On Friday, March 15, fourth-year students at Meharry Medical College participated in Match Day – a highly anticipated, annual nationwide event where medical students discover their futures as physicians, learning which hospital they will spend the next three to five or more years in residence in physician training programs. The Meharry event took place in Meharry’s Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education where over 120 students learned the location of their residency. For Meharry, Match Day is a dramatic cause for celebration – highlighting successes achieved and adversity overcome by each student as they learned their future surrounded by family, professors and peers.
Each year, medical school students submit their top three choices for residency programs to the NRMP, a nonprofit organization that facilitates the process of matching the preferences of applicants to available U.S. residency positions. This follows a period of interviews the students have had with each program, and the submission of highly coveted letters of recommendation from faculty and mentors. The program uses computerized mathematical algorithms to align the preferences of more than 30,000 students with the residency programs available at U.S. teaching hospitals.
During the ceremony, each student received a sealed envelope containing his / her residency information. Surrounded by family, friends and mentors, together, the future doctors simultaneously opened their envelopes, and the room exploded with cheers, tears and celebrations. This is a change from past years when each student would wait their turn to learn which program they had matched to during a lengthy program that lasted about three hours. Under the new format, all of the students learned their matches concurrently, enabling them to share the data immediately with family and friends. After a few minutes to allow for the emotionally charged celebrations and expressions of joy, they then waited for their turn to share the results with the entire assembled group and the online audience watching the college’s live-stream broadcast of the proceedings.
Highly poignant testimonials to the struggles overcome in seeking their M.D. degrees are among the reasons Meharry Match Day remains one of the most inspirational events in the African American community each year.
Many of the students would not have the opportunity to attend a U.S. medical school without Meharry, or indeed, one at all. A first year medical student from Toronto proudly watched as several of his fellow Canadians revealed their placements. He shared that the competition in Toronto for residency spots is brutal, and he is glad to be in Meharry, along with his fellow foreign students from Nigeria and other places around the globe.
It was really touching to see a few couples, some recently married, who were both placed in residencies at the same hospital, esp. two couples where she placed in Ob-Gyn and he placed in Pediatrics. I thought that was quite interesting! Among the placements were Yale – New Haven, Brigham & Womens, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Tulane, and quite a few in California and New York. Most were primary care with a few opting for specialties such as otolaryngology.
Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health science center dedicated solely to educating minority and other health professionals. As a leading producer of African-American physicians, Meharry and its graduates carry on the college’s mission to serve the underserved, as eighty-three percent of alumni choose to practice in underserved communities throughout the United States. True to its heritage, the United Methodist Church-related institution is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Visit www.mmc.edu to learn more.