Match Day is a day when dreams come true and emotions run high. It is the day medical students nationwide and around the world open their match letters to learn in which U.S. residency program they will train for the next three to seven years. This year a record-high of more than 37,000 applicants vied for more than 33,000 positions.
It is a highly competitive process, but Yves-Dany Accilien knows about beating the odds. Born in Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, soon he’ll be graduating from medical school. Accilien took his sister, mother and the Haitian flag with him up to the stage at the Graham Center Ballrooms last Friday to open the envelope that would determine the beginning of his future in medicine. As he read the content of his Match letter, he was overcome with emotion, words failed him, tears flowed; they all hugged. Finally, he stepped up to the microphone to announce that he had landed his first choice residency program.
“I matched into emergency medicine, University of Chicago,” he said. His classmates in the audience roared.
One hundred and eleven students from Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Class of 2018 participated in this year’s Match.
“We are very excited and proud that every one of our students was offered a residency position,” said Dr. John A. Rock, founding dean of Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. “We also are pleased that 66 percent of our students will be going into primary care and that nearly half of them are staying right here in Florida.”
There is a shortage of primary care physicians nationwide, and the college encourages students to consider specialties in the field including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology and psychiatry. The fact that 46 percent of the class is continuing its medical training in Florida is also important because research shows that young doctors tend to set up practice close to where they do their residencies or fellowships. Twenty-seven of this year’s grads will be doing residencies in South Florida.
A day when tragedy and success were juxtaposed
Every year, Match Day is held by the National Resident Matching Program on the third Friday of March. This year, it came the day after the SW 8th Street pedestrian bridge collapse.
Students, faculty and staff wore Panther gold ribbons in honor and support of all of those affected by the tragedy. Interim Executive Associate Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Karin Esposito, who led a moment of silence, acknowledged it was a day to celebrate the students’ achievement, but with heavy hearts.
“Today is one of those days in life when tragedy and success are juxtaposed. Where we both have a reason to be sad, and a reason to celebrate. And as physicians we encounter this a lot,” she said. “It’s something that can happen within a day, within a few hours in rounds. Where we have a patient, a situation that might be very sad and then we have a situation where we might be celebrating or have a reason to celebrate. And we learn that we have to work with all of the families, and be there for both the sadness and the celebration.”
Esposito also commended the first responders some of whom are college of medicine doctors, students and medical staff from FIU Health who were first on the scene and took quick action to help.