Like the medical version of the Oscars, fourth-year students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Odessa opened envelopes to see where they would complete their training during Match Day.
Held in the Caribbean Room at the MCM Elegante Hotel, the national ritual occurred at noon Eastern time Friday. Match Day has played out on medical school campuses nationwide since 1952.
About 24 TTUHSC School of Medicine students participated in Match Day and learned where they will be for the next three to seven years for their residencies. The results were sealed in an envelope and opened simultaneously at all of the nation’s medical schools.
The process of Match Day is celebrated at the 141 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Starting on the Monday of Match Week, applicants are informed whether they have been matched to a residency program of their choice, but the student is not told the name of that program. The same day, the locations of remaining unfilled residency positions are released to the unmatched applicants, information from Texas Tech said.
Michael Callaway, regional assistant dean of the Office of Medical Education, said these are fourth-year students who are near the end of their curriculum. They will receive their diplomas in May at the graduation ceremony.
“That said, most of these students are within a single rotation of finishing their training,” Callaway said.
He added that the students were matched at facilities locally and nationwide.
“Some of them wound up a little farther down their list than they had hoped. Some students are obviously disappointed. Basically, they still have the opportunity to finish their training, which is the good news. The bad news is it might not have been where they had hoped,” Callaway said.
“Most of them will very quickly adapt and be just fine,” he added.
He said this was a good group of students with about six who want to pursue psychiatry. Callaway added that is a testament to the work of psychiatrist Dr. Bobby Jain and the new psychiatry residency program.
Jarrod Tunnell of Las Cruces, N.M., is one who will pursue psychiatry. He was matched to UT Southwestern in Dallas.
He decided on Texas Tech in Odessa after bonding with a secretary during a chat about green chili. She was from Las Cruces, as well, Tunnell said.
Texas Tech also offered a combined medical doctor/master of business administration degree that can be finished in four years. Tunnell said the business degree will be useful if he wants to go into something administrative later or into private practice.
“I thought the faculty were great, very friendly, a good culture. I was excited when I got accepted and it’s been good,” Tunnell said.
He added that he thought his training in Odessa was great.
“We have wonderful faculty since we’re here and not in Lubbock. We get more one-on-one training, which has been excellent. The community’s very supportive for psychiatry, especially (because) they just opened a residency program here. But the residency director he’s just very supportive of student learning and just an excellent educator. He did a wonderful job of teaching us and preparing us. I had a great experience and learned a lot. I got to make some close relationships with the coordinators and directors,” Tunnell said.
Alice Fa is pursuing obstetrics and gynecology and matched to Texas Tech in Odessa and will be associated with Medical Center Hospital and Midland Memorial Hospital.
“It’s been a great program. I obviously came through third year here and had great teachers and a great residency, great teaching experiences and a wonderful patient population. And they have a lot of opportunities for training,” Fa said.
Mary Grady, who is pursuing psychiatry, was matched to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. She is from Oswego, N.Y., in Upstate New York.
“I was very excited about the match. I really wanted to go to Maine. I did an away rotation there and I loved it. It’s closer to my family, which is important to me but I love the program here, as well. I’ve been in Texas since I’ve been in high school. I’ve really loved what Texas can provide and the opportunities. I’ll be sad to leave it behind. I loved the teachers here and the attending and the hospitals here were great,” Grady said.
Brenda Chavez from Gatesville is going for family medicine. She was matched with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock.
“I’m very happy,” Chavez said. “It was actually my first choice.”