Graduating medical students got the news they were waiting for on Friday, March 20. One hundred and fifty-five students at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) found out where they’ll be heading for residency during a virtual Match Day celebration — a first for the medical school. Instead of receiving their match results surrounded by family, friends, faculty members, and staff in the atrium of the Jordan Medical Education Center (JMEC), students were virtually cheered on as they opened emails with their Match results.
“Receiving the results at home instead of in JMEC was definitely different,” said Gina Chang, a graduating medical and MPH student who matched at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Child Neurology and who had cheered on classmates at last year’s Match Day in JMEC. “I still felt a lot of the excitement and adrenaline, though — I had my friends on various video chats and I had my parents in a video chat as well, so everyone was around. While it’s not the same, it’s still incredibly exciting.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has meant shifts in normal operations across Penn Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, all to provide a safe environment for patients, students, staff, and others. With the help of social media, FaceTime, and video chats, PSOM students celebrated Match Day 2020 online.
“We wish that our graduates could have experienced the Match Day they deserve.” said Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd, senior vice dean for Medical Education at the Perelman School of Medicine. “But our students are resilient as well as highly accomplished. We can’t wait to see what the class of 2020 will achieve as they join the ranks of physicians working to support the health of our communities around the nation and the world.”
For now, students are engaged in numerous activities to help out in this crisis, from telehealth endeavors to monitoring ICU patients virtually, while others are preparing educational materials and coordinating personal protective equipment (PPE) donations.
Erin Tully learned her Match Day fate in her apartment with her family on FaceTime and her dog and sister by her side. She shared her Match Day experience with the Philadelphia Inquirer. She’ll stay at Penn for her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and expressed how inspired she’s been by her friends and mentors already on the front lines of the pandemic.
Even though the formal celebration was canceled, many students like Tully still felt the excitement and joy that comes along with Match Day. Medical and PhD student Sneha Narasimhan, who shared her thoughts leading up to Match Day for Penn Medicine News, celebrated with her husband and family members. Narasimhan, who matched at Washington University’s Barnes-Jewish Hospital in Neurology, feels excited and ready to start her intern year, especially in this current climate.
“This is exactly what I wanted, but I’ll miss Penn’s vibrant community of bright, motivated, diverse people. Everyone here pushed and inspired me to be the best physician I can possibly be,” Narasimhan said. “I can’t imagine having that same type of community anywhere else.”
Of the 155 students who matched on March 20, one-third will be saying at Penn, joining residency programs at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Scheie Eye Institute, and CHOP. Tully and Chang are happy to be among them.
As PSOM’s Class of 2020 looks toward a new exciting chapter, hear more from students about what made Penn so special.