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Excitement, nerves and a sealed envelope usher in Match Day at UC Friday, March 15

Where will our medical students match?

Andrea Rosado, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, has interviewed with 15 residency programs, meeting with physicians in the Midwest, East Coast, as well as Denver and Portland, Oregon.

The fourth-year medical student hopes to practice family medicine someday. Rosado, along with graduating medical students across the country, will learn Friday, March 15, during the annual Match Day where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives in residency training. At UC, medical students will gather for festivities around 11:45 a.m. in Kresge Auditorium in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB), while any overflow crowd of parents, friends and supporters will watch via satellite video in nearby Room E-351.

“It’s very interesting to see how family medicine is different across the country and in different regions,” says Rosado. “I am drawn to family medicine first and foremost for the underserved care opportunities. I feel like family medicine doctors are well poised to approach people from all different angles and take care of all the issues that they may have. I love all people, babies, adults and the elderly. I am real excited to take care of any and everybody.”

The names of students are called lottery-style during Match Day, and they come to the front of the room to open their residency envelopes, explains Zachary Crawford, a fourth-year medical student and co-class president helping to organize Match Day festivities. The atmosphere is celebratory and marked with special T-shirts for the class, “walk-up songs” for each student, along with cheers, tears, hugs and selfies. Students also pin their residency location on a large U.S. map.

The festivities cap off a week of celebrations for Match Day at UC, says Crawford.

“Many colleges of medicine have students open their rank envelopes at the same time. Here we are a little bit different and I think makes us special at the University of Cincinnati,” says Crawford. “All our students will be sitting together in Kresge with friends or someone they want to come down with them on stage to open up their envelope with them. Students will tell their classmates where they matched and in what specialty.”

After a months-long residency interview process, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) does the actual matching, linking the program preferences of students with those of residency program directors.

Two medical students at 2018 Match Day at UC.

Two medical students enjoy festivities at UC College of Medicine's 2018 Match Day.

“Match Day is a wonderful opportunity for our students, filled with excitement and joy and a lot of anticipation,” says Andrew Filak, MD, dean of the College of Medicine and interim senior vice president for health affairs at UC. “Our Match Day ceremony at UC is tremendously inclusive for the students. They bring their significant others, their families and some parents come. It is a wonderful occasion and a great celebration.”

Rosado and Crawford say their respective families will be watching the big day’s activities. Crawford says his family will be at UC while Rosado, whose family resides on Long Island in New York, will watch via live streaming.

“It is a very exciting time and I will be looking forward to knowing where I will be spending the next four to five years of my life hopefully matching into orthopedic surgery,” says Crawford. “At the same time there is a little bit of nerves. Everyone puts in their rank list and some people have 10 places ranked and some people have 20. “I think everyone is excited, but also nervous to find out where we will be going.

“I think my favorite part of Match Day at UC is everyone gets their own moment. We spend four years together studying and all the hard hours cramming for all the licensure exams. Every person gets his or her own moment to be on the stage and be really excited about where they will spend residency.”

This year, Filak will pull the first envelope for the class, with Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean of student affairs, and Bruce Giffin, PhD, associate dean for medical education, pulling the rest of the envelopes.

“Match Day is the culmination of the many hours that students dedicate to studying, patient care, research and community service in preparation for transitioning to specialized training in their chosen field of medicine,” explains Bennett. “According to the NRMP, approximately 84 percent of medical students will match to one of their top four programs in the nation.

“The faculty and staff that taught and supported them throughout medical school share in their anticipation of the match outcome,” says Bennett. “We have experienced the full gamut of their disappointments and achievements throughout medical school so it is an emotional experience for us as well. We also know that graduation is around the corner and, yes, we will miss them but we will proudly watch where they go next, and the impact they will have on health care as our alumni.”

UC’s Match Day will be streamed online at http://med.uc.edu/matchday

UC Academic Health Center will post Match Day photos via Twitter @UCHealthNews using the hashtag #CincyMatch2019. Also, follow the College of Medicine Office of Admissions Instagram account for Match Day coverage at @Cincinnati_Medicine.

Spectators can also follow the event on Snapchat. Visit https://www.snapchat.com/add/uofcincy to add the main UC account and receive snaps/view stories on Match Day.

Photos by Colleen Kelley/AHC