Friday, March 18, 2011

USA Match Day 2011

Fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama gathered March 17 at the USA Mitchell Center, anxiously awaiting the results of Match Day.

In this annual tradition called the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), or more commonly termed Match Day, future doctors at medical schools across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.

“Match Day is like a national competitive dating service,” said Dr. Maggi O’Brien, associate dean of student affairs at the USA College of Medicine. “It’s a big day because they will find out where they will be for the next several years. There is a lot of nervousness here today, but it is always such an exciting event.”

The Match works like this. After interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

Mary Beth Dearmon, a fourth-year medical student at USA, said Match Day is a celebration of tenacity, determination and hard work. “It’s the accomplishment of a lifetime,” she said. Dearmon, whose father passed away in December, said her father always supported her dreams. “It’s hard because he is not here today, but my parents did everything they could to support my goals.”

Dearmon matched in internal medicine at USA. “It’s such a wonderful program, and USA was my top pick. The program here nurtures each resident and their development. I’m looking forward to being here for several more years.”

The NRMP also allows couples to form pairs of choices on their primary rank order lists. The couple will match to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position.

Christin Davis and Brandon Taylor will be tying the knot on March 26, 2011 – just a few days after Match Day. “It’s been a stressful last few months, but we’re excited,” Davis said. “Match Day is really a big day for us.”

Both Davis and Taylor matched at USA – Davis in obstetrics and gynecology and Taylor in orthopaedics. “We are really excited to stay here together,” Taylor said.

USA medical student Grant Zarzour, who has had a lifelong dream of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon, said Match Day is a culmination of several years’ work. “I feel lucky to go anywhere, but USA is my top pick. Over 10 percent of this year’s class wanted orthopaedics, and they all matched. It’s a huge testament to the program here. USA has done a great job in preparing us to be top notch physicians across the country.”

After matching in orthopaedics at USA, Zarzour said he was ecstatic. “I feel like the luckiest guy in the room right now,” he said. “I’m incredibly fortunate.”

USA president V. Gordon Moulton presented Jason Fletcher’s parents with the envelope containing his match. Fletcher was injured in a car accident March 3. He matched in general surgery at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga.

In honor of Fletcher, the medical students wore blue ribbons throughout the Match Day ceremony. “The entire class feels like he is here with us today,” said medical student Geoffrey Hancy. “He has worked just as hard as all of us, and he deserves to be honored.”

To view more photos from Match Day, search "USA College of Medicine Match Day 2011" on Facebook.

For more Match Day news coverage, click the following links:

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