With the opening of an envelope, more than 100 osteopathic medical students at Western University of Health Sciences learned where their futures would take them.
WesternU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific celebrated Match Day March 21, 2014 on its Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore. campuses. Match Day celebrates medical students finding out what residency they will attend after graduation in May.
COMP’s Match Day celebration was timed to the release of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) 2014 Main Residency Match results at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. But it also celebrated COMP students who matched into other residency programs, including the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), military, and San Francisco Match, which were announced on different dates.
The COMP Class of 2014, which has slightly more than 200 students, had 108 students match through NRMP, 69 through AOA, 11 through the military, one through SF Match and one through the Canadian Resident Matching Service. Those who didn’t match into a residency will “scramble” to find a residency slot. COMP will continue to help these students find placement.
“This is an incredible time in your lives, and your career will be launched here. Congratulations to all of you and all your hard work,” said COMP Vice Dean and Medical Director David Connett, DO ’84. “At the end of the day, you’re osteopathic physicians and WesternU grads, and we would always love to hear from you. Keep us posted about where you’re going in life. If there’s anything any of us can do for you, give you advice, any time in your career, please contact us.”
Envelopes with students’ residency locations printed in a letter were pinned to the wall. Each student opened their envelope at the same time, resulting in hugs, smiles and tears of joy.
“I think finding out I matched was probably the most blessed feeling I ever had,” said COMP student Jennifer Fleishman, who matched into an internal medicine and pediatrics residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz. “Four long years, and finally the opportunity to feel your dreams have come true. It’s an indescribable feeling. I’m blessed and I’m thankful for the supportive people in my life.”
COMP student Gaurav Bansal matched into an anesthesiology residency at the University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals in Seattle, his first choice. Leading up to this week was one of the most intense experiences of his life, Bansal said. He flew across the country for residency interviews and decided the University of Washington had a great program and great people.
His four years of medical school passed slowly, but now that he’s nearing the end, it seems to have flown by, Bansal said.
“It’s been a great four years. I made a lot of amazing friends,” he said. “I’m happy for everyone else. All my friends matched. It’s a great day.”
Finding out where you matched means you have a new home, said COMP Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Susan Mackintosh, DO ’92, MPH.
“You’re going to be part of a new community and continue to evolve as a physician,” she said. “This is what it’s all about. This and graduation are probably the two most significant days of their medical school career.”
COMP did not have as elaborate a celebration when she graduated in 1992, Mackintosh said.
“It’s critical that we celebrate with them. We’ve been part of this journey along with them,” she said. “It’s a chance for us to celebrate their accomplishments and celebrate the next phase of their career.”