For Maya Srikanth, Friday was eight years in the making.
An MD/PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), she stood patiently alongside 160 of her peers in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Class of 2013. All were about to discover their residency futures.
“We’ve all been on pins and needles waiting to find out for so long” said Srikanth, who matched at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for neurology. “Today is very surreal for me because I’ve come to Match Day before to support my friends, but it’s odd for this to be my time.”
An annual rite of passage, Match Day is held at medical schools throughout the country at the same time every year. In 2013, March 15 was the day that graduating students learned where residency will take them.
“Reflecting back, I have gotten such phenomenal training at Feinberg,” said Daniel Sarezky, who matched at the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia for ophthalmology. “There’s a lot more to being a doctor than just knowing the books; it’s knowing how to interact with patients, learning ethics, and practicing communication. I feel like Northwestern has left me extremely well-rounded.”
Having met his wife as an undergraduate at Washington University before both enrolling at Feinberg, Sarazky was ecstatic by the news that she too matched in Philadelphia.
“I am just so excited,” said Margaret Sarezky, who matched at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for pediatrics. “We have family in New York, Connecticut, and Maryland, and Philadelphia is right in the middle.”
More than 90 percent of U.S. medical school seniors matched to residency positions, according to data from the National Residents Matching Program (NRMP). For the first time ever the total number of match registrants topped 40,000.
Senthil Selvaraj began his day like any other. He awoke at 6:30 a.m. to arrive at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for morning rounds, but the afternoon brought an exciting switch to his routine.
“Today is a culminating experience and we’ve all worked really hard for this moment,” said Selvaraj, who matched at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for internal medicine. “As far as my excitement level goes, on a scale of one to 10, I am probably at a 13.”
Laura Humphries found out that she’ll be staying in the city as a resident of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
After marrying in September, Humphries is excited for her future.
“I didn’t grow up here, but I reunited with my husband here and we got married here,” Humphries said of the city she calls home. “Finding out where I matched was really an indescribable feeling, and to be able to share it with the people I love, it was wonderful.”
Conducted by the NRMP, matches are made by using a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors to fill the training positions available in U.S. teaching hospitals.
This year, the match included 935 couples, an all-time high. Participants who enter the match as a couple agree to have their rank order lists of preferred residency programs linked so they can try to match to programs suited to their preferences, such as within the same geographic area.