Courtney Bylsma, wife of medical student Ryan Bylsma, and daughter Kaiya, left, 10 weeks old, and son Jase, 2, celebrate at Match Day 2013.
Rachel Gordezky is headed to a residency in Pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Friends LaKisha Marshall, left, Chanae Dixon and Erica Louden opened each other's envelopes instead of their own, at the Wayne State University School of Medicine's Class of 2013 residency Match Day.
Monserrat Santillano, left, with fiance Jon Lechich, shows off her Internal Medicine residency letter at Match Day 2013.
At approximately 11:59 a.m. and 50 seconds today, nearly 300 senior medical students started the next chapter in their medical careers with a countdown fit for a NASA launch. What followed was a collectively raucous round of cheers, screams, hugs, high fives, thumbs up and even a few chairs knocked over in excitement.
The annual Match Day ceremony for the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s senior students was held today inside the Grand Ballroom of the Motor City Conference Center in Detroit. The event mimicked others like it going on simultaneously across the country.
In Detroit, nearly 900 students, faculty, staff and family counted down the seconds before their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and siblings opened envelopes containing their residency assignment. The letters included the institution name, location and their chosen specialty.
Minutes before the countdown, thin, unassuming green and gold envelopes were placed in the hands of the 274 senior students who make up the Class of 2013, waiting with 29,014 allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic (D.O.) medical school seniors across the United States.
While it could have been a surprise assignment for some, at WSU 98.5 percent of students matched with one of their top three picks.
“This is our Super Bowl,” said Maryjean Shenk, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., WSU vice dean of Medical Education. “When you match into a residency program, the program director recognizes your potential to excel in your chosen specialty and to become an awesome practicing physician that provides outstanding care to their patients.”
This year’s match rate is 2.5 percent higher than last year’s, and 4.8 percent higher than the national average released today by the National Resident Matching Program, a private non-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions of graduate medical education in the United States.
“This is kind of it,” said Nicholas Morelli, Class of 2013 president, who was among the day’s speakers. “This is what we’ve waited for, for a long time.”
A whopping 52.3 percent of the Class of 2013 is staying in Michigan, said Lisa MacLean, M.D., assistant dean of Student Affairs and Career Development. That’s great 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. Another 35.8 percent will enter primary care residencies.
“I’ve been looking at the calendar for this date for months. I’m really just antsy about where I’m going,” said Ryan Bylsma, a father of two from Birmingham, Mich. His children, 2-year-old Jase and 10-week-old Kaiya, were in attendance, along with wife Courtney, and both sets of grandparents.
“I am interested in general surgery, so it’s just about where,” he said, hoping for a position that would keep him close to family in either Chicago or Grand Rapids.
He matched with his No. 1 choice – a surgery residency with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners. He was going home.
Mexico-born Monserrat Santillano of Detroit was also going home, just in a different way. Although she grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Detroit to attend medical school, she hoped for a position in Chicago. Before opening her envelope, though, she admitted that anywhere was fine.
She will begin a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
“I’m very happy because my fiancé lives in Chicago,” she said.
No wedding date is set, but that could change soon, said her fiancé, Jon Lechich.“It all worked out. This will make things easier to pick (a date),” he said.
For those staying in Michigan, the majority will practice at the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health Systems and the University of Michigan Health System, a testament to the strength of the partnerships and affiliations developed between the School of Medicine and hospitals in the region.
Thirty-two students matched with their soon-to-be alma mater, earning residencies in the programs sponsored by WSU at the Detroit Medical Center, Oakwood Hospital and Crittenton Hospital. They include Erica Louden, Ph.D., a Chicago native with a doctorate in cell biology who came to the School of Medicine on the advice of her cousin, a recent graduate. She will begin an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at the Detroit Medical Center’s Hutzel Women’s Hospital. The specialty is one she has dreamed of for years. “I’ve known for a long time. I’ve been in school too long. I’m excited. I’m happy,” she said.
The 47.7 percent of residents heading out of state will practice medicine in 23 states and Canada, at Yale University’s New Haven Hospital, the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Minnesota, Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland; University of Chicago Medical Center in Illinois, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and 84 other prestigious hospitals, universities and medical centers.
Across the country, 17,856 allopathic seniors participated in the match in 2013, just over 1,000 more than in 2012. Combined, 57,960 allopathic and osteopathic applicants from the U.S., Canada and other countries applied for 29,171 U.S. residencies.
Internal Medicine residencies were the most popular clinical discipline at WSU this year, with 61 students entering such programs. Another 33 students will enter an Emergency Medicine program and 25 will enter Family Medicine. Twenty-seven will participate in a transitional year before beginning their specialty training. Other chosen specialties included radiology, pediatrics and pathology.
Before the matches were revealed, several awards honoring students and faculty were announced. The awards list included:
Class Marshall: Dr. Barbara Bosch
Voluntary Faculty Awards: Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, Dr. Scott Yaekle, Dr. Elie Chidiac
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Faculty): Dr. James Meza
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Student): Dr. Paul Thomas
Medical Alumni Senior Scholarship Award: Benjamin Strong
Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Medical Alumni Association Endowed Prize: Alixandra Scheufler
Class of 2012 Academic Achievement Awards: Freshman Year, Shawn Gappy; Sophomore Year, Benjamin Strong; Junior Year, Jeffrey Grenville, Ryan Kochanski, Matthew Nelson, Zain Rizvi, Alixandra Scheufler and Benjamin Strong; Senior Year, Jeffrey Grenville, Tarana Mohammadi, Neha Narula, Holly Novack, Shruti Ramakrishna, Lindsay Sklar
Elvis Smith Alford, M.D., and Nellie Corbin Alford Memorial Award: Kyle Nappo
Marjorie Edwards Prize for Scholarship and Community Service: LaKisha Marshall
Herbert Mendelson Enthusiasm for Medicine Endowed Scholarship: Lauren Schapiro
Dean’s Distinguished Leadership Awards: Rachel Harrison, Lauren Holmquist, James Howard, Bruce Kaczmarek, Kimberly Ku, Adrienne Lee, Gabriel Moreno, Nicholas Morelli, Alixandra Scheufler, Mark Shamoun, Michelle Smith, Kevin Taliaferro, Paul Thomas, Jessica Vavra, George Ventro
Distinguished Service Awards: Donald Brown, Rachel Harrison, Lauren Holmquist, James Howard, Sharmin Kalam, Emily Ketterer, Adrienne Lee, Nicholas Morelli, Alixandra Scheufler, Mark Shamoun, Puja Sheth, Michelle Smith, Kevin Taliaferro, Paul Thomas, Jessica Vavra, Andrew Vollman
Penfil-Tischler Award: Paul Thomas