March Madness = Match Gladness for DMU’s D.O. Class of 2023: 100% Residency Placement

The Zoom screens featured all smiles during the virtual Match Day celebration on March 17 for Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2023. And for a good reason: All 204 members of the class successfully matched, with 197 in the National Residency Match Program and seven class members in military residencies. 

Students matched in programs nationwide, including at Rush University, University of Iowa, Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt University, University of Nebraska, University of Minnesota and Baylor University.  

Steven Halm, D.O., FAAP, FACP, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, praised the class as future “quality, compassionate physicians” and noted that as a COM class, the members “probably had the most to adjust to” during their four years as DMU with the COVID-19 pandemic, which required pivoting to fully online and then hybrid approaches in courses and labs.  

“We shed a few tears – tears of joy we have as mentors to you in celebrating your future and your success,” he said during the celebration. 

The college continued its tradition of being one of the nation’s largest educators for physicians entering primary care. In the Class of 2023, 109 students – 55% – will enter the fields of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.  

In addition, Halm said, this year was “particularly strong” for students entering competitive surgical specialties, with three students matching into otolaryngology (ENT surgery), six matching to general surgery and nine going into orthopedic surgery. 

Wynde Cheek, D.O.’03, FACN, a general neurologist in private practice in Helena, Montana, and a DMU Alumni Association Board of Directors member, provided a recorded message for the virtual event to add her congratulations to her soon-to-be fellow COM alumni. 

“Today, a new course, a new path, has been plotted in your life. You’re one step closer to becoming osteopathic physicians,” she said.  

Past president of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists/American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists and a board member of the Montana Osteopathic Medical Association, Cheek encouraged students to “see opportunity in every difficulty versus seeing difficulty in every opportunity” as they begin residency. She cited several inspirational quotations, including one by Martin Luther King Jr.: “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” 

“Embrace change with open arms,” she added. “It can be frightening but also enriching on so many levels.” 

Cheek called the students “shining examples of being ‘purple and proud,’” reflecting the university’s school color. Halm commended the students for working extensively over the past year with Jennifer Beaty, M.D., FACS, FASCRS, COM associate dean for student advancement and graduate medical education, “to allow for a tremendously smooth and successful match process. Congratulations to our Class of 2023!” 

During the celebration, Beaty continued her annual tradition of regaling students with a composition based on a well-known song or poem. This year, she adapted Smash Mouth’s “All Star” to describe the stress, learning challenges and triumphs that mark medical school. 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, this year’s national D.O. class was the largest to ever participate in the National Resident Matching Program’s Match Week. The percentage of D.O. seniors nationwide who matched rose to 91.6%, the highest ever during the single match era. DMU’s match rate consistently exceeds the national average rate year to year. It was 100% last year and has averaged 99.7% over the past six years.  

In addition, the number of U.S. D.O. seniors participating was a record-high 7,436, an increase of 1.8% over 2022. Of those, 6,812 matched to first-year residency positions, a 2.2% increase from last year and also a new record high. 

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