March Madness -With A Stethoscope

Medical Students to Meet Their Match

Just as basketball fans wait every year for the tradition, excitement and upsets of March Madness, medical students await the same with Match Day. Fourth-year medical students from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine will participate in Match Day at 11 a.m. Friday (March 16) at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center, 17th Street and University Ave.

Match Day is a nerve-wracking event that has played out on medical school campuses across the country since 1952. Approximately 174 TTUHSC School of Medicine students will participate in Match Day and learn where they will be for the next three to seven years for their residencies. The results are sealed in an envelope and are opened simultaneously at all of the nation’s medical schools.

“The Class of 2018 has a record of excellence in course work, patient care and community service,” said Steven L. Berk, M.D., TTUHSC executive vice president, provost and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are proud of our students’ accomplishments and share their excitement as they pursue their careers at outstanding teaching programs around the country.”

Months before Match Day, students begin applying to residency programs in their preferred specialties. Students visit sites to evaluate and ultimately rank their preferred residency programs. At the same time, administrators at each site interview applicants and rank them. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) coordinates this process and makes the final match algorithm, which is designed to produce results for students to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

Berk said although Match Day is celebrated for one day, the event is actually a week-long process. The process of Match Day is celebrated at the 141 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Starting on the Monday of Match week, applicants are informed whether they have been matched to a residency program of their choice, but the student is not told the name of that program. The same day, the locations of remaining unfilled residency positions are released to the unmatched applicants.

This year also marks the first class matching from the Covenant Branch. Twenty-six medical students from the Covenant Branch will match in various specialties. The TTUHSC School of Medicine Covenant Branch is an alternate training site for students staying in Lubbock who wish to experience community–based medicine. Located a short distance from TTUHSC campus, The TTUHSC School of Medicine Covenant Branch officially opened July 2016 with third-year clerkships.

“The diversity of their experience in this setting greatly enhanced their overall educational knowledge base,” said Robert Salem, M.D., Founding Vice Dean for Covenant Branch Medical Education Programs. “Covenant provided the students with the unique learning opportunity of “one-on-one” training with over 100 of Covenant’s private practicing physicians.  We look forward with great enthusiasm to see where these students will match.”

The match was established in 1952, at the request of medical students, to provide a fair and impartial transition from medical school to residency. In 2017, the NRMP enrolled 4,901 residency programs in the match, which altogether offered 31,526 positions. There were a total of 59,914 U.S. and international applicants for these positions, 30,549 of who were U.S. senior medical students.

Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.