Not Even a Pandemic Could Stop Future FAU Physicians from ‘Matching’

Match Day, Residency Results, Medical School, Students, Physicians, Medical Residents

Michelle Wilson learns that she will be conducting a residency in family medicine at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

By gisele galoustian | 3/19/2021

Florida Atlantic University’s soon-to-be physicians learned today where they will be going for their next phase of training – medical residency. They are one step closer to becoming board certified physicians and helping the United States to bolster its physician workforce following a challenging year. The Schmidt College of Medicine’s class of 2021 celebrated safely, with half of the students participating with masks at a small outdoor gathering with select, vaccinated faculty. The other half of the class participated virtually, along with family and friends of all classmates. At noon, along with other physicians-to-be around the country, FAU’s class of 2021 opened their sealed envelopes containing their residency match results.   

Match Day occurs nationally on the third Friday of March every year where the results of the National Resident Matching Program (NMRP) are announced. Results of the Main Residency Match are closely watched because they can predict future changes in the physician workforce. 

“Class of 2021, I am incredibly proud of each of you for making it to Match Day after such a turbulent and trying year – one like no other class of fourth-year medical students has ever encountered. You have met chaos and uncertainty with an admirable combination of grace and grit,” said Phillip Boiselle, M.D., dean of FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “Through your perseverance, you have emerged stronger, with your eyes gazing toward the future – a future that begins today with your matches. As you look toward the future, I can assure you that the very skills you honed during this pandemic – especially your ability to meet chaos with calm, your agility in adapting to changing circumstances and your steadfast compassion toward your patients and one another – will make you better interns and residents, and ultimately better doctors to your future patients.”

The composition of the class of 2021 is 55 percent female and 45 percent male; and 25 percent of the class are underrepresented minorities in medicine.

Among the class of 2021 is Michelle Wilson, a Miami native and a Nigerian-American who is the first medical doctor in her family and the first medical student to graduate with her M.D. degree next month through the joint FAU-Florida A&M University Medical Scholars Program. FAU and FAMU, a historically black university, partnered to provide a pipeline to increase diversity in medicine. Wilson will be conducting a residency in family medicine at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

“Family medicine encompasses all of the aspects of health care that I believe are important for an individual’s well-being,” said Wilson. “Involvement in patient care from the beginning to the end, and through all the highs and lows and in between, allows more doors to be opened and better outcomes. Family medicine is the definition of the ideal doctor-patient relationship.”  

In line with the medical school’s mission, approximately 22 percent of the class of 2021 will conduct their residency in Florida. Twenty-one of the 55 members of the class will specialize in primary care including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Relevant to the pandemic, one of the most popular residencies among FAU’s class of 2021 is emergency medicine; the residency matched for 11 of the 55 members. The class also matched in other highly specialized fields that are among the most competitive in the match process, including obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedic surgery, urology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, among others.

“Class of 2021, I have observed you develop into mature, skilled, talented and inspiring individuals, and it has been my distinct honor and pleasure to watch you learn, grow and serve,” said Sarah Wood, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, who addressed the class together with Stuart L. Markowitz, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs and admissions; and  Jennifer Caceres, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and admissions, all within FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “I am so extraordinarily proud of what each of you has accomplished and this envelope is just the beginning of the bright future ahead of you.”  

In addition to matching for their residencies, eight members of the class of 2021 had a different type of match – a “couple’s match.” Among them are Vivek Medepalli, who matched in emergency medicine, and his fiancée Gabriela “Gabby” Ocampo, who matched in pediatrics, both at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Medepalli and Ocampo met during the first week of medical school where their relationship flourished, initially as best friends.

Among the various Florida institutions where FAU’s class of 2021 placed are the University of Florida Shands Hospital; Broward Health Medical Center; Orlando Health; Florida State University College of Medicine – Sarasota; Memorial Healthcare System; University of Miami/Jackson Health System; University of Miami Morsani School of Medicine/Holy Cross; and FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine.

The class of 2021 also placed in several top institutions nationally, including Emory University School of Medicine; Massachusetts General Hospital; New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center; University of Chicago Medical Center; University of California, Irvine Medical Center; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Morningside-West; and Baylor College of Medicine-Houston.

In addition, on Match Day, 43 outstanding graduating medical students from diverse backgrounds throughout the nation successfully matched into FAU’s residency programs in internal medicine (24), surgery (six), emergency medicine (six), psychiatry (four) and neurology (three). FAU’s fellowships also welcomed new trainees in cardiovascular disease (two), geriatric medicine (two), and hospice and palliative medicine (one). 

The NRMP uses a computer algorithm, developed in 1952 by Nobel Prize-winning economist Alvin Roth, to place students in the program that they prefer. Each residency program at a hospital has a fixed number of first-year positions that they can fill each year based on their accreditation. Leading up to the big day, each student lists in order of preference the residency program that he or she seeks to work with and each residency program then ranks its applicants in order of its own preferences.