Fourth-year medical students at SMHS receive their residency "match"

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS--“Match Day” for graduating medical students is one of the most important milestones of their careers. Each year on Match Day, medical school seniors across the country find out where they will complete their residency, 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.

Members of the Doctor of Medicine Class of 2018 at UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) opened their Match Day letters this past Friday, March 16, as well to discover where they will hone their skills as resident physicians.

“This is such an exciting day,” said Susan Zelewski, MD, assistant dean for the SMHS Northeast campus in her address to fourth-year students finishing up their clinical training in Grand Forks. “It has been a long road for each of you, getting to this point, but each of the faculty here are so happy to have been able to share that journey with you. Know that you all make us proud.”

“I’m not at all shy to admit that [North Dakota] was my first choice,” said Adel Mergoum after opening his Match letter in Grand Forks. Mergoum learned that he will soon begin an Internal Medicine residency at the UND SMHS Southeast campus in Fargo. “My family moved to Fargo from Colorado when I was younger, so this area is like home to me.”

Or, as Mergoum’s colleague Kathryn Johnson put it, in reference to her twin sister Adria, “I would say our Match Day results are awesome! I’m very excited about them.” Kathryn (right, with her sister on the phone) is on her way to a general surgery residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, while her sister will be going to the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, also to complete a residency in general surgery.

“I’m very happy with my placement,” Adria added. “I went to Portland for an away rotation this fall and loved the area and the program. I’m ecstatic that Kathryn and I matched in the specialty we both love.”

While the Johnson sisters are set to begin residencies in general surgery, 17 of the 67 SMHS students matching last week are pursuing family medicine (25.3 percent), which is about triple the national average of graduating medical students entering a family medicine residency. In addition to family medicine, matches for UND medical students in the other primary care specialties include the fields of internal medicine (15), pediatrics (4), and obstetrics/gynecology (3). This makes for a total of 39 of 67 (58.2 percent) of the SMHS Class of 2018 entering primary care. Other specialties chosen by this year’s class include diagnostic radiology, dermatology, neurology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology.

Match Day is the culmination of work conducted by 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.

The NRMP’s 2018 Main Residency Match was the largest in history, exceeding the more than 43,000 applicants who registered for the 2017 Match and the more than 31,000 positions offered last year. Results of the Main Residency Match are closely watched because they can predict future changes in the physician workforce.

“This is an exciting time for our fourth-year students,” concluded Joycelyn Dorscher, MD, associate dean for Student Affairs and Admissions at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “This single day is the culmination of four years of hard work. You can imagine that it produces a range of emotions for the participants. But this year’s class should feel very satisfied that their hard work has paid off. They matched into some extremely competitive programs and specialties, including placements at Mayo, Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and the Yale-New Haven Hospital, among others.”

A full list of graduating SMHS medical students to Match can be seen here.

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Brian James Schill

Assistant Director, Office of Alumni & Community Relations

University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

701.777.2733 direct | 701.777.4305 office |