The first day of the rest of their lives: Match Day 2015!

March 20, 2015

Match Day 2015

After years of preparation and hard work, 122 medical students met today in the BICC Library for the culmination of their undergraduate medical education: Match Day. Surrounded by friends, family members, classmates and faculty mentors, these students waited for the moment – celebrated simultaneously nationwide – when they would learn where they would be spending the next three to seven years of their lives in residency training. 

An annual rite of passage for U.S. medical students and other applicants, Match Day is coordinated by the National Resident Matching Program. Each year at the same time nationwide, nearly 17,000 medical school seniors simultaneously open sealed white envelopes containing a single sheet of paper with details about where each student will pursue the next phase of their medical training.

Match Day 2015At the appointed time, students clutched their envelopes and gradually the sound of gasps, laugher and excited chatter rang across the packed room.

"Congratulations to the M.D. Class of 2015," said Mark Richardson, M.D., MBA, dean, OHSU School of Medicine. "You have reached an important milestone in your journey to becoming a physician. You are all well prepared to succeed in the next phase of your training wherever it may be. All of the faculty and OHSU as a whole look forward to seeing the tremendous positive impact your careers will have on healthcare in the future."

School of Medicine students matched in 28 different disciplines. Twenty-two future physicians will remain at OHSU and a total of 24 remaining in Oregon. Fifty-three other students will stay in the western region; 16 students will head to the northeast, 16 to the central region and 12 to the south. For future anesthesiologist Abbie Tirrell, the day was one of anticipation. Holding her two-month-old baby daughter and flanked by her proud husband, Abbie discovered she matched at OHSU and is thrilled to stay at the school and in the community she's come to love.

Ben Holland (below right), originally of John Day, Ore., expressed excitement at the possibility of staying in the type of smaller community and clinical environment in which he eventually wants to practice. Pursuing a residency in Boise, Idaho will allow Ben to hone skills unique to a future rural physician.

Match Day 2015In terms of medical specialty, 2015 results showed that 55 students – including Ben – chose to pursue a residency in primary care, which represents 45 percent of this year’s class and encompasses the fields of internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. From 2011 to 2015, the percentage of OHSU M.D. students matching to a primary care residency has ranged from 42 percent to 64 percent.

Lake Oswego native Susan Lou is pursuing a residency in internal medicine at University of Minnesota Medical School. “At the heart of it, I am drawn to internal medicine by a resolve to help others reach their full potential,” she said. Some of the students selecting internal medicine and pediatrics are likely to go on to sub-specialize and, thus, not all these new physicians will end up practicing primary care. Nevertheless, the overall amount and trend bode well for ramping up to meet the demand for primary care physicians. Graduates in family medicine are likely to remain in this primary care discipline.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, “Demand for physicians continues to grow faster than supply, leading to a projected shortfall of between 46,100 and 90,400 physicians by 2025.” To address these and other physician workforce issues, the OHSU School of Medicine continues to play a critical role in the national conversation surrounding graduate medical education.