MOBILE — The excitement was thick in the ballroom of the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center on in March for Match Day. What is perhaps the most important day for each graduating medical school student can also be the most stressful. This day serves as a focus of celebration for medical schools and students nationwide – the day medical students learn the locations of the residency programs in which they will continue the next phase of their medical training.
Match Day is the result of medical students nationwide interviewing with different residency programs and ranking their top-choice programs in order of preference with the training programs doing the same. The National Residency Matching Program uses a mathematical algorithm to designate each applicant to a residency program.
Each student receives their sealed match letter at promptly 10:45 a.m. (CT). At 11 a.m., the students rip open their letters to learn the location of their residency program. It is truly a day of well-earned pageantry.
“Match Day is the most important day in a medical student’s career,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs at the University of South Alabama. “They work so hard to get into the specialty they like, and once they are in that specialty they continue to work hard throughout their training.”
According to USA, of the 70 College of Medicine seniors, 22 students went to Alabama medical institutions, including 12 who will do their residencies at USA hospitals. Forty-eight others, or 69 percent, drew out-of-state residencies in a total of 22 other states.
The University of Alabama-Birmingham also had impressive results. UAB’s match rate was 98 percent, or 173 students, from its School of Medicine seniors. Its students matched in 75 institutions in 29 states.
The inaugural class of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan experienced its first Match Day this year with outstanding results as well. ACOM students achieved positions in 15 disciplines, 97 unique institutions/programs, and 29 states.
According to NRMP, the 2017 Match Day was the largest on record with 35,969 U.S. and international students and graduates vying for 31,757 positions – the most ever offered during a match.
“The number of U.S. allopathic seniors who submitted program choices is an all-time high. The number of students/graduates of osteopathic medical schools who submitted program choices, as well as their match rate, are all-time highs,” said Mona M. Signer, NRMP president and CEO. “It’s also a good sign for primary care.”
National Match by the Numbers
- Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Pediatrics added a combined 2,900 positions, a 25.8 percent increase
- Emergency Medicine offered 2,047 first-year positions, 152 more than in 2016, and filled all but six
- Psychiatry offered 1,495 first-year positions, 111 more than in 2016, and filled all but four
- Specialties with more than 30 positions that achieved the highest percentages of positions filled by U.S. allopathic seniors, were Integrated Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Otolaryngology
- Applicants who did not match participated in the NRMP Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program®. This year, 1,177 of the 1,279 unfilled positions were offered during SOAP.
*Special thanks to University of South Alabama College of Medicine, University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine and the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan for participating in this article. Photo courtesy of Bill Starling, photographer with USA.