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Medical students play the match game

Medical Students Play the Match Game
USC senior Jackie Eastman is thrilled to discover she's going to the University of North Carolina for a residency in internal medicine.

The weather was gloomy, but the atmosphere was electric for Match Day 2012 at the Harry and Celesta Pappas Quad on March 16, as 167 Keck School of Medicine of USC seniors learned where their journeys into the wide world of medicine would begin.

At 9 a.m., students rushed to grab their letters from the National Resident Matching Program, a private, not-for-profit corporation that provides appointments to positions in graduate medical education. All appointments are made at the same date and time across the country.

Lade Maurice-Diya’s smile could be seen from across the quad as he scanned the paper that listed his first-choice match: Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

“I’m ecstatic right now! When I interviewed there for general surgery, they seemed really accepting,” he said. “And I feel like I couldn’t be better prepared: USC has made me feel really confident going into residency.”

On Match Day, more than 16,000 U.S. medical school seniors and 15,000 graduates of osteopathic, Canadian or foreign medical schools find out where they will be matched with one of approximately 24,000 residency positions.

Overall, 16,527 U.S. seniors participated in this year’s match, 32 fewer than in 2011.

Matches for Keck School class of 2012 students were outstanding, said Donna D. Elliott, associate dean of student affairs. According to Elliott, the 167 Keck School matches included for the first time two students in the Canadian match.

“This is a very special day for all of us but especially for me,” Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito told the students. “Yours is the first class for which I was dean for all four years, and the match results for this class are the best ever.”

Puliafito gave much of the credit to Elliott and to faculty advisers “who mentored and coached you through this very challenging and ever-more competitive matching process.”

“I think we have a group of students who are exceptionally bright, made a lot of wise decisions and scored very well, and the advice that they received from the faculty was very much on point,” added Henri Ford, vice dean of medical education. “As a whole, the Keck School is doing a very good job at preparing its students for the residency match.”

This year, 117 students will complete all or part of their training in California. Of those, 53 students will be at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.

Braden Barnett (internal medicine) is one of the 53.

“I’ve had great experiences with all the people at L.A. County so far – the residents, the faculty, the patients,” he said. “I want to go back for more.”

Fifty-three students will travel outside of California for some or all of their training. Eighteen other states were represented in this year’s match, with New York receiving the highest number of Keck School students for the third year in a row.

Student Jackie Eastman is excited to leave for the University of North Carolina (UNC) for a residency in internal medicine.

“It’s a great place to live, and UNC has a great program,” she said. “My fiancé really wants to move there, and so this is the perfect match.”

The most popular specialty was internal medicine, with a record high of 34 Keck School students being matched. This was followed by general surgery and emergency medicine (each with 15 students); obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics (each with 12 students); and orthopedics (10 students).

Shemi Jalil is excited about her residency at LAC+USC in internal medicine

“I love it because it encompasses every disease, and I’m still excited to learn more about every organ system,” she said. “I’ve been here at USC for many years, and I’m excited to continue here because of all the support given to students.”

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