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WesternU COMP-Northwest students match into primary care medical residency programs

by Michelle Steinhebel

March 17, 2017

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Medical students from Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) celebrated Match Day today, Friday, March 17. With a clock counting down to 9 a.m., students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) waited anxiously to open their envelopes, learning where they will complete their post-graduate medical training.

When the countdown ended, students discovered almost two-thirds of the class of future physicians will go into primary care medical residency programs.

Ginger Cupit, DO Class of 2017 class representative, was one of 32 students who matched into a family medicine residency program.

“I feel immensely overwhelmed and grateful,” she said. Cupit will join the Family Medicine Residency Program at Georgetown University’s Providence Hospital in Washington D.C. “I am so thankful for the incredible opportunities COMP-Northwest and Lebanon has blessed me with these past four years. I can truly say I’m leaving here a better person and am more prepared to take on the next chapter of my education.”

The Match is a system hosted by the National Resident Matching Program, in which medical students obtain residency positions in U.S. accredited training programs. Medical students across the country who participate in the Match open envelopes at the same time revealing their medical residency program. The Match represents the culmination of undergraduate and medical school education, which in most cases means a minimum of eight years of study.

Of the 96 WesternU COMP-Northwest students who participated in the Match, 62 will go into primary care fields including family medicine (32), internal medicine (20), pediatrics (seven), and OB-GYN (three).

More than 65 percent of WesternU COMP-Northwest’s Class of 2017 call the Northwest home. Twenty-seven students from the DO Class of 2017 will complete their residency training in the Northwest: 15 in Oregon; 12 in Washington; four in Idaho; and one in Wyoming.

Some students went through the Match process as a couple. Fourth-year medical students Nick Daskalakis matched into anesthesia and Helen Liu matched into OB-GYN, both with residency programs at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

 “The couples match was stressful. It was tough just trying to figure out what is best for us and where we could potentially be together,” Daskalakis said. “Not only anxiety and stress, but lots of planning how to best position ourselves during our fourth year, too.”

“It was a lot of coordination and a lot of compromise,” Liu said.

Both interviewed with seven post-graduate medical training programs.

“I am so relieved,” Daskalakis said. “And I’m really excited,” Liu added. “But I could barely open that envelope.”

In addition to the Cleveland Clinic, students matched into prestigious programs such as the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, and Dartmouth College’s Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire.

After students opened the envelopes, the room filled with hugs and cheers as the news of their residency locations and specialties were announced.

“Know that you will always be a part of the family at COMP-Northwest. We welcome you back at any time,” said Paul Aversano, DO, professor of internal medicine, during a toast of the students.

At COMP’s Pomona campus, 209 students matched into post-graduate medical programs.

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.

Commencement for WesternU COMP-Northwest’s Class of 2017 will be held on Friday, June 2, 2017. This will be the third class of graduating physicians from COMP-Northwest. More information on the ceremony can be found by visiting COMP-Northwest’s Commencement webpage.

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