“Match Day” for graduating medical students is one of the most important milestones of their young 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 embarking on 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.
The School of Medicine & Health Sciences had planned on holding Match Day events on all four SMHS campuses in North Dakota where students would learn of their residency match in person via letter. The spread of COVID-19 changed those plans, of course.
Instead, the 72 members of the Doctor of Medicine Class of 2020 at UND’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) received their match via email from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
“I matched into Mayo’s Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Residency Program, which was my top choice!” said Stirum, N.D., native Jacob Greenmyer. “My wife and I are thrilled to be heading to Rochester! It is the perfect blend of small-town feel, down-to-earth faculty and cutting-edge medicine.”
Greenmyer, who became interested in pediatrics after battling cancer as a teenager, is among more than 40 fourth-year SMHS students set to begin residency in one of the primary care specialties that include internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics.
In total, 55 percent of the MD Class of 2020 matched into primary care specialties, with 14 of 72 (19.4 percent) of the cohort alone set to enter family medicine, a figure more than double the national average of students matching into family medicine.
Other specialties chosen by this year’s class include anesthesiology, diagnostic radiology, genetics, neurology, emergency medicine, pathology, psychiatry, surgery, urology, obstetrics/gynecology and otolaryngology.
“Upon opening my match email, I was nervous but eager to see where my wife and I would be spending the next four years of our lives,” added Grand Forks native Tyler Beattie, who matched with his first programs of choice. “I was happy to discover that I matched at a transitional year program at UND in Fargo and then in anesthesiology for the following three years at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.”
Match Day is the culmination of work conducted by the 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 2020 Main Residency Match was the largest in NRMP history. A record-high 40,084 applicants submitted program choices for 37,256 positions, the most ever offered in the Match. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 34,266, an increase of 2,072 (6.4%) from 2019. Results of the Match are closely watched because they can predict future changes in the physician workforce.
“I am very happy for our fourth-year students,” said Jim Porter, Ph.D., associate dean for Student Affairs & Admissions at the SMHS. “This class has matched very well, and everyone should feel extremely satisfied that their hard work has paid off. As you go through the list you’ll notice that our students matched in some particularly competitive programs and specialties across the country, including many matches right here in North Dakota. We all should be exceedingly proud of their accomplishments.”
The full Match Day 2020 list can be read here: med.und.edu/student-affairs-admissions/match-day.html.
“I feel that UND has prepared me very well for the rigors of residency,” concluded Anna Melicher, whose parents printed out her Match Day email and ceremoniously delivered it to Anna and her fiancé in their kitchen. “As I spoke with other applicants during interview season, I quickly found that my hands-on skills were usually better developed than most students from other schools.”
A native of Fargo, N.D., Melicher learned from the hand-delivered email that she will soon begin an obstetrics & gynecology residency at the University of Utah Health Program in Salt Lake City.
“I liked every rotation that I had during the third year of medical school,” she added, describing the stress of choosing a specialty. “It was actually rather frustrating, because I knew I needed to make a decision and start building my resumé for the appropriate field of medicine, but it wasn’t until after my ob/gyn rotation ended that I realized I missed it so much more than all the other rotations. When I went back for more [obstetrics] training during an internship in Williston, I knew I made the right choice.”