Shira Einstein survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 15 with the support of an excellent medical team at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
On March 16, this now fourth-year OHSU medical student joined her classmates in opening their Match Day envelopes to learn that she will become a member of the extended team that saved her life a decade ago, as a pediatrics resident at Doernbecher.
As her classmates’ shrieks, cheers and tears erupted across the third-floor learning studio at the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, Einstein’s father picked up his now healthy and grown little girl and twirled her around in celebration.
“It seems like just yesterday that she was a patient here,” Josh Einstein said.
“It’s closing the circle for her from patient to doctor at the same facility, the same place,” said her mom, Elana Einstein. “What a journey.”
OHSU’s 100 percent match bodes well for new curriculum
Run by the National Resident Matching Program, Match Day is when, all across the country at exactly the same time (9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time), fourth-year medical students learn where they will spend the next three to seven years as resident-physicians – and where many of them will ultimately stay on to practice medicine.
This year’s match was especially significant for OHSU because the M.D. class of 2018 is the first full group to experience the YOUR MD curriculum, a more personalized, integrated learning experience that favors active learning and allows students to demonstrate competency in core areas, in some cases graduating sooner than the standard four years.
By Friday, OHSU learned that 100 percent of the class of 2018 had matched to a residency program, a key indicator that the curriculum is generating desirable, well-prepared emerging physicians. The national average for matching is 93 percent.
“Match Day is a celebration of our medical students' incredibly hard work to master the skills and knowledge to become physicians and to identify the areas in which they wish to begin to specialize,” said OHSU School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson, M.D., who came to the celebration to congratulate students and families.
“That the match is experienced by all fourth-year medical students across the country at the exact same time makes it not only a rite of passage, but a day when we as a profession focus on, and commit to meeting, the physician workforce needs in communities large and small to fulfill our obligation to society,” Anderson said.
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 147 soon-to-be-minted OHSU School of Medicine physicians matched in 25 different disciplines at 76 institutions across the nation. Destinations include:
- 38 (26 percent) will train in Oregon – 34 at OHSU in one of more than 80 graduate medical education programs.
- 100 will stay in the western region; 23 will head to the northeast; 13 to the central region; and 11 to the south.
By specialty, 60 students, or 41 percent of the class, chose primary care residencies (internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics). While some will end up in subspecialties, the trend bodes well for meeting the demand for primary care physicians.
A medical community moment
Match Day is a labor of love and a communal moment for the medical school leaders, staff, faculty and alumni. The staff arranged a buffet breakfast and laid out the envelopes containing each student’s match information across a long table, while a slide show of student snapshots from their medical school years looped on a big screen. Teaching faculty roamed the room sharing handshakes and hugs with students and their families.
The OHSU School of Medicine Alumni Association handed out shirt-shaped cookies frosted in blue to resemble doctors’ scrubs and sponsored a photo booth.
Joanne Jene, M.D., OHSU School of Medicine Class of 1960, an anesthesiologist and emeritus member of the Alumni Association Council, shared her Match Day experience in the pre-smart phone/internet days. She called the OHSU registrar from a payphone amid a road trip to learn she matched to Philadelphia General Hospital.
“Remember that you will forever be an ambassador for OHSU,” Jene said. “And we will cherish the fact that soon you will be a forever alum of this fine institution.”
The emcee role is played by Student Affairs Assistant Deans Nicole Deiorio, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, and Ben Schneider, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. At 8:55 a.m., Schneider invited students to come get their envelopes. At exactly 9 a.m., the envelope opening began.
Medicine as an avocation
Soon after, fourth-year med student Skender Najibi, a first-generation college student from an Afghani immigrant family, was jumping for joy with his wife, brother and parents who came up from California.
Najibi earned a spot in the family medicine residency at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in California, where his patients will include the underserved families he is most passionate about supporting.
“As a minority, the health disparities that I witnessed within my own family, empowered me and created a sense of responsibility for me to enter this profession,” Najibi said.
Fourth-year student Liz Kinsey cried tears of happiness with her mom and stepfather upon learning she matched to Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s in New York where she will be surrounded by family. Raised in San Antonio, Texas, Kinsey’s grandmother, from a Mexican migrant worker family of nine children, told her: “Study hard, mija, and you can have a better life one day.”
Kinsey went on to create her own major in global health entrepreneurship as a Harvard University undergrad and a rotation in Oaxaca, Mexico, while in med school at OHSU. She will serve in obstetrics and gynecology at Mt. Sinai.
For Shira Einstein, the happiness of staying at OHSU was all the sweeter because her classmate and best friend, Margo Roemeling, matched in Oregon too.
Roemeling, who along with Einstein, was featured in an inspirational video series created by the American Medical Association, grew up on a farm outside Albany, Oregon. Roemeling matched to the OHSU Cascades East Family Medicine Residency in Klamath Falls, which specializes in training residents as rural physicians.
“I’m going to move back to a rural area. That’s where I feel at home. Those are my people,” Roemeling said. “I want to serve where I can have the biggest impact, with the people who need me most.”
Contributors include Rosina Grove, Lucia Stenzel-Poore and Franny White.