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Match Day: OHSU’s future MDs learn their fate tomorrow

Note to Editors: Six fourth-year OHSU School of Medicine students, three of them Oregonians, have agreed to be available for interviews during this event. Three are matching in internal medicine, one in emergency medicine and one in obstetrics/gynecology.
WHAT: Match Day

WHERE: OHSU Auditorium (Old Library Building)

WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

Tomorrow morning the students completing their undergraduate medical education at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine will learn what they will be doing for at least the next three years and, in all likelihood, the specialty they will work in for the rest of their careers in medicine. A total of 128 students are slated to receive their MD degrees in June.*

Decisions spit out of a computer in Washington, D.C., will be made known tomorrow – at exactly the same moment across the country – to every graduating fourth-year medical student seeking a hospital internship. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), utilizing a computer algorithm, places applicants in residencies opening up this summer at hospitals across the country. It’s the gateway to the next stage of a medical school graduate’s education when they will work as apprentice doctors, which for most will be their first paying jobs in medicine. Each student submits a ranked list of residency programs they prefer. Nearly 60 percent will match to their first choice, according to NRMP. But the computer’s dictates are final. There’s no negotiation.

“Match Day this year carries special import coming as it does in the same week as the national health care debate reaches its climactic moments,” said Mark Richardson, M.D., M.Sc.B., M.B.A., dean of the OHSU School of Medicine.  “Our graduating students will not only learn where they will train in the next stage of their careers – some of them right here at OHSU – but may also witness the beginning of a profound change in the health care system in which they will be practicing.”

The day is the culmination of a process in which students have sweated over their applications, traveled for interviews to medical centers all over the country, most spending thousands of dollars to do so, and agonized over their final choices. “It’s been a very emotional, exciting, scary experience for my class,” said Sharl S. Azar, president of the 2010 class and a Portland native who plans to go into internal medicine. “I have no doubt about my classmates’ chances. I really firmly believe that they are going to do exceptionally well in this match. And I know they’re going to make amazing physicians.”

It’s a day filled with personal dramas. Husbands, wives, significant others and sometimes even extended family members face long-distance moves and potentially wrenching lifestyle changes. For that reason, the envelope opening ritual is open to family and friends who come to share in the anguish or joy.   

“Veteran physicians decades later remember their own Match Days more vividly than almost any other in their careers,” said Tana A. Grady-Weliky, M.D., associate dean for undergraduate medical education. “After four years of dissecting cadavers, classroom instruction, labs, and rotations in the basic medical specialties, this is the day when medical students learn whether or not they will get to train in the specialty they want to make their life’s work and if they will get to do it at one of the medical centers at the top of their list of preferences.”

[*A total of 116 graduating OHSU School of Medicine seniors are participating in the NRMP Main Match, the results of which will be disclosed tomorrow. Twelve others in the class participated in alternate match programs and already know the results.]

About NRMP
The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is a private, not-for-profit organization established in 1952 to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants to U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors for those applicants. Each year, 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors and 15,000 graduates of osteopathic, Canadian or foreign medical schools compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions. The NRMP is sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Hospital Association, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies.

About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and Oregon’s only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.
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