MARCH 24, 2005 | Some of the fourth-year students in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) looked nervous March 17 as they received envelopes revealing the location of their medical residences.
But cheers soon erupted as each student walked to the microphone and announced his or her destination during the annual “Match Day” ceremony.
“I’m really excited,” said Jeremy Whitt of West Memphis after finding out he will go to Washington, D.C., to begin a five-year residency in surgery at Washington Hospital Center. “I’m going to get great training while having a wonderful experience.”
Like many of the students, Whitt was using his cell phone almost immediately after receiving his assignment to pass along the news to his family. Other students hugged and celebrated with each other.
Seventy-two seniors were appointed to Arkansas residency positions while 53 others received out-of-state residences in 22 different states. Many of the in-state residencies will be at UAMS while out-of-state destinations included Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
I feel great. I got my first choice,” said Michael Fakouri of Monticello of his assignment in family medicine at the Arkansas Health Education Center (AHEC) in Texarkana. AHEC residencies play a key role in retaining UAMS College of Medicine graduates in Arkansas, ultimately improving the supply and distribution of family physicians throughout the state.
By tradition, the students met at Juanita’s Café in Little Rock and counted down the final seconds until 11 a.m., when the results of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) are released simultaneously to medical school students across the country. A nationwide computerized selection process matches the fourth-year students with residency openings based on student preference and availability.
Richard Wheeler, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs, presided over the ceremony in which one by one, students were called to the stage to receive their envelope.
Nationally, there were 21,454 first-year, post-graduate positions to be filled through the NRMP match. There were 25,348 total active participants for these, 14,719 of them from the United States. Of those, 19,760, including 13,798 from the United States, matched and 5,588, including 921 from the United States, failed to match.
Students who fail to match initially are then eligible to seek out remaining available positions. In addition to the UAMS seniors who used the national computer match, 13 received residences through early match programs, such as the military, ear/nose/throat specialty or ophthalmology.
Fifty-six percent of the seniors received residences in a primary care specialty (internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine or obstetrics/gynecology). The length of a student’s residency varies, depending on the choice of discipline. For example, a family medicine residency is customarily three years while a neurosurgery residency is six years.
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