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. COVID-19 caused some modifications to MU's usual Match Day group celebration, but at 11 a.m., students separately opened the envelopes to see where they've been accepted for the next stage of their training.
"Match Day is the culmination of four years of hard work that our students go through," said Laine Young-Walker, MD, associate dean for student programs and chair of the Department of Psychiatry. "This can be life-changing for our students. We couldn't celebrate all together as we traditionally have, but we came up with an alternate plan where students are picking up their match results from different locations around campus and then recording when they open their results so that we can share that moment with them."
The MU School of Medicine's Class of 2021 was highly sought after, with 97% of the students receiving a residency program match. Of that group, 27% will stay at MU for residency training, 37% will remain in the state and 32% will specialize in high-need care fields.
The National Resident Matching Program conducts an annual match process designed to optimize the choices of medical students and residency program directors. Students rank their residency program choices in order of preference, and program directors rank students. The data is put into a computer, and the best match for both is made. In the third week of March, results of the matches are announced. More than 48,000 medical school graduates compete for approximately 35,000 residency positions each year.
While the majority of medical students match through the National Resident Matching Program, an increasing number of students match through early residency match programs, which include urology, ophthalmology and military match.
In May, 122 students will graduate from the School of Medicine, including 26 who have spent the last two years learning at the Springfield Clinical Campus. The Springfield location was established in June 2016 in partnership with CoxHealth and Mercy health systems to address the physician shortage in Missouri and nationwide. The program allows medical students to train in precision health by learning the nuances of rural medicine firsthand.