Neatly folded and tucked inside 158 white envelopes, letters announcing the residency selection for each Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Class of 2012 graduate were tightly sealed as the clock ticked toward 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 16.
Standing among faculty, friends, family, and fellow students inside local pizzeria Gino’s East, the next step in a career of medicine was set to be unveiled.
As the envelopes opened in unison, nervous energy turned to celebration, with students quickly discovering where they’d be headed.
“I don’t even know how to react exactly,” said a shocked Muthiah Vaduganathan, who matched at his first choice of internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “I’ve been looking forward to this day pretty much all year, and now that it’s here I just feel incredibly blessed and incredibly fortunate to be in the position I am in.”
Surrounded by friends from medical school and his entire family, Vaduganathan, an Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) student, was happy to share the experience of Match Day with the support network he credits with helping him get to where he is today.
“I was fortunate enough to get my number one choice and I’m excited to move forward with my residency,” he said. “Feinberg was an incredible institution and I think it prepared us well. I was able to meet not only my best friends, but colleagues who I’ll have for the rest of my life. This is an extremely special day, probably the most important of my career.”
Standing alongside her husband of nearly five years, Shields Callahan was expecting to deliver a different type of news to her mother on Friday afternoon. Callahan, who is two days past the due date of her first child, figured she’d be a few doors down, at Prentice Women’s Hospital, during Match Day. Callahan, who grew up in Virginia, matched in dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.
“I am very excited to head back East,” she said. “My husband and I lived in New York for four years before moving to Chicago for med school, so we’re excited to get back.”
More than 95 percent of U.S. medical school seniors – the highest rate in 30 years – matched to residency positions, according to data from the National Residents Matching Program (NRMP). Feinberg matched each of its 158 graduating students.
Wayne Hsueh, who matched in otolaryngology at Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in New York and Gloria Lan, who matched in internal medicine at New York University School of Medicine, were among the record 878 couples nationwide taking part in Match Day 2012. Couples agree to have their rank lists of preferred residency programs linked to each other to ensure a common geographic region.
“We were nervous because we really wanted to be together, and now we’re together, and in New York. It’s the best of all worlds,” said Lan.
“It was amazing; one of our top choices. We’re excited to be together in New York City,” said Hsueh. “It was probably the most nervous day of my life.”
For Kida Thompson, staying in Illinois means that she can be near her family of friends in the Windy City.The Trinidad and Tobago native's top choice was family medicine at the University of Illinois-Rockford.
“For me, the victory was on Monday when I found out that I matched,” she said. “It’s just extra sweet because I did get my first choice and can just enjoy the day.”
Match Day is held annually on the same day for all medical school seniors. Conducted by the NRMP, matches are made by using a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors to fill the training positions available in U.S. teaching hospitals.
For a photo gallery of images from Match Day 2012, click here.