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Published: Saturday, 3/16/2013

Med students get assignments

UT holds annual Match Day to dole out hospital residencies

Anna Haarstad, 28, left, and her husband, Michael, 31, show off their Hawkeye T-shirts in celebration of his acceptance to his first-choice residency, emergency medicine at the University of Iowa. Anna Haarstad, 28, left, and her husband, Michael, 31, show off their Hawkeye T-shirts in celebration of his acceptance to his first-choice residency, emergency medicine at the University of Iowa.
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It wasn’t your traditional display of joy.

Moments after fourth-year University of Toledo medical student Michael Haarstad discovered that he would be serving his residency at the University of Iowa — his hoped-for first choice — Mr. Haarstad, 31, and his wife, Anna, 28, tore off their jackets — to the surprise of dozens of nearby onlookers.

Underneath the coats, the couple wore matching T-shirts emblazoned with the Iowa school logo.

“I’m not sure what we would have done if he hadn’t gotten Iowa,” Mrs. Haarstad said.

The Haarstads weren’t the only ones whose happiness was evident Friday.

Shrieks of joy filled the air as 164 students from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Toledo, formerly the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, tore open envelopes to learn where they will serve their residencies.

The 2013 Residency Match Reception — a time-honored annual ceremony for fourth-year medical students — was held at the Pinnacle in Maumee. Known as Match Day, the annual event takes place nationwide after a computerized program administered by the National Resident Matching Program puts together graduating students and academic hospitals, based on how both groups rank their choices.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, University of Toledo chancellor, who addressed students during the ceremony, congratulated them on their accomplishments, and urged them to always be confident in their skills and never lose track of their mission.

Mr. Haarstad, who grew up in Minnesota, said he was eager to attend the University of Iowa because of its reputation as an outstanding medical school. His field of study is emergency medicine, which he hopes will land him a job in a hospital emergency department.

Dr. Gold, who is also the dean of the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences, noted that the fourth-year medical students at the University of Toledo matched into 164 positions in 22 medical specialties.

The most popular fields of study were pediatrics, internal medicine, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine.

Students spend months interviewing at residency programs across the country, searching for the ideal place to learn their chosen specialties. Students rank their top institutional choices, and academic medical centers across the country rank their top student choices.

Depending on the specialty, residencies can last three to seven years, and have a major impact on the training and lives of the medical students. Residents are licensed physicians who care for patients under the supervision of attending physicians.

School administrators, faculty, staff, and students paused during the ceremony to pay tribute to medical student Amie J. Litzinger, who died Jan. 1 after an illness linked to a genetic heart disease. She would have graduated from the University of Toledo in June, with a doctorate of medicine degree.

In honor of their classmate, the Amie J. Litzinger M.D., Class of 2013 Endowed Scholarship Fund has been established and an award will be made each year to a medical student who has demonstrated a record of volunteerism and community involvement — attributes that Ms. Litzinger was known for, school officials said.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.

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