/////Match Day Brings Cheers, Tears for UAMS Students
Match Day Brings Cheers, Tears for UAMS Students 2018-01-05T09:16:52+00:00

MARCH 28, 2006 | After four years of school, 130 senior medical students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) ripped open envelopes March 16 to find out where the next phase of their lives would take them.


The annual Match Day ceremony brought students, friends and family members for the traditional gathering at Juanita’s Mexican Café in Little Rock where the soon-to-be doctors found out where they would serve their residences. The crowd counted down the final seconds to 11 a.m., when the results of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) are released simultaneously to more than 26,000 medical school students across the country. A nationwide computerized selection process matches the fourth-year students with residency openings based on student preference and availability.


“How does it feel? Amazing!” said class president Kate McCarthy of Little Rock minutes after finding out her orthopaedic surgical residency would be at Northwestern McCaw in Chicago – her first choice. “I’m ready to fulfill my dream of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon and follow in my father’s footsteps since he was an orthopaedic surgeon, too.”


McCarthy, the subject of a two-part story about Match Day on one local TV station, was trailed by a TV camera as she hugged her parents.


Students were called to the stage in groups and handed the envelope with their residency information. Each then read their destination over a microphone to the cheers of those in attendance. Many rushed to their seats, pulled out wireless phones and began frantically calling family and friends with the news.


Richard Wheeler, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs, presided over the ceremony, which saw 79 seniors appointed to residency positions in Arkansas. Fifty-six received out-of-state residences in 26 different states.


“It is always pretty exciting since they come into the room not knowing where they are going,” Wheeler said. “This year we had the lowest number who didn’t match – six – since I started tracking it in 1990. This is such a good group.”


Wheeler noted that 47 percent of the seniors received residences in a primary care specialty (internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine or obstetrics and gynecology). The most popular residency choices included family medicine (18 students), internal medicine (17), anesthesiology (13) and psychiatry (13).


Those who did not match found out earlier in the week. They then had an opportunity to find the location of remaining unfilled residency slots and contact those programs. Six other UAMS seniors matched through early match programs.


Jacob Smith, originally from Harrison, had family members to cheer him on, including 20-month old son Corban, whom he carried up to the microphone with him. Four-month old son Finley looked on from his carrier nearby as Smith found out he got his choice of an otolaryngology (ear-nose-throat specialty) residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.


Nick Greenwood, originally from Utah, also had help at the microphone, from 18-month old daughter Gabby. Asked later what he looked forward to most about his residency, he said quickly with a laugh, “Getting a paycheck.”


The class also included three married couples: Brian Burton (obstetrics and gynecology, UAMS) and Jaime Burton (internal medicine, UAMS); Jennifer McLaughlin (dermatology, Texas Tech University) and Nathan McLaughlin (internal medicine, Texas Tech University); and Clint Wood (surgery, Baylor University in Dallas) and Sara Wood (pediatrics, University of Texas Southwest Medical School in Dallas).


Though the Match Day ceremony was marked by cheers and tears of joy, Wheeler said there was a touch of melancholy earlier in the day.


“Earlier in the day we all met before coming over here and I told them the stats, that there were matches in 26 states. And there was silence in the room,” Wheeler said. “I think they started to realize that these people who they had lived with and worked with and gone to school with for four years…they would be going on and getting out of here to go have a career.”


The seniors will receive their medical degrees during graduation on May 20.

Links on This Page

National Residency Matching Program:


It’s Match Day for Graduating UAMS Students (KTHV, Ch. 11): http://www.kthv.com/news/news.aspx?aid=24034&storyid=25288&bw=


Students Prepare for Match Day (KTHV, Ch. 11): http://www.todaysthv.com/news/search/results.aspx?storyid=25222