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The Match Game

Match Day 2023 saw throngs of family and friends cheering on PSOM’s graduating students as they learned where they matched for residency.

Students and faculty at Match Day
PSOM faculty and students with their families at Match Day

“Welcome to your future!” With those words, Perelman School of Medicine Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd, congratulated the medical students in their final year who were about to open envelopes which told them where they matched for residency.

Match Day is always an occasion of breathless excitement and celebration, but this year’s event, held on March 17th in the Jordan Medical Education Center (JMEC), was especially festive. That’s because, after three years of COVID-19 restrictions which first confined PSOM’s Match Day to computer screens and since then have meant limited numbers of people in attendance, full cohorts of family and friends were finally invited back in to share the moment with their budding soon-to-be-physicians. (Masks were required for a gathering of this size.) Babies and toddlers, grandparents and extended family, and friends and colleagues were all there to make an important day even more special.

Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd stands behind podium at Match Day

Alluding to Match Day’s confluence with St. Patrick’s Day this year, Rose also shared a message from PSOM Dean J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, who was watching the event remotely due to a recent COVID exposure: “I’m holding a four-leaf clover for each of you!”

The anticipation in JMEC’s Atrium was palpable, as eager students shook red-and-blue pompons and took selfies with classmates. Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness DaCarla Albright, MD, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Residency Planning Prithvi Sankar, MD, further wished the class well, and launched the countdown to noon, when students tore open their envelopes.

And then: happy screams, jumping up and down, bear hugs! For the 126 students who matched, the long, nerve-wracking wait was over, as they discovered the destination for their next few years of training.

Canada Montgomery holds her Match Day letter
Canada Montgomery (on left) and Natalia Rodriguez both matched to continue their training at Penn.

Among them: Canada Montgomery, who will be graduating with a combined MD/MSHP (Master of Science in Health Policy Research) with a Certificate in Education, shook her Match letter with glee. She’ll be staying at Penn for a residency in Neurosurgery, making her one of the few Black female brain surgeons in the country. “I knew I would be able to tailor my medical education and take advantage of opportunities that aligned with my interests in neurosurgery, community engagement, and health equity,” said Montgomery of her decision to come to PSOM, where she also volunteered with the Center for Surgical Health. “I chose neurosurgery because I love the pathophysiology of neurosurgical diseases, being in the operating room, and working with this patient population during such a vulnerable period of their life.”

PSOM Student poses with her family at Match Day

Like Montgomery, nearly one-third of the class matched to a Penn program. (Penn’s residency programs also attracted top-caliber candidates from other medical schools across the country.) Overall, 98.5 percent of students matched (above the national average of 93%), and 38 percent will be heading to a primary care residency (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics).

After the immediate thrill of the day had ebbed, Montgomery reflected, “From being anxious beforehand, to shocked after the first few minutes of finding out where I would spend the next seven years, to full-on tears while sharing the moment with my family ... Match Day was everything I hoped it would be and more.”

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