Celebration and anticipation

By Jan Jarvis

Lindsey Welch and John Myers

 

Match Day – the annual event where medical students learn which residency programs they will attend after graduating from UNT Health Science Center – is a cause for celebration and anticipation.

With the opening of envelopes at 11 a.m. on Friday, medical students across the country and at the Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine will learn the identities of the hospitals, cities and specialties where they will spend the next three to eight years.

For many, it’s a life-changing moment.

“I’ve done everything I can to give myself the best chance,” said Lindsey Welch, Vice President of TCOM’s Class of 2016. “Now I just have to trust the process.”

This year, 139 TCOM students will open their sealed envelopes during a Match Day ceremony at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, surrounded by family, friends, faculty and others who have supported them.

Forty-six members of this year’s class already discovered where they are headed next by matching into residencies affiliated with the U.S. military or the American Osteopathic Association. The match day event Friday is primarily for residencies affiliated with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

For many, getting to this moment is often a long and emotional roller coaster. Students must apply to residency programs during the fall semester of their fourth year and wait for interview invitations. Then they rank the programs where they interviewed to the National Residency Match Program. If all goes well, individuals are placed into one of their preferred programs that also ranked them favorably.

Landing one’s first choice can feel akin to winning the lottery. Getting to this point can be both stressful and expensive.

“A lot of students take out extra loans just to cover the financial burden of applying for a residency,” said John Myers, a fourth-year TCOM student.

TCOM produces more primary care physicians than any other medical school in Texas. Of the 220 graduates in 2015, 142 began residencies in primary care areas such as family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology or pediatrics.

The other 78 students from the Class of 2015 went into specialties such as emergency medicine, anesthesiology, general surgery or physical medicine and rehabilitation. Fifty percent of last year’s graduates stayed in Texas.

Welch said TCOM has prepared her for the next steps in her medical education, wherever she ends up.

“Once you get on the interview track, you start to realize how phenomenal the training is at places – even if they don’t have a big name,” Welch said. “There are opportunities everywhere.”

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