Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
09:39 AM

SELECT Medical Students Learn Match Day Results in Downtown Allentown

There are lots of firsts in a medical student’s career: first cadaver lab, white coat, medical simulation and patient encounter. For the 2017 graduating class of SELECT (Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Experiences, Collaborative Training) medical school, a partnership between University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), there were even more firsts – 27 to be exact. That’s how many students are first in their family to go to medical school.

On Friday, March 17 those students and their families gathered in a ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Allentown to experience yet another milestone – their first Match Day.

Match Day is annual rite of passage for fourth-year students at medical schools across the country. It’s the day when all their hard work, studying and exams pay off culminating in one last test – a test of nerves. The day they open sealed envelopes that reveal their “match” to a medical residency program.

“Match Day is one of the most significant events in a medical students’ life,” said SELECT Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Michael La Rock, MD. “It’s the culmination of many years of hard work and has an impact on a doctor’s future career. Students who have family members in medicine have heard the folk lore around it, but for first timers it’s even more nerve wracking.”

The 2017 graduating class of SELECT includes 50 students. More than three dozen attended Match Day festivities in Allentown, 11 of their classmates learned match results in Tampa, Fla. where SELECT students complete the first two years of classroom training before coming to LVHN for two years of clinical experiences.

The matching process is a service of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Fourth-year medical students from across the country apply and interview for residency programs independent of NRMP, then submit rank order lists (ROL) of their residency preferences. Residency directors submit similar ROLs. Both lists are aggregated by NRMP and the results are revealed to students on Match Day.

Students submit their common residency applications in mid-September and then take a month or more to travel across the country for personal interviews. It’s a time consuming and expensive process for students who also juggle classes, complete clinical rotations and manage research projects throughout their fourth year of SELECT.

“Match Day is a rite of passage for students filled with high expectations and celebration,” La Rock says. “Where you’re matched for residency is most likely the place you will practice medicine. All our students are well prepared for their residency programs. In past years, many have matched to top programs.”

This is the third graduating class of SELECT. Previous graduates have matched with top institutions including LVHN, the University of Pennsylvania, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, University of California–Davis, the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Schools in Rochester, Minn. and Jacksonville, Fla.

“SELECT’s curriculum focuses on values-based care, leadership, health care systems and emotional intelligence,” said Robert Barraco, MD, Chief Academic Officer and Associate Dean for Educational Affairs. “As an educator, it’s a real joy to know you are impacting 50 professionals who will care for and heal tens of thousands of people in their careers. It’s breathtaking when you think of the number of lives they will touch.”