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March 19, 2012 - Match Day

Pavan Kapadia matched in internal medicine at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

Maggie Saverino (left), matched in orthopaedic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Sarah Moon (right) matched in psychiatry at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

Fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama gathered March 16 at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, anxiously awaiting the results of Match Day.

In this annual tradition called the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), or more commonly termed Match Day, future doctors at medical schools across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.

The Match works like this. After interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

“Match Day is like a computerized dating service,” said Dr. Maggi O’Brien, associate dean of student affairs at the USA College of Medicine. “It’s really an exciting time for our senior students – they will be matching all across the country."

Kacie Saulters, a fourth-year medical student and class president at the USA College of Medicine, is a first generation college student in her family. Saulters, who is originally from Gadsden, Ala., matched in internal medicine-primary care at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

“The University of Virginia was my first choice, and I’m super excited,” Saulters said. “I think it’s going to be a great program and a great fit for me.”

Senior medical student Luke Wiggins matched in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles. Only 13 students across the United States and Canada matched in this specialty last year.

“I feel really great about it, and I’m very excited to be going there for my residency,” said Wiggins, who will graduate from the USA College of Medicine in May with research honors. “When I interviewed there I felt like I got along with the faculty and residents really well.”

The NRMP also allows couples to form pairs of choices on their primary rank order lists. The couple will match to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position.

Melissa Reimer and her fiancé Casey McAtee couples matched at this year’s celebration. McAtee is a medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who joined Reimer at the local Match Day festivities.

Reimer and McAtee, who will be tying the knot in September, spent a year in Bolivia doing clinical research and later returned for an international rotation.

“Our time in Bolivia was a great experience in a lot of ways – before we went, we hoped to learn how to conduct clinical research, improve our Spanish, and learn about a different part of the world,” Reimer said. “All of these goals were met, and we came to love the people and the culture of Bolivia.”

Both Reimer and McAtee matched in New Orleans – Reimer in internal medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine and McAtee in pediatrics at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.

USA medical student Ashleigh Butts-Wilkerson had a lifelong dream of becoming a physician.

“As a high school student, I watched my grandfather battle cancer,” she said. “When I was able to go with him, he would always tell his physicians who I was and that I wanted to be a doctor one day. He called me ‘Dr. Butts.’”

Originally from Frankville, Ala., Butts-Wilkerson is an Ernest DeBakey Scholarship recipient. The Ernest G. DeBakey Charitable Foundation gives scholarship funds to USA medical students who commit to serving in rural Alabama communities as primary care doctors for at least five years after medical school and residency training.

“I hope to be able to work somewhere close to where I grew up – Clarke or Washington County – in order to give back to those what have given so much to me throughout the years,” Butts-Wilkerson said. “I enjoy small town life and feel that’s where I could be of greatest service.”

After matching in family medicine at USA, Butts-Wilkerson said she was thrilled. “I couldn’t be happier.”

“The USA College of Medicine offers a host of unique educational opportunities that other students have told me they missed out on while attending a different institution,” Butts-Wilkerson said. “I am very confident in the training that I have received here, and I know it will serve me well in residency and my career.”

More than 600 people that were unable to attend the event watched the Match Day festivities through a live stream.

To view more photos from Match Day, search "USA College of Medicine Match Day 2012" on Facebook or click here. To view the complete list of Match Day results, click here.

For more Match Day news coverage, click the following links:
FOX 10
Local 15

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