After 1,313 days as students in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, members of the Class of 2015 found out March 20 where they will be training as resident physicians later this year.
Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Brody School of Medicine, welcomed the anxious students and their families to the event.
Parteek Singla gets a hug from his father after learning where he will be matched. (Photo by Jay Clark)
She reminded the class of the 30 M1 exams, 32 M2 exams, seven clerkship shelf exams and three licensing exams they had endured to make it this far in their journey towards becoming a physician.
A loud cheer erupted as Brody Dean Dr. Paul Cunningham announced that the class had matched 100 percent to residency programs. Match Day is when medical students across the country learn where they will spend the next three- to seven-years as doctors-in-training.
And then the first envelope was handed to Julia Kayce Brantham, who will be training in pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Brantham was one of 80 graduating medical students participating in Match Day at ECU. Of those, 41, or 51.25 percent, will enter residency in a primary care field: family medicine (12), internal medicine (eight), internal medicine/pediatrics (five), pediatrics (11), and OB/GYN (five).
“We are excited that every member of the Class of 2015 matched in a residency training program for this year,” Baxley said. “We are pleased that the Brody tradition of providing primary care physicians continues with this class. And we’re excited about their future contributions to the health of the citizens of North Carolina.”
Baxley was exceptionally pleased that 15 students, or 22 percent, of the class matched to a program at Vidant Medical Center. “Historical data suggests that 75 percent of those physicians will stay in the region (after competing their residency).”
Puneet Singh opens his letter with family during Match Day at ECU.
One of those matching to Vidant was Pat McGee, who was on the edge of his seat with anticipation before the ceremony began.
“I’m just really excited to find out,” he said. “I’ve got a family, so for me, it’s a little nerve-wracking to try and figure out what’s next. We’re looking forward to making some plans.”
Nodding to his wife and three kids beside him, he explained that his first choice was a family medicine residency at ECU/Vidant Medical Center.
Originally from Newton, McGee has lived in Greenville since 1999. His wife is Dr. Kristina Simeonsson, a public health expert and associate professor at the Brody School of Medicine.
“I really like the breadth and scope of family medicine,” McGee said of how he selected his field of specialty. “There are so many things you can do as a family medicine doctor. From caring for pregnant patients to delivering babies, all the way to end-of-life care, I’ve just always been drawn to that.”
When it was his turn, McGee didn’t even wait until he’d left the stage before ripping open the envelope containing his fate. After a quick skim of the letter, he pulled an ECU hat out of his back pocket and threw his arms up in praise. The audience, including his wife and kids, stood and cheered.
“I just can’t believe the amount of emotion right now,” he said after the ceremony. “It’s such a huge stepping stone in our lives, so the emotion behind it all is pretty overwhelming. I’m not sure I was prepared for that.”
Altogether, this year’s ECU medical graduates are going to residencies in 24 states, from California to Maine, plus Washington, D.C. A total of 31 medical students matched to a residency program in North Carolina.
One of those staying in-state is Ben Robey of Greenville, who will be going to University of North Carolina Hospitals for internal medicine. “The past four years of work paid off in this one hour,” he said.
Ben Robey of Greenville, center, celebrates after learning he will go to University of North Carolina Hospitals for internal medicine. At right are his parents, Drs. Claude and Walter “Skip” Robey. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)
He added, “I owe it to these two, as well,” pointing to his parents, Drs. Claude and Walter “Skip” Robey. His father is an emergency medicine faculty member at the Brody School of Medicine.
Also receiving an envelope during Match Day was Jack Delaney, even though he was notified earlier as a participant in the military applicant match. He will be training in the lone neurosurgery residency slot offered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I believe Brody has done an excellent job in preparing my class for difficult residencies, as evidenced by the exceptional match today,” Delaney said. “We’ve got students going into a wide variety of disciplines, which I think is due to both the excellent students here and the mentorship and direction received at Brody.”
Also matching to a highly competitive program was Dylan Suttle, who was one of four selected for the diagnostic and interventional radiology program at the University of Virginia. Suttle has served as class president for all four years of medical school.
Jack Delaney celebrates with family after receiving his match. (Photo by Jay Clark)
Moving out of state will be Julie Barrett, a fourth-year native of Pinehurst, who will relocate to Ann Arbor, Michigan. She described feeling “ecstatic” to be matched at the University of Michigan for a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics.
Barrett practically skipped across the auditorium after receiving her letter. “I’m totally thrilled,” she said. “It was my first choice, so I couldn’t be any happier.”
By tradition, the student whose name is called last gets a pot of money. This year, it was Catherine Raymer who collected $402. She’s going to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, for a residency in general surgery.
Across the country, 29,991 first- and second-year residency positions were offered, making it the largest main residency match ever, according to the National Residency Matching Program. This year 16,932 U.S. medical school seniors matched to a first-year position, achieving an overall match rate of 93.9 percent, an all-time high.