Match Day is back!
Match Day 2022 featured in-person celebrations for students at all three KU School of Medicine campuses across Kansas.
Fourth-year medical students gathered expectantly inside the Health Education Center in Salina on March 18, bringing with them family and friends who had supported them on their journey to becoming doctors.
At 11 a.m., when the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) allowed medical students to log on and see where they would spend the next few years of their professional careers, the students in Salina already had slips of paper in hand sharing the same information.
One by one, five students strode to a poster that initially had eight empty slots. Robert Moser, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine-Salina, spoke for the three students who were not present at the event, and then all the spots were filled. The eight students in one of the smallest medical school campuses in the country had all matched in places as close as Wichita or as distant as Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
"That's a pretty impressive list of specialties, locations and programs, and I couldn't be more proud of the work that you have all put forward,” Moser said.
Salina’s event was one of three different events celebrating Match Day at each campus of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. After pandemic concerns either halted or amended the yearly celebrations that usually accompany Match Day, the three campuses in 2022 again had the opportunity to share their successes in person.
What is Match Day?
Match Day is an annual event where all medical students in the United States find out if they have matched with a residency program, the next phase in the process of becoming a practicing physician. NRMP coordinates the process.
Those results are derived from medical student’s top requests for placement and the residency programs’ list of desired students. Residency programs provide several more years of post-graduate education in a chosen field, from neurology to family medicine, while also serving as the new physician’s first job.
A total of 195 medical students from KU School of Medicine matched to programs in Kansas and 38 other states. Ninety-two students plan to practice in primary care, or 47% of the class of 2022.
Match Day at KU School of Medicine-Salina
Match Day in Salina was held in the West Lobby of the HEC. Because of the pandemic, it was the first time Salina medical students could celebrate Match Day in the HEC since the building’s expansion was completed.
Parker Greider, a 4th-year medical student at KU School of Medicine-Salina, learned the happy news that he is heading to the Child Neurology program at Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri. A former member of the Marine Corps, Greider was inspired to enter medicine when he returned from his first deployment to Afghanistan and saw his friends who had been injured in the line of duty.
“I was really inspired by how well they were doing even a few short weeks after getting hurt,” Greider recalled. “I was amazed that modern medicine and skilled physicians could have this kind of an impact, and that experience is what initially sparked my interest in becoming a doctor.”
Now, Greider will be realizing his dream at Children’s Mercy, his top choice. His wife and two daughters were on hand to celebrate.
Match Day at KU School of Medicine-Wichita
Students from KU School of Medicine-Wichita and invited guests gathered at noon March 18 in the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex. Medical students had the choice of finding out their match via NRMP site or by reading it on the auditorium stage.
Either way, students had the opportunity to share the news in front of their classmates and place a pin on a U.S. map showing their match locations. Friends and family also could watch the event via Zoom.
Garold Minns, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine-Wichita, spoke to the importance of Match Day. “People have been looking forward to this day for quite a while,” he said. “I'd say it's maybe the second biggest day in the school’s activities. Graduation hooding maybe is the best day, since that's when you get your diploma. But today, you get to find out where you're going next.”
Minns said 40% of Wichita medical students were “wise enough to select a program in Kansas,” with another 10% bound for Texas. “We’re going all over the nation,” he said. “(But) we’re also fulfilling the mission of a state-based school, providing primary care for our patients in this state and also the specialty care that our citizens need.”
Wichita student Hannah Gillespie learned she matched in primary care at Ascension Via Christi in Wichita. She spent her first two years of medical school on KU’s Kansas City campus and the last two in Wichita, which is an option available to anyone accepted into KU School of Medicine. “I put the split campus option as my first choice for campus preference, and that is a decision I would make 100 times over,” she said.
For her, it was the best of two worlds. “I wanted to live in KC honestly just because I know I want to end up rural, so it seemed kind of like my last chance to experience a larger place like that,” Gillespie said. For her last two years, “I had heard really great things about the clinical experience in Wichita and have not been disappointed.”
