It wasn’t the way our BUSM fourth-year MD students envisioned it. Many pictured a large room, breakfast with friends and family, lots of red balloons, a champagne toast, and faculty and classmates crowded around tables covered in white envelopes. Instead, courtesy of COVID-19, the future doctors hunkered down in small groups off campus and anxiously waited for an email from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to arrive at noon on Friday, March 20.
A special planning group worked with the Student Affairs office to create Match 2.0, a virtual celebration, complete with “Covideos,” and special shout-outs from celebrities and pro athletes, including ABC’s The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison, former NFL fullback Glenn Gronkowski, Boston Celtic Enes Kanter and their favorite healing pup Otis, helped mark the day for the creative and resilient four-year students. Students asked friends and family members to record their reactions when they opened their NRMP email and then uploaded them to the Student Affairs Instagram account.
“On behalf of the deans and faculty, I am delighted to offer a virtual toast to the class of 2020! We would love to be having this Match celebration live, but the present circumstances do not permit groups of more than 25 in Massachusetts,” said Dean Karen Antman, MD, via video.
“BUSM is proud of practicing at the frontlines of medicine and training outstanding physicians and scientists like you. You are clearly graduating at one of the most medically challenging times of the last century, but the faculty know that you are up to this challenge.
Match day is the annual rite of passage that occurs on the third Friday in March in which all graduating medical students across the US participate. They learn which residency program they will be attending and where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Jackson, MD, shared via video, “It’s such a privilege to be involved in your transition from civilian to physician. You’re ready for the challenge ahead and I am just so very proud of you and for all of your hard work.”
BUSM students matched in residencies in 29 states, from Maine to California, Canada to Texas. Nearly 30 percent are staying in Massachusetts (55), with California (30), New York (21), Illinois (11), and Pennsylvania (11) as the next most popular states.
Thirty-six percent of the class matched in primary care specialties, compared to 30 percent last year. The top specialties include: internal medicine (41), general surgery (24), pediatrics (15), emergency medicine (15), obstetrics/gynecology (13), family medicine (12).
“We are delighted to be keeping 28 of you who matched to BMC and three more who matched to our combined BMC-Children’s Pediatric residency, for a total of 31,” added Dean Antman in her video.
In another video message, former Associate Dean for Admissions Robert Witzburg, MD, shared his best wishes to the class of 2020. Commenting on the global pandemic he said, “I’m not worried about you. I’m not worried about whether or not you will step up to the challenge and do more than your share. I say that only in small part because of the remarkable things you’ve accomplished during your time here at the medical school. I say it because of who you are and what you’re about as people, as individual human beings. You’re a remarkable bunch. You have accomplished a great deal. You will do great things in the future, I’m confident of that. I wish you every success. Good luck and go in peace.”