Medical students match up

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Match Day for 72 senior medical students is one of the most important milestones of their careers. Members of the Doctor of Medicine Class of 2016 at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences opened envelopes to discover where in the United States they will hone their skills as resident physicians. On Match Day, March 18, medical school seniors across the country found out where they will complete their residencies, a period of advanced intensive training in their chosen medical specialty before independent practice as a physician. Depending on the medical specialty, medical school graduates complete anywhere from three to seven years of residency training after medical school.

Match Day is the culmination of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) , a private, not-for-profit corporation founded in 1952 at the request of medical students to standardize the residency selection process and establish a uniform date of appointment to positions in graduate medical education (GME) training programs. It is governed by a board of directors that includes representatives from national medical and medical education organizations as well as medical students, resident physicians, and GME program directors. This year, 18,187 U.S. medical school seniors participated in the residency match, and 17,057—an all-time high—matched to first-year positions for an overall match rate of 93.8 percent, according to the NRMP.

Early in their final year of medical school, U.S. senior students apply to the residency programs at which they would like to train. Directors of those programs review applications and invite candidates for interviews, typically in the fall and early winter. Once the interview period is over, applicants and program directors submit rank-order lists to the NRMP. Program directors rank applicants in order of preference, and applicants compile their lists based on their preferred medical specialty and the location of the training programs. The NRMP then feeds the rank-ordered choices of the students and directors into a computer, which provides an impartial match between the two groups. Research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for the work that won the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences . Every year in the third week of March and at the same time across the country, students open envelopes to find the results of the match.

“This is our largest graduating class,” said Joycelyn Dorscher, MD, associate dean for Student Affairs and Admissions at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “They have matched into some very competitive programs, including our own. There are 18 students who matched into North Dakota programs.”

UND medical students successfully matched in the traditional primary care specialties of family medicine (15), and internal medicine (10), pediatrics (5) and one student in internal medicine-pediatrics—for a total of 31 or 43 percent of the class. Other specialties chosen by this year’s class include radiology-diagnostic, obstetrics/gynecology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, general surgery, otolaryngology, neurology, urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and dermatology.

“It is no surprise—but always impressive—to see just how competitive our graduates are among the growing number of national medical school graduates,” Dorscher said.