One of my favorite milestones in the academic calendar is the day that our fourth-year students learn their residency destinations. The excitement is palpable—and the room’s noise level is nearly so!—when students gather with family and friends to learn where they will spend the next several years of their lives.
Fourth-year student Kevin Lee slowly opens his envelope and then celebrates with classmates. He’s going to his first-choice residency destination: VCU’s Fairfax Family Medicine Residency.
As it happens, this year’s Match Day brought exceptionally good news for our medical school. Ninety-six percent of our students matched to their choice of residency program. That’s compared to a 93 percent national rate.
Of our 170 students who participated in the Match, I was pleased to see that 56 elected to pursue primary care specialties like family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine. As we work to reverse the forecasted physician shortage, particularly in the primary care fields, I applaud the choice that these students have made. It’s one that is vital to the future of our nation’s health.
And I was equally impressed to see how many matched into this year’s most competitive residencies like dermatology and orthopaedic surgery. These well-prepared students will carry our name out to medical centers across the country, including Johns Hopkins, UC San Francisco, Yale and Brown. I am confident that the compassion and skill they demonstrate will continue to build the solid reputation our school enjoys. It’s that reputation that opened doors for these students. They’ll do their part to open the door wider for the next class.
But Match Day is a two-way street and even as we say goodbye to one group of students, we’re welcoming another. The medical center had remarkable news as well: all our training programs were fully filled with our program directors’ top choices! This is virtually unheard of and it’s the first time in at least 16 years that it’s happened for us. Normally, the days leading up to match are spent on the phone, talking to colleagues at other schools to find qualified students to fill a few remaining slots.
But this year, I believe we were better positioned that ever before to attract an exceptional group. Our program directors have earned a reputation for very strong leadership and are known to expend a great deal of time and effort in providing the best education possible for our residents. The opening of our Critical Care Hospital was also very important to our prospective trainees.
As a result, in July, we’ll welcome 165 students from 47 medical schools in 25 states. That includes 46 of our own medical students who will stay on for their training, either here on the MCV Campus or at one of our family medicine residency programs located around the state.
Match Day is a great day. And it was particularly so this year. I salute our students and their accomplishments. And I thank their families and friends whose support has been a vital ingredient for their success.
Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System