Student doctors were on campus Friday, March 20, 2015 to celebrate the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific’s (COMP) Match Day, which had much of the drama and excitement usually associated with a televised awards ceremony.

The countdown began at 9 a.m. to open envelopes identifying where fourth-year medical students would match for their residency, and nerves and excitement were in ample supply as they ripped open their envelopes. Screams of joy, shrieks, high-fives, hugs, and a few surprised looks quickly ensued as the students learned where the next three to seven years of their medical careers would take them.

The ceremony was held for Western University of Health Sciences’ COMP Class of 2015 students who matched through the ACGME (allopathic), the AOA (osteopathic), military, San Francisco, and Canadian matches. About 64 percent of students placed into ACGME residencies, and 32 percent into AOA residencies.

COMP-Northwest, WesternU’s second medical school campus in Lebanon, Oregon, also held a Match Day. Of its 104 fourth-year students who participated in Match Day, 36 were on hand to reveal their matches. These students are part of the inaugural class that will graduate June 5. COMP-Pomona had 221 fourth-year students participate in Match Day, and more than 130 were on hand for the ceremony. Many brought family for support and celebration.

“As each year goes by, getting placed into a residency program becomes more competitive,” said Lisa Warren, DO ’01, COMP Director of Career Development and chair of the Department of Pediatrics. “This year, the ACGME match set an all-time high in applicants. There were over 41,000 total applicants applying for 30,000 positions. Our students were very competitive in this match, with most students matching one of their top three choices. We have currently over a 99 percent match placement.”

After students were called to the podium to announce their name and specialty residency program with location, their information was pinned to an electronic map displayed on one of the lecture hall screens. About 60 percent of the student doctors matched in primary care fields, which include internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and OB-GYN.

Other specialties included armed forces; physical medicine and rehabilitation; surgery; emergency medicine; anesthesiology; and ophthalmology.

“The reveal process was nerve-wracking,” COMP student Jonathan Smith said “I was very apprehensive about opening the envelope, but when I opened it and saw it, I was so happy.”

Smith learned he got into Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, California. It was his first choice, because the program offers a sports medicine fellowship and it’s close to his home in Fontana.

His wife, Leesie, chimed in excitedly, saying “I’m ecstatic we get to stay home, because now we can start our family.”

COMP and COMP-Northwest Dean Paula M. Crone, DO, who was on location at COMP-Northwest in Oregon, said Match Day represents a special milestone for WesternU COMP students.

“Our students have worked so hard to get to this stage of their educational journey,” she said. “I am proud of each of them and feel that their future patients are going to be in great hands.”