Austin Cook, also a medical student at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, spent all four years of medical school in Wichita and found out he will be staying there to complete his residency in internal medicine-pediatrics. “I’m so excited to be able to stay on as a resident here in Wichita,” Cook said. “My wife and I are both close with our families, and we love being from the Midwest, so we wanted a residency location that checked both of those things off the list.”
Cook decided to become a doctor at age 11. He points to a love of science and, despite the cliché, wanting to help people. “As I got older, my passion and curiosity about medicine continued to grow, and I never looked back from that decision… I chose internal medicine-pediatrics because I feel it's the best specialty for someone like me who is drawn toward the excitement of seeing a wide variety of patients, in terms of age and conditions, and all the learning opportunities and lasting connections that can be made.”
Match Day at KU School of Medicine-Kansas City
Students from KU School of Medicine-Kansas City were asked to log into the NRMP site at 11 a.m. to receive their matches to begin their Match Day. They were then invited to an outdoor celebration at 1 p.m. in the KCLive! block of the Power & Light District, 13th Street and Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. On the large stage of the outdoor venue, students had the opportunity to share their matches if they chose to do so.
Nnadozie Ekweariri, a medical student on the Kansas City campus, attended the Power & Light event, managed by the medical center’s Office of Student Affairs. “It was a great day seeing my classmates together and happy,” he said. Ekweariri matched in orthopedic surgery at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois. “I'm excited to move to Chicago and get to work!”
Ekweariri said he started the match process very scientifically. “I had a large, convoluted Microsoft Excel sheet that ranked various aspects of each program via a point system. This scoring method quickly dissolved as I realized early on during interviewing what was truly important about choosing a residency program – the culture,” he said.
“The relationship between faculty, residents, researchers, and other department members was the single most important deciding factor that guided my decision to choose a program,” Ekweariri said.
Sara Ohadi-Hamadani, a fellow 4th-year student in KU School of Medicine-Kansas City, said she, too, created a ratings system to rank her choices for a residency program. “I chose to rank residency programs that had the strong, full-spectrum family medicine training the highest, as I want to be the most prepared for any situation.”
Ohadi-Hamadani was matched with the Smoky Hill Family Medicine Program in Salina. “I'm very excited to match at Smoky Hill, a program that will equip me with the skills to work with underserved patient populations,” she said. Serving those who need help the most was a major reason why Ohadi-Hamadani wanted to become a doctor.
“Social and economic disparities have plagued my family on my Muscogee Creek side, and my family on my Iranian side have been impacted by economic sanctions that limit exports of crucial medical supplies and medicines for proper medical care,” she said. “I hope to serve diverse patient populations throughout their life stages and provide empowering and empathetic care.”
About the photos
From top, Photo 1: Match Day in Salina. See caption for details. Photo 2: Parker Greider, a 4th year medical student at KU School of Medicine-Salina, celebrates his match with his daughters, ages 9 months and 3-1/2 years.
Photo 3: Melissa Shadoin, a 4th year medical student at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, shares her Match Day news on stage and then places a pin to indicate her residency location: pediatrics at KU-Wichita. Photo 4: Fellow medical student Hannah Gillespie celebrates her match in front of the mural of the Wichita flag at 2201 W. Douglas Ave. Photo 5: Austin Cook takes time to celebrate Match Day with his wife before attending the School of Medicine-Wichita's Match Day ceremony.
Photo 6: Nnadozie Ekweariri, who attends KU School of Medicine-Kansas City, announces his match to Loyola University with a white board. Photo 7: Sara Ohadi-Hamadani (middle), also a 4th year student from KU School of Medicine-Kansas City, holds her Match Day letter from the National Residency Matching Program. She and her parents, Mary (left) and Ali (right), attended Kansas City's Match Day event in the Power & Light District in Kansas City, Missouri.