For Immediate Release         Wednesday, April 21, 2010  

Students learn on ‘Match Day’ where medical training continues.
“A lot of nerves,” one student says.


For Cynthia Chavira, who will graduate this June from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, everything boiled down to a single white envelope.

Anxiously, she read the one-page note, describing where her medical training would continue. Turns out, the University of Southern California residency program in psychiatry, was among her top choices. The news left her beaming.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s the next big step.” 

Chavira was one of 17 seniors in the Charles Drew University/UCLA Medical Education Program who participated in a national tradition called “Match Day.”  A record 16,000 U.S. medical school seniors nationwide learned March 18 of their postgraduate placements, according to the National Resident Matching Program, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that tracks medical student residencies.

Seniors applied for these training programs, lasting at least a year but typically three to seven years, and were interviewed at hospitals. Student and institutional preferences were paired by computer through the Matching Program group, and the results were kept confidential until Thursday morning.   

In Cobb Foyer, on the Charles Drew University campus, the envelopes were passed out before 9 a.m. PDT and held until the entire group received one. Then, students sitting with loved ones ripped open the envelopes for news that will shape their young careers.

One student, upon reading her letter said, “Yessss!” Another smiled and said, “Oh, my God!” One student shed tears of joy, while another one spoke excitedly into a cell phone. Loved ones embraced amid a frenzy of picture-taking.

Nationwide, 93% of U.S. medical school seniors were partnered to a first-year residency position, while 82% were matched with a top-three pick, a report by the Matching Program showed.

Similar figures for the Charles Drew University/UCLA program – a unique partnership between the universities noted for producing graduates planning to practice in medically underserved areas and for being named in a recent study as “best performer” in the University of California system for producing underrepresented minority physicians – were not available.

A large majority of this year’s students were matched with a training program in Southern California, though several will travel out-of-state to New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, including hospitals affiliated with Ivy League institutions, Cornell and Harvard universities. 

“This is a tremendous point in your lives, and your family member’s lives as you take a step forward toward becoming the physician you want to become,” said Dr. Keith C. Norris, Charles Drew University’s interim president.

Dr. Daphne Calmes, associate dean, Medical Student Affairs, at Charles Drew University praised this class as one of the “most competent and caring group of students we’ve ever had.”

Among them were Sarah Medeiros, who was matched with the UCLA Medical Center emergency medicine program. “I thought I had a good chance of matching at UCLA,” said Medeiros, who will practice emergency medicine. “There’s no way to know for sure, but I was hopeful.”

She completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, and conducted medical research and worked in biotech before landing at Charles Drew University/UCLA. Medeiros, like the rest of the class, remains dedicated to caring for underserved communities, a distinct trademark of Charles Drew University graduates. 

After completing her residency, she plans to teach at a county hospital and to analyze global health inequities, an area of interest she honed while studying global medicine in London, and conducting research in Uganda and South Africa.

Sitting across the aisle from her, Nathan Ford kept calculating his options of where he may end up. “We talk about ‘Match Day’ even before we start medical school, and coming into that day, there are a lot of nerves,” he said.

Ford, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of San Diego, was elated to receive his top choice at V.A. Greater L.A. Health Systems in physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for preliminary surgery. “It was just a relief that I was not going to leave L.A,” he said.

‘Match Day’ probably represents the third-happiest moment a medical student will experience over the next three to five years, said Dr. Richard Baker, Charles Drew University’s dean of the College of Medicine.

Thursday’s event will likely be surpassed only by the day when students finish their residency training and, of course, the day when their own practice is launched, meeting their own patients and drawing their own paychecks, Baker said.

Though she’s looking forward to those milestones, Chavira was thrilled with her new assignment. No one, after all, expected her to make it this far, she said, let alone to have a single college degree. She previously earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from UCLA.
Growing up in Dinuba, a small town in central California, she remembered travelling out-of-town for health care. She could not recall ever knowing a physician by name.

Reflecting on the next step in her journey, still basking in the glow of her acceptance letter, she said, “I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Charles Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program Match Results for 2010
  Psychiatry Harvard-South Shore  (MA)
  Physical Medicine & Rehab. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Sys.
  Surgery--Preliminary Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  Anesthesiology N.Y-Presbyterian-Weill Cornell
  Psychiatry USC Medical Center
  Emergency Medicine UCLA Medical Center
  Physical Medicine & Rehab. VA Greater L.A. Healthcare Sys.  
  Surgery Preliminary  Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  General Surgery Easton (PA) Hospital
  Emergency Medicine Staten Island Univ. Hospital (NY)
  Pediatrics Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  Internal Medicine   UCLA Medical Center 
  Internal Medicine   Huntington Memorial Hospital
  Emergency Medicine   UCLA Medical Center
  General Surgery  Travis Air Force Base (San Jose)
  Pediatrics   Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  Internal Medicine  Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
  Surgery-Preliminary  Kaiser Permanente
  Emergency Medicine  Harbor-UCLA Medical Center   



Shaunda Grisby and Tyisha Seymour are all smiles as they hold their Match envelopes.
 

Links:
National Resident Matching Program
http://www.nrmp.org/
Washington Post
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/campus-overload/2010/03/match_day_at_george_washington.html
Los Angeles Times
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/03/medical-students-residencies-match.html
The Baltimore Sun
http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bal-md.hs.matchday19mar19,0,4697956.story

 
 

For more information, please contact:
Daryl Strickland
Media Advisor
Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Telephone: (562) 229-4924


ABOUT CHARLES DREW UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND SCIENCE:

CDU is a private nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals.  The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. The university is among the top 7 percent of National Institutes of Health-funded institutions and rated one of the top 50 private universities in research in the U.S.  Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the “best performer” in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians. For more information, visit
http://www.cdrewu.edu/

 
 

CHARLES DREW UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND SCIENCE
1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
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