There were tears of joy and frantic hugs as 167 fourth-year medical students at the University of Toledo opened envelopes and learned simultaneously where they will spend the next three to seven years of their journeys to become physicians.
The Residency Match Reception is an annual event, with students usually waiting until noon Friday in the Stranahan Theater’s Great Hall to receive the envelope holding the key to their futures. Adrenaline was so high, however, that students were allowed to get the news about five minutes early.
“Today I found out that I match at my first choice of physical medicine and rehab at Emory University,” said 27-year-old Michael Bush-Arnold. “That means that I will be helping to treat patients with chronic diseases like spinal cord injuries, post-polio syndrome, sports medicine, kind of an array of all types of things.”
Mr. Bush-Arnold, who grew up in Toledo, will spend one more “transitional” year in Toledo, training at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, before heading to Atlanta for his three-year residency at Emory.
Medical students spend months interviewing at residency programs nationwide to find institutions that will help them hone their skills in their chosen fields. After they rank their top choices, a computer algorithm administered by the National Resident Matching Program puts the students and residency programs together.
Sumrine Raja, 26, who has lived in Toledo for 10 years, was ecstatic to learn she will complete her three-year residency in Internal Medicine at Mercy St. Vincent, her top choice.
“After that, I want to do primary care, doing outpatient clinics, seeing patients. That’s what I love, getting to know people, making connections — it’s my passion, and I’m so excited,” she said.
Ms. Raja and Mr. Bush-Arnold said they expect to have starting salaries of about $200,000 when they finish their residencies and start practicing medicine.
Many graduates at the event plan to stay in the Toledo area or elsewhere in Ohio. Nearly 40 percent of the group will move to hospitals in Ohio, and 19 of the students will continue their training at northwest Ohio hospitals.
“This is an important milestone in a medical student's life,” said Dr. Ron McGinnis, interim dean of UT's College of Medicine, the former Medical College of Ohio.
“Statistics tell us that if you do your residency in an area, you are likely to practice in a 50-mile-range of that area, so that may determine a long-term commitment to an area for a student so that's why we are excited that we have a lot of them staying in Ohio” Dr. McGinnis said.
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