At right, Andrew Rubens celebrates with other senior students.
From left, senior medical student Chris Koziara, daughter Emi, and wife Heather at Match Day.
Jacqueline Cartier holds up the Match Day letter announcing her acceptance into the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Internal Medicine residency program.
Four years of intense study, sleepless nights and exhausting rotations all came down to a fragmented sentence on a stark white sheet of paper.
The annual Match Day ceremony for the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s senior students culminated at noon March 16 inside the Grand Ballroom of the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit. Minutes before, thin, unassuming green and gold envelopes were placed in the hands of the 289 senior students who make up the class of 2012, who were waiting not so patiently along with the thousands of other medical school seniors across the country.
Inside the envelope was another assignment, this one life-changing -- it told where they were headed to continue their medical training in residency programs for the next three to seven years.
The envelopes were opened simultaneously throughout the United States precisely when the clock struck noon Detroit time.
“This has been a phenomenal match, and I am extraordinarily proud of you,” said Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., addressing the students.
An outstanding 96 percent of the 289 senior medical students in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2012 successfully matched with at least one of their top three picks, a rate 2 percent higher than the school’s 2002-2011 average.
A whopping 59.5 percent of them are staying in Michigan, said Lisa MacLean, M.D., assistant dean of Student Affairs and Career Development. That’s good news for a state with a projected physician shortage, as studies show that residents who train in Michigan often remain here for the majority of their careers.
Nearly 900 students, faculty, staff and family counted down the seconds before their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and siblings learned just where they were going to live and work for at least the next three years.
Most students refused to utter their top pick to anyone for fear they might jinx what was in the envelope.
The annual ceremony and celebration was followed by a toast and reception.
“Just relieved and excited,” said Andrew Rubens, 27, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. That’s how the future anesthesiologist described his big smile after learning he received his top pick – a residency at the University of Vermont. He took a moment to pose for a group photo with what he called his “med school family.” The group of gentlemen sat together at a table together, erupting into high fives, raucous handshakes and plenty of hugs as they learned each others’ fates.
Nationally, more than 95 percent of U.S. medical school seniors -- the highest rate in 30 years -- have matched to residency positions, according to data released March 16 by the National Resident Matching Program.
Of those who will soon begin residencies in Michigan health care facilities, the majority will practice at the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health Systems and Beaumont Hospitals, a testament, Dean Parisi said, to the strength of the partnerships and affiliations developed between the School of Medicine and hospitals in the region. Thirty-two are staying right where they are, earning residencies in the eight programs sponsored by WSU at the Detroit Medical Center, Oakwood Hospital and Crittenton Hospital.
Among them was Chris Koziara, who learned he received placement in his top pick – the orthopedic surgery program at Oakwood. “It’s what I wanted to do, and it’s what I love,” said Koziara, a Beverly Hills, Mich., resident.
He learned he was accepted to medical school on the way to his wedding ceremony more than four years ago, and will graduate with his classmates on May 22, 2012 -- his birthday. “I believe a lot in faith, and I think everything happens for a reason,” he said.
The father received a congratulatory hug from his wife, Heather, and their 17-month-old daughter, Emi.
“When we had her, everything changed. Doing well in medical school was still a priority, but I did better. I have to do well so I can provide for my family,” he said.
He’ll have five years of residency, and likely a couple more years of a fellowship to participate in as well. He’s used to the long haul -- he has two undergraduate degrees in mathematics and engineering, and a master’s degree in system engineering. He worked for six years as an engineer at DaimlerChrysler before entering medical school.
The 41.5 percent of residents heading out of state will practice medicine in 30 U.S. states and Canada, at the Mayo School of Graduate Education in Minnesota; George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; Queens University in Toronto, Canada, Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts and 86 other prestigious hospitals, universities and medical centers.
Those moving include Jacqueline Cartier, 25, a Royal Oak resident and Boston native who wanted a program in a big city. She was ecstatic to be headed for University of Illinois at Chicago, for a residency in Internal Medicine. Cartier’s mother is a 1977 graduate of WSU’s medical school.
Across the country, 16,875 allopathic seniors in the U.S. participated in the match – up from 15,692 four years ago. In all 38,377 allopathic and osteopathic applicants applied for 26,772 residencies.
Internal medicine residencies were the most popular clinical discipline this year, with 40 students entering such programs. Another 37 students will enter an emergency medicine program, and 30 will enter family medicine. Other chosen specialties included urology, pediatrics and psychiatry.
The National Resident Matching Program is a private, non-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appoint to positions of graduate medical education in the U.S.
(For more photos of Match Day 2012, click here).
Before the matches were revealed, several awards honoring students and faculty were announced. The awards list included:
Class Marshall: Michael Stellini, M.D.
Voluntary Faculty Awards: David Amponsah, M.D.; Hubert Huebl, M.D.; Gregory Mahr, M.D.
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Faculty): Margit Chadwell, M.D.
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Student): Kristy Kelel
Medical Alumni Senior Scholarship Award: Gary Rajah
Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Medical Alumni Association Endowed Prize: Melinda Schaller
Class of 2012 Academic Achievement Awards: Freshman Year, Hassan Beydoun; Sophomore Year, Gary Rajah; Junior Year, Hassan Beydoun, Reilly Hobbs, Leslie Phillips, Andrew Prout, Gary Rajah and Saba Zabetian; Senior Year, Andrew Hanosh
Elvis Smith Alford, M.D., and Nellie Corbin Alford Memorial Award: Hassan Beydoun
Marjorie Edwards Prize for Scholarship and Community Service: Carla Bryant
Herbert Mendelson Enthusiasm for Medicine Endowed Scholarship: Leanne Lawwell
Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards: Melinda Schaller, Michael Warren, Rebecca Kornas, Reilly Hobbs
Penfil-Tischler Award: Niharika Ahuja