Surrounded by friends and family, 154 fourth-year students of Loma Linda University School of Medicine tore open envelopes at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 17 to find out where they would spend the next few years of their careers.
For much of the previous hour, the Wong Kerlee International Conference Center on the Loma Linda University Health campus had been abuzz with hundreds of people on hand for Match Day, a national day for the more than 150 medical schools in the U.S., held the third Friday of March, in which fourth-year medical students find out their residency. The students have gone to interviews around the country in previous months trying to find a match for a specialty, while ranking their preferences of hospital programs, hoping that their first choices will grant their requests.
For students, Match Day is a nerve-wracking, festive morning. Various hospitals had representatives on hand, one of which sponsored a breakfast that began at 8 a.m. Some students laughed loudly, others were outwardly chill, while others huddled on couches in the lobby outside. A few spent much of the morning holding back tears.
Announcements were delivered by sponsoring organizations and associate deans.
Tamara Shankel, MD, associate dean of clinical medicine, told the group that all 154 students matched, which was received with sustained applause and cheers.
At 8:45 a.m., the envelope distribution began. Fifteen minutes later, everyone was back in their seats across the packed conference center, and supporters lined the walls. After what many later said was the longest five-second countdown of their life, the months of waiting ended as each student opened an envelope to find one piece of paper informing them where they were headed to begin their medical residency this summer.
“I was very happy. I got my first choice,” said Sharmila Price, who is heading to Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, to work as an internal medicine resident. “It was kind of scary,” Price said, “but I knew whatever happened, God was going to take care of what was in the envelope.”
Alvin Kennedy, who is headed to work as an anesthesiology resident at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said he was happy about what his match paper revealed. “I’m very excited, I’m going back home,” he exclaimed. He had just called his mom in Maryland who was also happy about the news.
Roger Hadley, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, took his own pictures throughout the proceedings and met with students and parents. “This is outstanding,” he said. “Everyone’s got a job. Not all of them got their first choice, but everyone’s got a job.”
Hadley, who graduated from the School of Medicine in 1974, said the job of the students now is to go be the best resident physician they can be.
“Their progress as physicians will now be determined on how much they put into their residency,” Hadley said. “We’ve given them the tools — now it’s up to them. They’ve got to go in every day and think, ‘How can I be a better, more competent doctor?’”
Anesthesiology (7) 5.2%
Dermatology (2) 1%
Emergency Room (12) 7.8%
ENT (3) 1.9%
Family Medicine (20) 30%
Internal Medicine (26) 16.9%
Medical Anesthesia (1)
Med Peds (3) 1.9%
Neurology (2) 1%
OBGYN (7) 5.2%
Opthomology (2) 1%
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (2) 1%
Orthopedics (5) 3.2%
Pathology (2) 1%
Pediatrics (22) 14.3%
Pediatric Psych, Children’s Psych (1)
Psychiatry (6) 3.9%
Radiation Oncology (1)
Radiology (6) 3.9%
Surgery (9) 6.5%
Transitional, Pre Med, Pre Surgical (11) 7.1%
About Loma Linda University Health – Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University’s eight schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and over 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, Loma Linda University Health is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”