Student-doctors from Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) Oregon campus participated in Match Day today, taking one of the final steps in their medical school career and marking another milestone for the inaugural class.

During today’s celebration, fourth-year medical students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) in Lebanon, Oregon opened envelopes revealing the location of their medical specialty. Each student then announced to the packed audience of more than 200 people, their medical residency specialty and the program’s location.

"I feel like a proud parent today," said COMP and COMP-Northwest Dean Paula M. Crone, DO. "Today represents a special milestone for WesternU COMP-Northwest and our 104 charter class students who have worked so hard to get to this stage of their educational journey."

Of COMP-Northwest’s 104 fourth-year medical students, more than 60 percent are from the Pacific Northwest. Almost a quarter of the students matched into a residency program located in Oregon or Washington.

Approximately 73 percent of the fourth-year osteopathic medical students matched in primary care fields, which include internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and OB-GYN.

Corvallis, Ore. native Abigail Schenkel was thrilled with her residency match. "It’s just an amazing thing to know that your hard work has finally paid off," Schenkel said. She will join Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a general surgery residency.

The Match represents the culmination of undergraduate and medical school education, which in most cases means a minimum of eight years of study.

"We are thrilled that 104 students from the inaugural class of COMP-Northwest successfully competed with more than 40,000 applicants for approximately 28,000 graduate medical education positions. The match success for this class far exceeded our expectations and national averages," said Elisabeth Guenther, MD, MPH, director of COMP-Northwest’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

At the ceremony, students were invited to pin on a map where they will complete their medical residency. The pins included locations across the Pacific Northwest to as far as Florida and New York.

"I matched into emergency medicine at Naval Medical Center in San Diego," said COMP-Northwest student Jenny Foti. "I am very excited to share in this day with all my classmates and see where they are all going and how all of their hard work has paid off for them. It’s a great day for everybody."

"Match Day is really exciting because it’s the day we all find out where we are going to be training for the next several years," said COMP-Northwest student Marie Chase. "It’s the culmination of all of our hard work in medical school." Chase matched in neurology and will complete her residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

While the day was exciting for students, it was also memorable for COMP-Northwest’s faculty members, such as John T. Pham, DO, vice chair of COMP-Northwest’s department of family medicine.

"It’s an emotional, but wonderful day for me as one of the inaugural faculty to be part of this celebration for our students," Dr. Pham said. "They are moving up into the ranks of physicians and I’m proud to be a part of this celebration and a part of training these students. It’s very humbling and I love this moment."

Dean Crone echoed Dr. Pham’s sentiment. "I am so proud of each of them and feel that their future patients are going to be in great hands," said Dean Crone.

Medical residency programs can range from three to seven years, depending on the specialty. For example, family practice is three years, while neurosurgery is seven years. Following residency, the physician is then able to set up practice in the community of their choice.