at the University of Wisconsin, Sweeney had the honor of serving with and being served by the Native American Center for Health Professions, helping to recruit and retain Indigenous students in health professions.

“Matching means I worked hard, yes, and it means that my family (including my Native family) worked extra hard to clear the ice and snow (metaphorically and, at times, literally) from my path so that I didn’t slip and fall,” said Sweeney in the Forbes article. “I am deeply grateful that I matched in Utah, where I will join a program that is uniquely driven to close mental health disparities in underrepresented minority populations.”