March 15, 2024

WSU School of Medicine celebrates successful residency placements for seniors at Match Day 2024

They matched! Class of 2024 couple Kaitlin Ross and John Kulka successfully secured residencies in Massachusetts in their respective medical specialties.

Nearly four years ago, Kaitlin Ross and John Kulka were strangers, both enrolled as medical students in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Class of 2024. They attended orientation in July 2020, and met the first week of in-person classes in August. They went on a date three weeks later.

Now they are headed to Massachusetts this summer – together – where they will start residencies in Harvard University-affiliated programs. Ross will enter a Pathology residency at Mass General Brigham and Kulka will enter an Anesthesiology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess, both in the Boston area.

The duo were among the WSU School of Medicine’s 256 senior medical students and their families and friends, along with faculty and staff, who gathered inside the ballroom of the MGM Grand Detroit Hotel the morning of March 15 to celebrate their accomplishments in a Match Day program that included award announcements, remarks from faculty and student leadership, and of course, the countdown clock to noon.

A student celebrates their match at Match Day 2024.
A student celebrates their match at Match Day 2024.

Only then were the students allowed to open the envelopes containing a single white sheet of tri-folded paper containing the what and where of their post-graduation residency assignment.

At 98%, the match rate for the School of Medicine students who participated in this year’s match was nearly 5% higher than the national average of 93.5%.

The Match Day event in Detroit is one of hundreds nationwide that follow 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.

Ross and Kulka were one of 14 Wayne State couples who participated in the Match as a couple, which allows two applicants to link their rank order lists, usually for purposes of obtaining positions in the same geographic location. 

“It was an exciting shock,” Ross said, after opening their envelopes. “We had no idea what to expect going into this. We are very excited for the next few years together.”

For medical students, Match Day marks the beginning of the end – the start of the transition from four years of undergraduate medical student to the next three to seven years of graduate medical education, depending on their chosen medical specialty.

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.

Students celebrate the match with Director of Career Advising Sarkis Kouyoumjian, M.D. and Dean Wael Sakr, M.D. 

This year, 20,296 U.S. senior applicants, both allopathic and osteopathic students, participated in the Match. Including international applications, 44,853 total applicants registered in the 2024 Main Residency Match to secure one of 41,503 residency positions in 6,395 residency programs. Notably, while the number of positions filled by U.S. senior medical students has decreased from 53.1% in 2021 to 49% in 2024, Wayne State seniors have managed to maintain a consistent Match rate. In fact, the eight-year Match rate average for the WSU School of Medicine is 98%.

“This competition is becoming harder and harder every year,” said WSU School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D. “Our graduating classes, year after year, have become some of the best clinically-trained and sought-after physicians around.”

At Wayne State, 123 senior medical students – 48% of the Class of 2024 – are staying in Michigan, matching with 13 Michigan-based health systems and/or centers. That includes 28 students heading to Henry Ford Health, 23 to Corewell Health, 16 to the Detroit Medical Center, 18 to Trinity Health, 18 to University of Michigan Health System and 15 to St. John Providence/Ascension Health.

Yasmeen Alcodray selected Family Medicine as a specialty because of the field's opportunities for longevity of care and relationship-building with patients.

Among those staying close to home is Dearborn native Yasmeen Alcodray, who matched into her No. 1 choice for residency – a Family Medicine slot at Corewell Health in Wayne, Mich.

“I am so happy. I feel like I have developed such a good relationship with people in this program. It just feels right,” she said.

Alcodray is a first-generation physician. Her mother, high school principal Heyam Alcodray, noticed early on how caring she was for others, especially when a then 9-year-old Yasmeen’s older brother had the first of two open-heart surgeries.

“She was the caretaker even then,” Heyam Alcodray said. “This is what she wanted.”

Overall, 32.8% of students are entering primary care specialties such as Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. The top three specialties include 40 students entering Internal Medicine, 23 entering Emergency Medicine and 22 entering Family Medicine, with a total of 24 medical specialties represented by the Match this year.

Madison Mervis matched with a spot at her No. 1 choice for residency.

Students leaving Michigan after graduation will head to California, Ohio, Illinois, New York and 25 other states.

Madison Mervis is moving to Indiana for an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency with Indiana Medicine. “I love everything about it,” she said of her chosen medical specialty. “I’m from here, but I was willing to move for the program.”

In addition to students who participated in the Main Residency Match, students from the School of Medicine also matched in Urology and Ophthalmology programs in February, and Military programs in December 2023.


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