March 17, 2023

Class of 2023 Match participants celebrate unprecedented 100% match rate at Match Day

Class of 2023 medical student Candace Acuff is a fourth-year medical student and one of 266 to match into residency program at Match Day on March 17 in Detroit.

In a likely first in the modern history of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, an unprecedented 100% of its graduating seniors know exactly where they are headed after graduation.

That’s right – of the 266 members of the Class of 2023 who participated in Match Day for Main Residency Match Programs, all 266 secured placements into a residency they will begin this summer after graduation from medical school in June.

Match Day is the important transition in an aspiring physician’s journey from undergraduate to graduate medical education. The Match Day event in Detroit is one of hundreds nationwide that follow the protocol of the National Residency Match 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. 

Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., addresses the crowd of more than 900 students, family members, faculty and staff at Match Day 2023.

“It is a most joyful day. It culminates the students’ efforts for the last four years,” said School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D. “You are some of the most desired residents to be.”

Wayne State University School of Medicine senior medical students and their families, along with faculty and staff, gathered inside a ballroom on the fourth floor of the Detroit Marriott Hotel to celebrate their accomplishments in a program that included award announcements, remarks from faculty and student leadership, awards, and of course, the countdown clock.

At noon, students opened envelopes containing their post-graduation residency assignment for the next three to seven years, depending on their medical specialty. The match rate for the School of Medicine students who participated in this year’s match was nearly 7 percent higher than the national average of 93.7%.

Classmates and friends who met on the first day of medical school celebrate with their Match letters sharing where they will all be residents.

The seven-year Match Rate average is 98 percent.

From mid-January through late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with residency programs nationwide.

Marla Rojas, Class of 2023, is moving back home, to Miami, Florida, for residency.

This year, 19,748 U.S. senior applicants participated in the Match. Including international applications, 48,156 total applicants registered in the 2023 Main Residency Match, an increase of 481 applicants over last year.

At Wayne State, 50 percent, or 131 of the School of Medicine’s seniors, are staying in Michigan, matching with 17 Michigan-based health systems that include 28 students heading to Henry Ford Health, 26 to the Detroit Medical Center, 16 to Corewell Health and 15 going to residencies with Ascension Health.

Overall, 35 percent of students are entering primary care specialties such as Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. The top three specialties include 53 students entering Internal Medicine, 23 entering General Surgery and 23 entering Emergency Medicine.

Students leaving Michigan after graduation will head to California, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and 26 other states. 

Garrett Culver, at right, hugs wife Lauren Culver, a medical student who matched in a Neurosurgery residency in Texas.

Marla Rojas is going home. The Venezuelan native who moved with her family to Miami as a teenager, has spent the last eight years of her life completing her education in other states. She found out she matched to the University of Miami/Holtz Children’s Hospital to practice Pediatrics. “I’m really close to family,” she said.

Lauren Culver is moving to Houston, Texas, where she will practice Neurosurgery at Methodist Hospital.

“I’m speechless. This whole thing is just unreal,” said Culver, who placed the residency program No. 1 on her ranking list. “It feels like a dream.”

Katie Zhao is also moving out of Michigan. She will begin a General Surgery residency at Huntington Memorial Hospital in California. Her chosen specialty was one of the top three most popular choices made by Warrior M.D.s participating in this year’s Match. To her surprise, she fell in love with surgery when she rotated through the specialty during medical school and worked with many female residents.

“You just never know,” she said. “There are a lot of females going into general surgery, which is really nice. We’re very proud of that.”

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