One can easily understand why Match Day, which occurred this year on March 19, is a momentous occasion for medical students across the country: It’s the day they learn whether and which medical residency programs they’ve been matched into for the next three to seven years. During a special Zoom event that morning, members of the DMU College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) D.O. Class of 2021, like their peers nationwide, waited breathlessly to find out their fate.
“It has been a crazy year,” COM Dean Steven Halm, D.O., FAAP, FACP, told students during the event. “This day is about you, and it’s a big, big day, the day to find out exactly where your next steps will be in your career.”
March 19 turned out to be a big day for COM, too: Despite the challenges of the pandemic, which forced residency interviews to occur virtually, and the competition for positions sparked in part by the single graduate medical education accreditation system for all osteopathic and allopathic programs, now in its second year, DMU’s D.O. Class of 2021 achieved an overall match rate of 98 percent. That includes the 100 percent match rate of DMU students who applied for military residencies, announced in December; the initial National Residency Matching Program® (NRMP®) match, completed on March 15; and the Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) process, March 15-18.
“Ninety-eight percent is awesome,” Dean Halm said, “and we’re all so very proud of you.”
The 2021 residency match was the largest in NRMP® history with the highest number of total positions offered, 38,106. The number of applicants who registered for the 2021 match also reached an all-time high of 48,700, an increase of 3,741, or 8.3 percent, over 2020, and the largest single-year bump in recorded history.
Dean Halm praised Jennifer Beaty, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, COM associate dean for graduate medical education and student advancement, and Susan Lane, student advancement and graduate medical education coordinator, for working with students through the past year as they prepared their residency applications and supporting documents. He also thanked several clinical faculty members who helped students navigate the process. The faculty will continue to work with the 2 percent of class members who didn’t match, he added.
Eric Neverman, D.O.’12, M.H.A.’12, chief medical officer at the Grundy County Memorial Hospital in Grundy Center, IA, and a member of the DMU Alumni Board of Directors, told students during the Zoom event that he well remembered “being in your shoes just a few short years ago.”
“Today is one of those days you are going to remember forever,” he said. “You are truly beginning your transition from being a DMU student to your residency as a practicing physician…I know some of you are worried you’re not prepared, but I want you to know that every single one of you has what it takes to be a wonderful physician. Trust me: you guys are ready for what comes next.
“You are joining a family of thousands of DMU alumni across the country who are here to help you,” added Dr. Neverman, who also is an adjunct faculty member at DMU.
Before students left the Zoom event to log on to the NRMP® website to learn where they matched, Dr. Beaty applauded them with a poem, a la “’Twas the Night before Christmas.”
“’Tis the morning for match and all through the Zoom, the fourth-years are waiting in disparate rooms…With DMU alumni and staff at the ready, parents, spouses and friends holding you steady,” she recited.
“With so much passion, dedication and grit, the Class of ‘21’s ERAS* applications were full of wit,” she continued. “They aced the virtual interviews and put their competition to shame. They soon will be doctors, and we’ll call them by name.”
(*The Electronic Residency Application Service® is the centralized online application service medical students use to submit their application and supporting documents for residency programs.)