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98 percent of medical students match with residency programs

123 of 125 students match with residency programs, around 44 percent to pursue primary care

Amid a flurry of red, white and brown balloons, fourth-year Alpert Medical School students tore open bright red envelopes on Friday to discover which residency programs they would be attending.

The tradition, known as Match Day, revealed that 98 percent of the class — 123 of 125 students — matched with a residency program, wrote Kris Cambra, director of biomedical communications, in an email to The Herald. Over 99 percent of students matched last year, the Herald previously reported.

“Almost all the students have matched, and they’ve matched with very wonderful programs,” said Allan Tunkel, associate dean for medical education.

Fifty-five students, about 44 percent of the class, matched with primary care programs, including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics, wrote Mollie Rappe, life sciences writer for the Office of University Communications, in an email to The Herald. The rest matched into specialty programs, including 21 who matched into surgery and 11 who matched into radiology.

This year also saw an increase in internal medicine residents, who will practice primary care for adults, Tunkel said. Around 30 people matched into internal medicine, said Darrel Gachette MD ’19.

Nineteen students will complete all or part of their residency in Rhode Island with Brown-affiliated programs, according to a University news release. Last year, fourteen students planned to complete all or part of their residencies in Rhode Island, The Herald previously reported.

“I’m on cloud nine,” said Gachette, after opening his envelope and discovering he would attend the NYU School of Medicine for internal medicine. “It’s been a grueling interview season.”

The residency program application process for medical students takes several months. This year, applications opened in September with interviews taking place from October through January, according to the National Resident Matching Program.

Tunkel estimates that students  apply on average to 20 or 25 programs, though it varies by discipline. Bryan Le MD’19 and Alice Cao MD’19 applied to 17 and around 30 programs, respectively. For Cao, who’s going into anesthesiology, the interview process took around six months.

“It’s so long,” Cao said. “I was interviewing for like six months. And you’re just on the road, telling them why you want to go into your specialty.”

In February, students ranked the programs where they interviewed, and the programs did the same for everyone they interviewed, Tunkel said.

“It goes into the computer and one day it comes out, and they find out the one place where they’ll be,” he added.

For Le, the process lacked a sense of control he has had in other application experiences.

“The way you get in is so different from the way you get into college or medical school,” Le said. “You don’t get to see who takes you and decide from there. You have to kind of play your odds. … That’s why Match Day is so big, because you have no control over your fate, essentially.”

Between the champagne, strawberries and live band, aspiring doctors high-fived and hugged family members and fellow students after opening their results.

“I’m like shaking right now,” Cao said.

“It’s an accumulation of all our hard work,” Le said. “It’s a relief to be going somewhere.”


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