A match made in medicine

Thousands of graduating medical students participate in Match Day. Here’s a look at what happened.

By Kristi Lopez and Allison Perry

Match Day. For most people outside the everyday world of medicine and medical education the words may not be familiar or elicit much emotion. But for thousands of graduating medical students across the United States—including 125 at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine—the day means their future written inside an envelope.
This past March UK’s fourth-year medical students gathered with family and friends at the Keeneland Entertainment Center at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. At exactly noon, students began their way one by one to center stage—to the tune of their predetermined theme song— to open their envelope and reveal where they “matched” and will spend the next few years completing their medical training.

A Public Affair
As each student announced where they matched, they reached inside a straw basket to draw the envelope of the next classmate
to come to the stage. More than two-thirds of students participated in the annual ceremony to publicly open their envelope while others opt to open them more privately with the opportunity to come to the stage at the end of the ceremony to share their destination.

In the end, students matched in a range of specialties including radiationoncology, plastic surgery, psychiatry and ophthalmology as well as primary care, family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics in locations across the U.S. and one in Newfoundland, Canada. Twentyseven students will continue residency training at UK.

Match Day ceremonies take place simultaneously at noon the same day every year at medical schools around the country.

Prior to Match Day, students complete paperwork and interviews with hospitals and then provide a ranked list of top choices. Hospitals submit a similar list indicating openings, preferred students, and specialty or generalist preferences. Each applicant is matched via computer algorithm to the hospital residency program that is highest on the applicant’s list and has offered the applicant a position.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), designed to keep the match fair and objective, pairs the wishes of the students with the needs of hospitals’ residency programs.


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