Medical Students Anticipate Residency Match Results Despite COVID-19 Challenges

2017 Match Day Mizzou Med Banner

Match Day is the annual event in which fourth-year medical students around the nation simultaneously learn where they will spend the next three to seven years as resident doctors. MU’s Match Day ceremony normally is held in the medical school’s Acuff Gallery, with family and friends gathering with students. Because of heightened concerns about COVID-19, this year’s ceremony will be virtual.

School of Medicine faculty and student leaders decided the best way to celebrate the day while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines is to allow fourth-year medical students to pick up envelopes with their residency results from the School of Medicine at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 20. Match results will also be available that morning online through the National Resident Matching Program system.

Students can either pick up their envelope and leave the facility to open it with friends and loved ones or have a modified envelope-opening event with other students at the PCCLC. Students will be directed into designated rooms that will contain no more than 10 people at a time.

To virtually share this special day with classmates, all students are encouraged to record their at-home celebrations and to share their photos and videos through a private link with the MU Health Care media team to be compiled into a highlight video. Students and their families are encouraged to tag pictures and videos on social media with #Match2020 and #MizzouMed.

Leading up to Match Day, students interview with U.S. teaching hospital program directors. Students rank their top residency program choices in order of preference, and program directors rank the students. The NRMP Program uses this data to match each student to a program.

Katherine Meidl will learn where she will begin practice as a resident psychiatrist.

“I'm really passionate about bringing psychiatric care and mental health services to groups of people that are underserved, whether that's patients in rural areas or patients in urban areas that lack resources to get mental health care,” Meidl said. “I’m looking forward to that satisfaction and gratification that you worked for four years and on Match Day you get recognition that another program and your home program believes in you and what you're trying to achieve. That’s going to be an incredible feeling.”

Manoj Palavalli and Elena Randazzo know they will serve their residencies together, but they aren’t sure where that will be. They met in a patient-based learning (PBL) lab during the first block of their first year at the School of Medicine. Now, they’re a couple.

“Because I’m in a couples match and plastic surgery has more residency application rules than other specialties, I really have no idea where we’re going, and it’s going to be a shock regardless,” Palavalli said. The couples match process may even match Palavalli in a different specialty, like General Surgery.

“I think what I’ve valued the most about being at Mizzou is that it allows us to create a community with our classmates,” said Randazzo, who hopes to pursue physical medicine and rehabilitation. “With the way that our PBL curriculum is structured, I've been able to form really strong friendships and build a family away from home.”

Medical students in select specialties and those who serve in the military received early residency placement results.

“I know my match already so I’m excited to see what my friends will be going into,” Andrew Moulton, who will move with his wife and daughter to San Antonio to begin his pediatrics residency and continue his military service. “It’s kind of bittersweet because we’re all going our separate ways, but I’m super proud and excited for them at the same time.” Sara Krachmalnick, who matched into an ophthalmology residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center in January, can’t wait to see where her close friend Lauren Gillespie matches.

“My best friend is in my class, and we've been together since we were 18 as undergrads from Mizzou, and so seeing where she'll be heading is a really exciting thing for me on Match Day,” Krachmalnick said. “We met the first week of college, worked together after college and have been roommates all of med school.”