Skip to main content
UC Davis School of Medicine

UC Davis School of Medicine

FEATURE | Posted March 23, 2016

Med students match up well as future physicians

Match Day 2016 at UC Davis School of Medicine

The old adage that “timing is everything” is especially true at schools of medicine on a specific day in the month of March. That’s when medical students across the country simultaneously find out where they will be spending the next few years for their medical residency training.

The event is known as Match Day. It is an annual rite of passage involving thousands of medical students at schools around the country.

One hundred and eight UC Davis medical students, most of whom will graduate in June, opened their “Match” envelopes at exactly 9 in the morning, California time, and discovered their residency placements. Joining them in the joyful event were family, friends, School of Medicine leaders, faculty and staff.

It was all part of the special festivities in Sacramento, activities that are echoed by medical schools across the nation each year. For many students, the event carries almost more significance than commencement.

“Match Day is a day that I dreamed about, nightmares included, for years, and will never forget,” said Nancy Wang, co-president of the Class of 2016. “It represents years of sleepless nights, board exams and clinical rotations, reminding us of all the support of friends and family who helped us get here.

“It's an emotional day since so much rides on the institution written in the envelope,” added Wang, who grew up in the Bay Area town of Fremont. “As I opened the letter, my hands shook with nervous anticipation and I struggled to wrench the letter free without tearing it. When I saw I would be joining UC San Francisco’s otolaryngology [department], I realized I was going to my top [Match Day] choice. More importantly, my family and friends will be close by for the next five years of my training. I cried tears of joy for the first time on Match Day.”

In Match Day ceremonies, seniors at allopathic medical schools across the country learn the locations of the programs in which they will train for the next three to seven years. Accredited residency training programs educate medical students in particular medical specialties ranging from anesthesiology to urology.

Video: UC Davis School of Medicine Match Day 2016

This year, UC Davis students were among the more than 18,000 U.S. medical students who applied for residency positions at U.S. teaching hospitals and clinics through the National Residency Match Program (NRMP). A computer algorithm matched the preferences of each applicant with the preferences of residency programs at each teaching site.

Most students will train in California

A majority of UC Davis medical students (approximately 75 percent) are staying in California for their residency training, with 25 percent of the class remaining very close to their medical education home after finding that they matched at UC Davis Medical Center.

Half (50 percent) of the UC Davis students chose primary-care residencies such as family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine. About 15 percent of their classmates selected advanced subspecialty programs such as anesthesiology, diagnostic radiology, ophthalmology and dermatology.

"We are extremely proud of this year’s Match Day students," said Mark Servis, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and senior associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine. "Nearly a quarter of them are staying here at UC Davis to complete their training, and all of them are going to outstanding residency programs, including several of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country.”

Servis, who as master of ceremonies for the Match Day event, emphasized that the students were the future of medicine, caring individuals with a passion for health care and a desire to make a difference.

“I know they will dedicate themselves to becoming the best physicians for their patients,” added Servis. “As I told them before they opened their envelopes, ‘It’s not where you match that is most important, it’s what you do in caring for your patients and working with others that is the key to your success and the ultimate accomplishment as a physician.’”

Servis’ sentiments also were echoed by the medical students.

“Today means a lot for all of us.” said Andrew Figoni, the other co-president of this year’s graduating class who also is headed to UC San Francisco for a residency in orthopaedic surgery. “It’s four years of hard work, and dreams that started before we even came here for school.”