Match Day is nearly here for the nation’s medical students participating in the 2023 Main Residency Match organized by the National Resident Matching Program, culminating with Match Day on March 17.
Wayne State University School of Medicine students from the Class of 2023 will gather with family, friends, faculty and staff in the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center ballroom to celebrate their accomplishments in a program that includes award announcements, remarks from faculty and student leadership, and of course, the countdown clock.
Then, at noon, students will open an envelope or email that contains their post-graduation residency assignment for the next three to seven years, depending on the medical specialty.
For those who can’t attend in person, the Match Day celebration will be recorded and posted to YouTube.
Graduate Medical Education, more commonly known as residency, begins after graduation for the nearly 300 medical students who make up the class. While the majority of students won’t know where, and with who, they will practice medicine until March 17, several members of the Class of 2023 who participated in early matches for the specialties of Urology, Ophthalmology and the Military Match already know the next step in their medical journey.
Michael Saad is among several who chose Ophthalmology. He found out in January that he is staying in Detroit, joining the residency program at the Kresge Eye Institute this summer.
“Immediately before I matched, I felt completely disconnected. I felt as if I could not hear or see beyond my computer screen as my email was loading. I just remember reading the words ‘Kresge Eye Institute’ and starting to jump and dance,” he said. “I am honestly not even sure what the rest of the email said, and thankfully that dance was not filmed. Once it finally hit me that I would be training at my top-ranked program, I felt excited for what’s to come and proud to have come this far.”
He opened the email at home, with his mother and father sitting by his side. “This was the exact same way I opened my acceptance email to Wayne State University School of Medicine four years ago, so the experience had come full circle,” he said.
Saad is among several early matchers who are attending Match Day to celebrate with classmates.
“I can’t wait to stand by my classmates and cheer them on as they find out where their medical journeys will continue. Although I selfishly and secretly wish my best friends and classmates would match near me, I will be rooting for their No. 1 picks,” he said.
Ali Mannaa is also ready to experience Match Day with friends. He matched into Kresge Eye Institute’s Ophthalmology program as well.
“I was at the hospital for my first day of a new rotation. My good friend Zain was rotating at the same hospital, so I went over and opened the results beside him. It was great to have someone to celebrate with immediately. I spent most of the remaining day on the phone with friends and family sharing the great news,” he said. “Immediately after getting my match results, I was ecstatic,” Mannaa said. “Knowing that I had matched and was going to stay in town for residency was very relieving. For the rest of the week, it felt surreal knowing exactly where I was going to be for the next four years.”
U.S. Navy Ensign Claire Novelly was one of the first medical students in her class to match. Like two fellow Military Match participants she knows, in December she found out she will spend her intern year at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia.
“It felt like we were in our own little world of finding out these results that would shape our careers, while the rest of the world was continuing on around us like normal,” she said.
Novelly will spend time after the transitional year being a flight surgeon or dive medical officer before finishing residency in another specialty, possibly Anesthesiology or Aerospace Medicine.
“Wayne State has so many opportunities to connect with mentors, shadow different specialties and do extra time in clinical electives,” she said. “I had a couple of ideas of what specialty I wanted to do when I came into medical school, and I was lucky to feel supported in finding my passion. It's a little different for me being in the military/ I'm on a much different path than my peers, but any time I met Wayne State faculty who had connections in the military they were always eager to help me out. I really want to thank Associate Professor Arthur Eisenbrey (M.D. ’86, Ph.D. ’80) for being our Military Medicine Interest Group mentor. He always looks out for us and has been cheering us on since day one.”
Like Novelly, Brennan Schilling’s next step after graduation is moving out of Michigan. He matched in the Ophthalmology residency program at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. He admitted that the week leading up to matching was particularly worrying.
“I feel like no matter the advice, Match Day is super stressful. The week before Match is not the greatest time and was made better by being near my friends and family. So I think the best thing is to just do your best to distract yourself by spending time with your family and friends, celebrating and reflecting on how far we’ve all come, and trusting that you’ve done all you can to be successful when Match comes around,” he said.
Throughout this week, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to share congratulatory messages, photos and videos leading up to, and on, March 17, using the hashtags #WayneMatch2023 and #Match2023 for social media posts.
To share their success, applicants may also choose from several WarriorMD-themed Giphys and other social media elements to use on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Alumni and faculty can participate by sharing photos and stories from their own Match Day using #MatchThrowback.
The Match Day event 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 graduate medical education positions in the United States.
From mid-January through late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit preference lists to the NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs. Last year, 20,553 U.S. senior applicants participated in the Match. Including international applications, 42,549 people applied for 39,205 available residency positions and 36,277 first-year positions.
Wayne State medical students have been historically successful in matching into their chosen specialties. The school’s match rate the last five years, 98%, is also higher than the national five-year rate of 93%. Schilling credited the success to the nature of the medical school’s clinical curriculum.
“It is robust with experience and training in Detroit and naturally leads to the ability to develop vital skills to be a clinician,” he said. “After completing M3 and a lot of M4, I feel very well equipped to start as an intern in residency, and I think that was portrayed in my application and interviews. Wayne has also been so great at catering to my interest in working as an educator as well, which Dartmouth is very motivated in too, so it felt like a perfect fit for me.”