From left, Class of 2018 M.D. seniors Kelsea Anderson, Riley O'Hara and Theresa Gattari, show off their Match results from Match Day 2018, held March 16, 2018 at the MGM Grand Detroit.
Friday's Match Day celebration for the Wayne State University School of Medicine Class of 2018, held in the MGM Grand Detroit's grand ballroom, was the penultimate celebration of at least the last four years for nearly 300 physicians in training who will graduate in June, resulting in a 98.32 percent residency match rate for the Class of 2018's Match participants.
"This is not an easy road. Your instructors here demand much, and your patients will do the same," said School of Medicine Dean Jack D. Sobel, M.D., who welcomed everyone wearing his white physician's coat because he came directly to the event from clinic appointments with his patients.
"We work hard to earn their trust, and maintain a reputation that has continued for 150 years. To all the Warriors today - congratulations," he said.
The Match Day event for the Class of 2018 mirrored events held at medical schools throughout the country, and follows the protocol of the National Resident Matching Program, a private non-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions of graduate medical education in the United States.
"We choose a program, and they choose us," said Monica Thipparthi, vice president of the Class of 2018 Student Senate. "I wish for each and every one of you to match at the place of your dreams."
WSU's rate surpasses this year's national match rate of 94.27 percent for allopathic students, in a year that saw 43,909 applicants apply for 32,910 available residency positions in the United States. A total of 19,312 U.S. seniors participated in the Match.
WSU students will fill residency slots in 23 different specialties, the top three being Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, with 48.1 percent of the Class of 2018 getting a spot in one of their top three choices.
Students were informed via email March 12 whether they matched with one of their preferred residencies following interviews that began in late 2017. The physicians-in-training will receive their medical degrees in June, and start residencies in July throughout the United States.
In Detroit, more than 900 students, faculty, staff and family counted down the seconds before their sons, daughters, wives, husbands and siblings opened envelopes containing their residency assignment for the next three to seven years, depending on their specialty. Only minutes before the countdown to noon, envelopes were placed in the hands of the 299 senior student match participants in the Class of 2018.
"I was just excited to find out where I'm going next, and start making plans," said an exuberant Elyse Schultz.
Schultz had just found out that one of her top picks for an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency - at Loyola University in Chicago - had selected her to join their program.
A hefty 51.8 percent of WSU's Class of 2018 are staying in Michigan though. The increase is great news for a state with a projected physician shortage, as studies show that residents who train in Michigan often remain here for the majority of their careers.
Another 41.1 percent will enter primary care residencies, which includes Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and other specialties.
Andrew Darmahkasih is moving across the country after graduation, and he couldn't be happier. He will begin a residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Orange County, a program affiliated with the University of California at Irvine.
"I fell in love with the program when I visited. It was pretty high on my ranking list, and I'm thrilled," he said.
Overall, 21 Michigan-based health systems and centers will welcome Wayne State University graduates to residencies this summer, including 40 to the Detroit Medical Center, 30 to Henry Ford Health System, 17 to the University of Michigan, 15 to Beaumont Health System, 14 Beaumont-Oakwood and more.
Students moving out of state will practice medicine in 32 states, at more than 70 hospitals, universities and medical centers, including Yale University's New Haven Hospital, Stanford University, Boston University Medical Center, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, George Washington University in D.C., Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and more.
Internal Medicine residencies were the most popular clinical discipline at WSU this year, with 55 students entering the specialty. Another 47 students will enter a Family Medicine program -- up more than 19 students from 2017 -- and 42 will enter Emergency Medicine.
Northwestern University-bound Nour El-Kashlan will begin her post-graduation life in what her father Hussam El-Kashlan, M.D., deemed a 'difficult' residency -- Otolaryngology. Dr. El-Kashlan is an Otolaryngologist himself, and teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
"I may have provided a good example unintentionally," he laughed. "We're very happy. Very proud. That's what she liked and what she wanted to do."
Before the matches were revealed, several awards honoring students and faculty were announced. The awards list included:
The Herman and Eva Blum Endowed Award: Nathan Nartker
Herbert Mendelson Enthusiasm for Medicine Endowed Scholarship: Donald Zeolla
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Faculty): David Amponsah, M.D.
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Student): Roy Akarakian
Wael Sakr, M.D. Annual Scholarship in Pathology: William Perry
Medical Alumni Senior Scholarship Award: Allison Lange
Class Marshal: Barbara Bosch, M.D.
Distinguished Service Awards: Alexa Thibodeau, Wafa Algahmi, Preeya Prakash, Megan Courtley, Lilly Jordan
Voluntary Faculty Awards: Scott Yaekle, M.D.
Penfil-Tischler Award: Jessica Thoe