In a gathering filled with anticipation, excitement and certainly a bit of St. Patrick's Day good luck, ninety-two UC Davis School of Medicine students opened their Match Day letters of placement at 9 a.m. on March 17, 2011.
Being "matched" to a medical residency training program is an annual event each March that takes place simultaneously at medical schools across the nation. It is on this day that students find out where they will continue their medical education over the next several years as they train to become licensed physicians.
The students, who will finish medical school in June, celebrated the news with family, friends, medical school leaders and staff at a special ceremony held at UC Davis. The placements are based on the computerized results of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which uses a computer algorithm to match the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs at teaching hospitals throughout the country.
From UC Davis, the majority of students (approximately 70 percent) will remain in California for training, with about 21 percent staying within the UC Davis Health System in Sacramento. Nearly 50 percent of the students chose residencies in primary care, which includes family practice, general pediatrics and internal medicine. About 16 percent of the graduating class picked advanced subspecialty programs such as anesthesiology, emergency medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. Other coveted specialty programs included psychiatry and general surgery.
"We're pleased with this year's Match Day on a couple of fronts," said Mark Servis, associate dean for curriculum and competency. "First, is the high percentage of students who will be staying here in California, because one of the missions of UC Davis School of Medicine is to meet the health-care needs of our state. To have students training here for their graduate medical education is a very good marker of the likelihood that they will continue to serve the state when they go out into practice."
The other Match Day highlight for school leaders was the fact that nearly half of UC Davis medical students chose primary care for their residency training, which is crucial given that the nationwide demand for primary-care physicians is high and expected to continue to increase.
This year, more than 16,000 U.S. medical school students participated in the residency match. In addition, thousands of "independent" applicants, including former graduates of U.S. medical schools, U.S. osteopathic students and graduates of foreign medical schools, sought matches for the approximately 26,000 available residency positions around the country.
"This probably the most anxiety-driven day ever," said Brian Kurose, who is excited to be returning to his native Los Angeles for a residency in family medicine. "But in about one second it turned into the best day of my life. I'm going to cry, I'm going to laugh. There are so many emotions today."
A unique aspect of Match Day is that student can enter as a couple to ensure they both continue their medical training within the same geographic area. Nationally, more than 700 couples matched to nearby programs, including James Becker and Shannon Chin.
"We're really excited to be staying close to home and close to family," said Chin, who is from the San Joaquin Valley town of Modesto and matched in family medicine with Sutter Health in Sacramento. "It was one of our top choices."
The Match is considered a key milestone in the careers of aspiring physicians. It takes place on the same day every year at medical schools around the country. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), designed to keep the match fair and objective, pairs the wishes of the students with the needs of hospitals' residency programs. The NRMP is a private, not-for-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions in graduate medical education. To participate in Match Day, students submit applications and take part in on-site interviews with hospitals before creating a ranked list of their top choices. Hospitals provide a similar list indicating openings, preferred students, and specialty or generalist preferences.
The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its specialty- and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For further information, visit the UC Davis School of Medicine web site at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/medschool/