Match Day 2021 Evolves into Virtual Weeklong Celebration

Traditionally, noon on the third Friday in March is like New Year’s Eve for fourth-year medical students. It’s Match Day, the annual rite of passage in which all graduating medical students across the U.S. simultaneously learn which residency program they will be attending and where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives.

But during a pandemic nothing is usual, and for the second consecutive year Match Day was definitely not the same. This year BUSM celebrated Match Week, a week-long virtual event that was a collaboration between the Student Affairs Office and a 10-person SCOMSA subcommittee with representation from all four class years.

While the goal of Match Day has always been to celebrate students and their accomplishments, this year’s subcommittee sought to capture the camaraderie, family, friendship and reflection that the day embodies. Videos shared across social media channels during the week highlighted favorite medical school memories including ways to stay awake and post exam rituals, what makes Boston special, messages of support from friends and family, a montage of student pictures and more.

The week culminated with a livestream broadcast by BUSM deans on Match Day, March 19. Immediately after the livestream concluded, the future doctors received a personalized email from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) informing them of their match and then they had an opportunity to join their classmates in virtual specialty breakout rooms to celebrate.

Watch a recording of the livestream event

Kristen Goodell, MD, Associate Dean for Admissions shared, “I like transitions, this is why I do my job. I think it’s so exciting when you’re at that place where you’re about to take the next big step and where a whole bunch of things are going to change. And so today, I am thinking about all of those times in my life and I am really excited for all of you. I know you are going to be great doctors.

“And so from the Admissions Office, I offer a toast to all of you, to all the changes to come, to your continued growth, and to your bright shiny futures,” said Dr. Goodell.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate our fourth-year class on reaching this wonderful moment in their careers,” said Associate Dean for Medical Education Priya Garg, MD. “You have faced so much uncertainty in these four years and you have done it with resilience…And this year by far was one filled with uncertainty all of us could not imagine. So, for all of you who are going to open your email, I want you to remember how much you have accomplished. Cheers to all of you!”

Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion John Polk, MD, explained, “Your challenge is to address healthcare inequities and healthcare disparities, primarily access to care. I know you can do it, having seen you in action here over the four years of medical school. I am extremely optimistic that you will be able to conquer this… Congratulations!”

“It is an honor and privilege to join you on this very important day. I can still recall the excitement and the nervousness that I felt on match day 17 years ago,” said Assistant Dean for Alumni Affairs Heather Miselis, MD. “I encourage you to remain connected with the School as well as your classmates. The Alumni Association is here to help you maintain those connections…Best of luck in your match in the residency. Best wishes for success in your medical career. Cheers!”

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Jackson, MD, shared, “It has been such a pleasure to work with you over these past years, to see you grow and develop, to watch you just become these fabulous physicians…Wherever you go, the place that you are going to train, the next step in your adventure, they are lucky to have you…Congratulations to all of you! Cheers to the Class of 2021. Well done!”

“On behalf of the deans and faculty, I am delighted to offer a virtual toast to the Class of 2021! We would love to be doing this in person, but the present circumstances do not allow it in Massachusetts,” said Dean Karen Antman, MD, during the livestreamed event.

“Boston University School of Medicine is proud of practicing on the frontlines of medicine and training outstanding physicians like you. You are clearly graduating at one of the most challenging times in the last century in medicine, but the faculty are absolutely convinced that you are up the job,” said Dean Antman.

BUSM students matched in residencies in 28 states, from Vermont to California, Minnesota to Texas. Forty are staying in Massachusetts, with New York (22), California (19), Pennsylvania (10), and Florida (6) and Illinois (6) as the next most popular states.

Fifty-one members of the class matched in primary care specialties. The top specialties include: internal medicine (32), emergency medicine (15), anesthesiology (13), pediatrics (13), general surgery (10), neurology (8), diagnostic radiology (8), otolaryngology (7), family medicine (6), ophthalmology (6), orthopaedic surgery (6), psychiatry (6) and urology (6).

“We are delighted that 20 of you will be staying at Boston Medical Center, plus one at our Children’s Hospital-Boston Medical Center Combined Pediatrics program,” added Dean Antman.

Earlier in the week former Associate Dean for Admissions and Professor Emeritus Robert Witzburg, MD, who admitted the Class of 2021, shared his best wishes in a video message. “I remain supremely confident, confident in the profession of medicine and in you,” he said. “I’m confident in the profession because we’ve faced hard times before, perhaps nothing exactly like the current environment, but we’ve had tough times and we always emerge stronger than we were before. The profession is a bunch of resilient people and you will make it stronger. The profession of medicine will be fine.

“And you? I am confident in you as well,” he continued. “And it’s not just because of all that you have accomplished. It’s not the GPAs and the MCATs and the board scores and the papers you published. Those things for me only serve as a window into the really important stuff – who you are and what you are about as people. You are really a fine bunch. You will make the world a better place, one patient at a time. You will be wonderful house officers, great physicians and scientists. I congratulate you on what you have accomplished. I congratulate you on reaching this moment in life and I wish you every success. Go in peace.”

Watch Dr. Witzburg’s message.