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Match Day 2020: Fourth year medical students at OUWB hit educational milestone

Fourth-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine received one of the most anticipated emails of their lives today – a message containing details of where they will spend the next three to seven years.

The fourth-year medical students (M4s) joined roughly 40,000 of their peers nationwide in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the annual event that reveals where graduating medical students have been accepted for residency training.

M4s typically are physically handed envelopes to tear open with their colleagues, friends, and families, but the novel cornavirus outbreak forced schools like OUWB to cancel in-person celebrations for 2020. Instead, students received emails with the much-anticipated details.

A total of 110 M4s matched into residency programs. Among the notable programs where OUWB medical students placed were Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, University of Michigan Hospital, and University of California, San Francisco.  

“It’s amazing,” said Duane Mezwa, M.D., OUWB Stephan Sharf Interim Dean. “The prestigious names on this list are just spectacular.”

For applicants, the match process begins in the fall during the final year of medical school, when they apply to the residency programs of their choice. Throughout the fall and early winter, applicants interview with programs.

From mid-January to late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit the preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs.

Mezwa said he believes a lot of the success OUWB students had in matching can be attributed to a growing familiarity across the country with the high quality of students that come from OUWB.

“They’ve had our students in their residencies and they know what they’re getting,” Mezwa said.

For example, OUWB students going into radiology matched at, among others, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, and University of Michigan — all offering radiology programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.

Of all students who matched, 44 will stay in Michigan for the bulk of their training, including 13 who will continue their education at Beaumont Health.

California came in second, with 16 students headed to the Golden State for the next phase of their careers, followed by New York, with 10.

The rest are spread out over 22 other states along with Washington, D.C. and Canada.

Two of the OUWB M4s going to California are Susanna Jain and Christopher Pamacheche. The two couple matched with Jain matching in pediatrics at Stanford University and Pamacheche matching in anesthesiology at University of California. 

"We're just so relieved," Jain said. "As a couples match everyone tells you how hard it is to end up together...it's just a great outcome for us. We both got our number one (ranked program) and we just feel really emotional."

She called it a "blessing" that her and Pamacheche will be about 30 minutes apart. 

Pamacheche said Jain opened hers first and when they saw that she had matched at Stanford they immediately started celebrating - before he even knew where he was going. He said they would celebrate at home with friends by "popping some champagne and ordering some food."

"We were so nervous...now it just feels fantastic and amazing," he said. 

In terms of specialties, internal medicine led the way with 19 students matching. That was followed by obstetrics-gynecology (12), family medicine (11), anesthesiology (10), and general surgery (9) rounding out the top five.

Additionally, 46 percent of the matching students will train in a field that will likely lead to a career in primary care (internist, pediatrician, family practitioner, obstetrician/gynecologist, or dual specialist in internal medicine and pediatrics).

M4 Cheryl Cheah said she was "ecstatic" about her match in pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco. It was her first choice, she said. 

"I really enjoyed my away rotation at UCSF and left there hoping for a chance of returning for an interview and maybe even residency," she said. "I thought that I was treated as a valuable and respectable member of my team...I felt extremely welcomed, and felt comfortable asking questions."

She said her interview day included an interesting connection to Oakland University. 

"I was pleasantly surprised when UCSF’s Pediatrics Chair Dr. Raphael Hirsch responded with 'Oakland University Grizzlies?' when I told him that I go to Oakland University in Michigan," she said. "It turns out that he is the brother of current OU President Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, who I met and dined with at the 2018 national American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) dinner in Philadelphia. What a coincidence!"

Another M4 to experience a feeling of Match Day surprise was Amanda Simon, who matched in neurology at University of Utah Health. Not only did she match at what she called her "favorite program," but her now fiancé  proposed to her the day before Match Day.

"My (new) fiancé and I are incredibly excited to move to Salt Lake City and begin this new chapter of our lives together," she said. "We've been long distance throughout all of medical school, so just the fact we'll finally be in the same place is exciting in and of itself."

Like her classmates, her Match Day excitement was shared with others virtually.

"Although I had always pictured opening my envelope on Match Day surrounded by my classmates and family, I was still so excited to open the NRMP's email with my fiancé at my side and my parents on FaceTime," said Simon. "Being able to see my parents' response to the news made it all the better."

M4 Nathan Loudon matched in the interventional radiology program at University of Michigan. It is one of only five interventional radiology spots available in the state of Michigan.

He said it was “extremely humbling” as it ranked high on his list. He celebrated by sharing some champagne with his wife and “texting everyone I know.”

 “It’s a crazy honor to be going to such a well-regarded program,” he said. “It’s humbling and exciting.”

Leading up to Match Day, several OUWB alumni took to Instagram to offer words of advice and encouragement for the Class of 2020.

“Congrats! Now starts the hard part. Keep your chin up and remember that you can do it!” said Andrew Koo, M.D., Class of 2016, OUWB.

“Enjoy the strength of community you have at OUWB and take a deep breath!” said Rachel Nash, M.D., Class of 2018, OUWB.

“No matter where (you) match, remember (you) are still (an) M.D. That was the goal, focus on that,” said Rafaella Genova Rodrigues, Class of 2018, OUWB.

“Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride! All of you will be amazing physicians!” said Ashley Anderson, M.D., Class of 2018, OUWB.

Rachel Nash, M.D., Class of 2018, OUWB, posted an especially poignant message on Instagram to the M4s who matched Friday.

“Today is not what you thought it would be - a celebration with friends and family, an epic culmination of all your hard work, the day you finally feel that sense of ‘I’m really going to be a doctor.’ I want you to try to feel all those emotions today - because today is your day!

She also added, “I remember the immense joy I felt when my mom found out I got my first choice — and knowing she would have been proud of me for my last. I remember the bear hug my dad gave me, always comforting. And the calls from friends and family near and far. So enjoy today. Be proud of how far you have come. And no matter what happens, know that the world needs great doctors like you - especially now. Now go find out your residency family!”

NRMP President and CEO Donna L. Lamb said Match Day is “pivotal in the lives of tens of thousands of physicians, and the NRMP is honored to usher them toward their futures through a reliable and equitable process.”

“This is another banner year for the medical education community in terms of increases in the number of applicants and positions ... the NRMP looks forward to celebrating medical students and graduates for all that they have accomplished and all that is still to come in their medical careers. NRMP is grateful to be a part of this annual event.”

To see the full list of where the 2020 OUWB M4s matched, click here.

Match Day 2020 - Infographic Final

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