NEWS | March 16, 2018

Soon-to-be physicians celebrate Match Day 2018

'The envelope, please'

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Today’s annual Match Day ceremony at UC Davis School of Medicine gave more than 100 future physicians an exciting glimpse of what the future holds for them in medicine. One hundred and thirteen fourth-year medical students found out where they have “matched” for their residency trainings over the next 3-5 years [see the YouTube video here].

UC Davis medical students were excited to open their Match Day envelopes to see where they will be going for residency training.  UC Davis medical students were excited to open their Match Day envelopes to see where they will be going for residency training.

“I’m really excited about today,” said Keyon Mitchell, who’s continuing his medical training in obstetrics and gynecology at UC Davis Medical Center. “We’re all blessed no matter what we go into, and hopefully we can put ourselves into positions to do great work and make the lives of a lot of families and individuals better.”

Match Day is an annual event occurring simultaneously at medical schools throughout the nation. As part of the festivities, student are handed envelopes to open at precisely the same time. The envelopes contain the name of the hospital or health system where they will do their training after graduation this year.

It’s part of a lengthy process that begins in the final year of medical school, when students send applications to residency programs around the country. Throughout fall and early winter, the applicants visit and interview at various hospitals and clinical programs. The students and residency directors at those sites then rank each other in order of preference, with those preferences submitted to the National Resident Matching Program, which uses an algorithm to match each student with a clinical program.

“I feel elated,” said Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, who left her native Nigeria at age 11 to live with a family in Oakland, California.

“I’m going to levitate out of here with so much joy, humility and gratitude,” added Ogbu-Nwobodo, who’s headed to Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital for a psychiatry residency. “All I can think of is just how grateful I am to everyone who played a role in this journey today. It’s really unreal.”

While Ogbu-Nwobodo is going to the East Coast, a majority of the 124 UC Davis medical students who matched today (79 percent) are staying in California for their residency training. A record 60 percent chose primary care residencies, with internal medicine being the most popular residency program this year, followed closely by family medicine. In a preview of its upcoming “Best Graduate Schools” rankings, U.S. News & World Report revealed that UC Davis School of Medicine is among the top 10 medical schools for primary care in the nation.

Other leading residency programs included emergency medicine and pediatrics. Nearly 20 percent of the students will stay close by, having matched to residencies at UC Davis Medical Center, which is right across the street from their classrooms. 

“One of the most important things to communicate to our graduating students is that this is really the beginning of a new phase, a new chapter, in their training,” said Mark Servis, vice dean for medical education at UC Davis School of Medicine. “As public institution, we’re really proud because our mission is to train physicians for the state, and this class has been one that has focused on health disparities and social justice. Their aspirations, by and large, are to serve underserved communities, particularly in California.”

For many medical students, because the residency match sets a trajectory for their medical careers, Match Day is as important as commencement.

“This day is bigger than me and all of us,” Zakir Safdar, a Stockton resident who’s staying at UC Davis Medical Center for a residency in primary care. “Being the first person in my family to pursue higher education beyond high school was a very challenging path for me. But seeing that smile on my mom’s face when I opened that letter, it was the perfect culmination of all the hard work getting here.”