Ann Oluloro was in Head Start preschool when she asked her mother for a stethoscope for Christmas. From that moment, Lydia Michael, who immigrated from Nigeria to Portland, dedicated herself to her daughter’s path, piecing together part-time jobs to raise two girls as a single mom.
On Friday morning, Michael stood in nervous anticipation with Oluloro in a CLSB lecture hall crowded with fourth-year medical students, their families, friends and faculty, hosted by the OHSU School of Medicine and its Alumni Association. The students tore open their envelopes at 9:00 a.m. and erupted in cheers and tears as they learned where they would spend the next 5 to 7 years of their lives in residency training.
Match Day – during which the results from the National Resident Matching Program are released simultaneously to thousands of medical students across the country – is a celebration of the intense effort that students put forth to reach and succeed in medical school. It is also equally a moment about mentors and the thrill of letting their baby birds fly free.
“Match Day is a defining moment in every physician's journey,” said John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.R.C.S. Edin (hon.), interim dean, OHSU School of Medicine. "OHSU faculty are proud to be a part of this milestone and eager to see how these talented students positively impact the world of medicine.”
A computer algorithm determines which graduate medical education, or residency, program students will join, based on their application, interview and program preferences and the preferences of the programs to which they have applied.
This year’s group of 135 soon-to-be-minted OHSU School of Medicine physicians matched in 21 different disciplines. Destinations include:
- 30 will train in Oregon - 23 at OHSU in one of more than 80 graduate medical education programs.
- 85 will stay in the western region; 19 will head to the northeast; nine to the central region and 16 to the south.
By specialty, 56 students, or 41 percent of the class, chose primary care residencies (internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics). While some will end up in sub-specialties, the trend bodes well for meeting the demand for primary care physicians. (Download the Class of 2017 Match List here.)
Ishan Patel, president of the class of 2017 for all four years, was among students who matched to OHSU, his top choice for internal medicine. Within moments of opening his envelope, Patel phoned his girlfriend, also a medical school student, to say, “I got in! I got OHSU!”
Anfin “Andy” Erickson stood amid the crowd cuddling his younger daughter while the older child stood holding mom Karli Erickson’s hand and let the good news of their posting in Cooperstown, New York sink in. Erickson grew up biking distance from Whitefish, Mont. and followed his parents into medicine. He chose surgery, a specialty that provides a sense of accomplishment, feeds his wide curiosity and affords the opportunity to serve in a rural community.
“Historically there has been drastic shortages in surgical care in rural communities,” Erickson said. “The chance to fill that need definitely motivates me.”
Building the pipeline of rural providers is a key focus of OHSU School of Medicine. Erickson’s classmates Rita Aulie and Lisa Pearson spent Match Day in Klamath Falls, where their fourth year has been spent at the Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program as part of the Oregon Family Medicine Integrated Rural Student Training program. Friday morning, they learned that they would remain in Klamath Falls, joining six additional recruits as full-fledged interns in the residency program.
“So happy!” Aulie texted. “I can’t wait to be an intern and meet all the rest of my classmates.”
Oluloro, sparkling in a deep blue dress, shrieked and threw her arms around her mother upon reading the words on her match letter: University at Buffalo, among her top three choices.
Oluloro graduated from Portland’s Madison High School in the Health Occupations program, earning a coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship, which pays tuition through graduate school. She double majored in biochemistry and biology at the Robert D. Clark Honors College at University of Oregon and was accepted at five medical schools. Favoring St. Louis for its racial diversity, she chose OHSU because of Charles Thomas, M.D., professor and chair of radiation medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, and his wife Muriel Thomas.
“He was the first African American doctor that I had ever met,” Oluloro said. “He said, ‘If you come to OHSU, I will mentor you and get you where you need to be for your career.’ He has been true to his word.”
Friday was for Oluloro as much about celebration as it was about gratitude.
In addition to the support of her mother, her sister (who became a pharmacist) and Dr. Thomas, Oluloro gained role models through joining the OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s efforts to recruit and retain more students like her. And joining her at Match Day was Jill Ginsberg, M.D., medical director and co-founder of the North by Northeast Community Health Center, where Oluloro worked at the beginning of medical school, onboarding patients who had just gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"I'm overwhelmed,” Oluloro said. “I feel like I'm standing on the shoulders of so many - my mom, my sister, my friends and my mentors. I'm excited to go off to Buffalo and make them proud."