University News

Students celebrate residency matches

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Fourth-year medical students found out their residency program placements for next year at the annual Match Day event Friday. The class of 79 students, which is smaller than in recent years, “did as well as I’ve seen any class do,” said Edward Wing, dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences. 

The number of students entering primary care disciplines, particularly obstetrics and family medicine, seems to have increased this year, said Philip Gruppuso, associate dean of Medical Education, adding that this rise may have been prompted by recent health care reform. Many students will also enter internal medicine programs, which have been consistently popular, Gruppuso said.

Where students perform these specialty-specific residencies often determines where they choose to live and work, Wing said. Ten graduates will remain in Providence at hospitals affiliated with the Alpert Medical School.  

This year’s national match rate was the highest in 30 years, with more than 95 percent of graduates nationally matching to residencies, according to the Association of American Medical College’s website. Approximately 16,000 U.S. medical students were matched through the National Resident Matching Program Friday, the website said.

“Our students have done well matching in prestigious programs,” Gruppuso wrote in an email to The Herald.

“Students did excellent this year,” Wing said. “And by ‘excellent,’ I mean the very best – Harvard, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford.”

Successful placement of the Med School’s students in these programs is partly due to the caliber of past graduates who have “done very well as residents” at these hospitals, Gruppuso wrote.

The class is smaller than average because many students took a “year or two off,” Gruppuso said. Next year’s graduating class is expected to be approximately 120 students.

Students found out their matches at noon Friday. Unlike many other medical schools, the Med School “makes a celebration out of it,” Wing said, formally declaring the day “Match Day” and inviting students, parents and faculty to attend a celebration of the students’ achievement. “I don’t think a lot of schools do it quite the way we do,” he said.

The Match Day event was hosted for the first time at the new medical school building in the Jewelry District. Students waited anxiously for the noontime “all-go,” when they were allowed to open their respective envelopes and find out where they will be living for at least three to seven years.

Exactly on the hour, almost all students, from dextrous future surgeons to precise future radiologists, tore their envelopes open. Within seconds, some let loose yells, others embraced their fellow students, while others grasped for their cell phones to call loved ones. 

“I told my family that if they could make it up here for one event, it should be this, not graduation,” said Florida-native Kumar Vasudevan ’08 MD ’12, who will be joining the neurological surgery residency program at the Emory University School of Medicine. Vasudevan, a student in the Program in Liberal Medical Education, said he will find it hard to leave Brown after being here for the past eight years. “When you spend one third of your life in one place, it’s always tough to leave,” he said.

“This year’s class is very close,” Wing said. 

Match Day was also a celebration for parents, many of whom flew long distances to be present at the event. Al and Florence Cheung, parents of Edward Cheung ’08 MD ’12, said they will be grateful to have their son close to home on the West Coast, where he will be a resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.

“We told him he should go where he will get the best training,” Cheung’s mother said. “We are so happy that he is coming home for that.” 

For two students, Match Day was particularly special. Joseph Grossman MD ’12 and Sarah Housman MD ’12 found out they will both be entering residency programs in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is affiliated with Harvard. The two married their first year of medical school and now have a baby girl. They entered the match as a couple.

“We couldn’t have seen it any other way,” Housman said.