Their post-graduation residency placement is a mystery for the majority of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Class of 2021, with the traditional Match Day happening next month.
However, several members of the Warrior M.D. Class of 2021 who participated in early matches for post-graduation residency programs in the specialties of Urology and Ophthalmology, as well as the Military Match, already know where they’re headed after earning their medical degree in June.
Among the eight WSU students who matched into Urology is Hallie Wurst, whose placement Feb. 1 into the Urology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City is a wish come true. The Urology Residency Match Program is coordinated by the American Urological Association in conjunction with the Society of Academic Urologists.
“It was always a dream of mine to move to NYC since I was a little girl, so when I found out I matched there I was shocked and elated,” Wurst said. “My mom and dad worked, met and got married there before I was born, so I like to say the city is in my blood,”
Wurst developed a passion for sexual health while teaching sexual education in India before medical school, so Urology was a natural fit for her. “I loved that urologists treat a variety of medical conditions that have an impact on quality of life — whether that’s male/female incontinence, chronic kidney stones or prostate cancer.”
She admitted she is sad to be leaving Michigan in June. “But I am confident that Wayne has prepared me for any and all things that the Big Apple will throw my way. I selected Wayne for medical school because of the school’s emphasis on excellent urban health care. I will miss Detroit, my class and the wonderful sense of community Wayne State has offered to me,” she added.
Grand Rapids-area native Chandler Bronkema matched at Harvard Medical College’s Urology residency program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“This was at the top of my list, so I couldn’t be more excited,” he said. “When I found out I matched at MGH, I felt an instant sense of relief, excitement and an appreciation for the Lord, my family, my friends and the mentors who helped me get to this point.”
His path to choosing the specialty was less direct than his classmate Wurst.
“I was certain I wanted to pursue a surgical specialty because I found the opportunity to cure or significantly improve a patient's quality of life through surgical means to be a unique privilege. During my M2 year, I discovered an appreciation for the Urology faculty and residents I was fortunate to interact with through research,” Bronkema said. “I noticed that these individuals are high-achieving, ambitious and innovative, but at the same time are very personable, kind and are always looking to collaborate and lend a helping hand. This was a team I was excited to be a part of.”
He chose Wayne State for his medical degree because “I wanted to see it all in medical school,” he added. “The training at Wayne State afforded me the privilege to work with a diverse population and see a wide-range of pathology firsthand. I felt strongly that the other medical schools I was accepted at could not deliver the same experiences.”
The program director at the Harvard program followed up to congratulate him on the match, and he later celebrated with dinner and dessert.
Ten WSU medical students will begin Ophthalmology residencies in July, including Leo Hall, who also earned a master’s of science degree while at WSU. He matched with Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. He found out Feb. 1 via an email. The match is coordinated by the San Francisco Match Residency and Fellowship Matching Services, which also manages the plastic surgery residency.
“I was truly ecstatic to find out that I had matched at Wills. Wills is recognized as a global leader within Ophthalmology, and it is a true honor to be selected to train there, especially with a fellow Wayne State student, Collin Richards,” Hall said.
Hall received the news through the San Francisco Match portal, “and I literally jumped out of my chair when I read my match result,” he said. “On top of that, I was surrounded by my family, which made the experience that much more memorable. I am originally from Grosse Pointe Park, so it will be bittersweet to leave Michigan to move to Philadelphia, but I leave knowing that Wayne State gave me all the tools necessary to succeed. It was a privilege to have myriad opportunities to engage with research, service and leadership.”
He picked Wayne State because its tremendous reputation in training adept clinicians dedicated to serving others, particularly those in Detroit.
“I also greatly benefited from an amazing group of mentors without whom I would not be in the place I am currently,” he shared. “I also had the opportunity to continue the research I began as a research assistant in Dr. Tomomi Ichinose’s lab, so everything really did align for me by coming here.”
Hall’s classmate, Matt Martin, also learned Feb. 1 that he matched to his No. 1 pick – Kresge Eye Institute's Ophthalmology residency in Detroit.
"I was still in orientation for my Emergency Medicine rotation when I got the email, so I couldn’t jump up and down or anything, but I did notice I could not stand still for the rest of the orientation once I found out. It’s a huge weight off your shoulders to know everything you’ve ever worked for is beginning to pay off,” he said. “I think there’s a real opportunity here for me to help Kresge Eye Institute continue to do great things for their patients and for the city of Detroit.”
In addition to specialty results announced earlier this month, one student also matched with military programs Jan. 6. Among them is Amanda Emard.
She and her husband are moving to San Antonio, Texas, so she can attend the Emergency Medicine residency program at Brooke Army Medical Center, her top choice.
“We celebrated with a small gathering with my parents and in-laws, and everyone is very happy about the move,” she said. “I grew up in Armada and moved to Chesterfield Township before starting medical school, and we are very ready to get away from the snow and into the warm weather.”
The remaining members of the Class of 2021 will learn their residency match March 19 as participants in the National Residency Match Program’s Main Residency Match; and in the Canadian Resident Matching Service on April 20.