March 21, 2014
Match Day, when medical student futures are decided
“Students, stand by your envelopes.” This morning graduating UW medical students gathered around tables in Hogness Lobby to wait out the last few minutes of months of visiting and selecting their top residency training programs. Around them are friends, family, mentors. Also on hand are a few loyal dogs…and several babies and young children. To pass the time and savor the moment, there’s a photo booth with “I matched!” and other signs to hold up for the shot.
Today, March 21, is Match Day 2014, when the results of the most recent National Resident Matching Program are revealed to all participants across the United States at approximately the same time: noon EDT. Match Day is an annual rite of passage for graduating medical students. This year the Match had about 23,000 participants nationwide.
Students give the program a rank order list of their favorite residency training options and residency training programs submit their student choices.
The Match uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors to fill training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals. Research on the National Resident Matching Program algorithm was a basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012. The non-profit service was created in 1952 to provide an orderly, fair way to place applicants in residency programs.
The students will be spending their next three to seven years or so receiving clinical training and advanced medical education to complete their goals of becoming physicians. Some of the UW medical students will remain in Seattle; others will head for programs at almost every point of the compass in the United States.
Back in Hogness Lobby, a Chinese gong strikes. The gong is a memento from a former associate dean of academic affairs. Students are free to open beautiful packages containing their acceptance letters. As the letters are read and shared, the lobby erupts with shouts and congratulations.
The event was live-tweeted through the hashtag #HuskyMatch. See the storify of the event. Supporters from far away sent in their well wishes to all the students in real-time. They included a pediatric cardiologist who had fond memories of standing in the same spot nine years ago.
Read the profiles of a few of members of the UW graduating medical school class of 2014 who participated in today’s match.