March 20, 2008 — "To an extraordinary class, an extraordinary match and to the extraordinary physicians you will soon become," said Richard Pearson, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Education, as he toasted the School of Medicine Class of 2008 just before the stroke of noon Thursday.
The 127 members of the class who were heading off to residency to continue their medical training after graduation began to open the envelopes in their hands, some with zeal and others with a little trepidation. The auditorium of the old medical school building was quickly filled with shouts and tears of joy and friends and family joined in the match day celebration.
Melat Lemma screamed as she opened her envelope to learn she would be doing her residency in Emergency Medicine at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. She was excited to have secured her first choice for her residency.
Daniel Bennett and Brian Fowler were in a bit of a shock as they learned they both will be heading to the University of Tennessee–Memphis to specialize in ophthalmology.
"We didn't plan it at all, it just happened that way," said Fowler. "It's going to be great to be together."
Of the 127 fourth years who matched, 23 will remain at the University of Virginia Health System to continue their training, including Jesse Seamon, who will train in orthopaedics. "UVA was my first choice and I'm so excited to stay here and so glad it's over. Having to wait to find out where you are going to be is pretty nerve-wracking."
Match Day marks the yearly culmination of the residency interview process coordinated by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The NMRP was established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions in graduate medical education (GME) in the United States.
The UVA School of Medicine class of 2008 will be studying 21 disciplines in 26 states. The highest number of students, 27, will be training in internal medicine, followed by pediatrics with 14 trainees and emergency medicine with 12. While the vast majority of students matched with residencies on the East Coast, Sandra Anne Van Horn will travel the farthest. She is heading to the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI, for her residency in psychiatry.
"By the quality of the programs our students matched with for their residencies, this was definitely our best year ever," said Pearson. "Program directors recognize the quality and abilities of the students we are graduating and want them in their residencies."