Match Day 2016: Graduating medical students learn residency destination
March 18, 2016
By Donna Peck
Every year during the third week of March, graduating medical students across the country observe a rite of passage. On Match Day, they learn their residency assignments. The University of Kansas School of Medicine held Match Day ceremonies on all three of its campuses on Friday, March 18.
The KU School of Medicine students in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina were joined by family, friends and faculty members who waited anxiously for the white envelopes to be distributed. The envelopes indicated where each student had been matched for his or her residency training, which lasts three to seven years, depending on the specialty. A nonprofit organization, the National Resident Matching Program, uses a computer algorithm to determine the match. The match is based on preferences the applicants and residency programs submit after students have completed interviews at hospitals where they would like to train.
The KU School of Medicine has built on its reputation as one of the nation's leaders in training primary care physicians and that reputation was reinforced on Match Day, with 43 percent of the school's 2016 graduates accepting residencies to become primary care physicians. In all, 87 of the 190 KU students who matched selected primary care.
One of those students selecting primary care was Scott Rempel, who is graduating from School of Medicine-Salina in May. Rempel, who grew up in Newton, Kansas, said after undergoing more than a dozen surgeries as a child, he knew he wanted to be a doctor or a nurse. That led him to the School of Medicine-Salina campus in 2012.
"For me, a career in rural primary care was the perfect marriage between my small-town background and my desire to practice medicine in an underserved population," Rempel said.
During his time as a medical student, Rempel spent a summer at the Bluestem Medical and Gove County Medical Center in Quinter, Kansas, as a part of the KU School of Medcine's Rural Primary Care Practice and Research Program. The physicians were so impressed with him that they offered Rempel a contract to join their practice when he finished his residency.
Rempel will be serving his family medicine residency at Smoky Hill Family Medicine in Salina, Kansas. His fiancée, Anna Scheuffele, from Maize, Kansas, is graduating from the School of Medicine-Wichita campus and will be serving her residency at Smoky Hill as well. Rempel said he and Scheuffele plan to come back to Quinter and practice together.
"There is never a day that I am not reminded in some way just how truly blessed I was to be a medical student in Salina," Rempel said. "I don't think there is a better place to train, or better people to train alongside."
Margaret Higgins, who entered the KU School of Medicine four years ago at age 25, will be doing her residency in urology at the University of Kentucky-Lexington. Higgins had a non-traditional path to medical school. She earned her psychology degree from Middlebury College in Vermont and worked in brand marketing in Chicago after graduating. But she said she had a calling to become a doctor.
"I started taking pre-med classes at Loyola University while working in Chicago," Higgins said. "Then I was fortunate to be accepted at the KU School of Medicine."
Higgins said after completing her residency, she plans a career in female urology surgery.
Many of this year's graduates will be staying in Kansas for their residencies, including 33 in Kansas City, 25 in Wichita and five in Salina. KU School of Medicine students were accepted into residency programs at Duke University, the Mayo Clinic and other renowned hospitals in 36 states across the country.
Photos from this year's Match Day ceremony can be viewed on the KU School of Medicine Facebook page.