Tears were still streaming down Emily McGhee’s face Friday morning long after she had opened her letter from the National Residency Matching Program. This was the day she and her classmates had worked toward and now reality was setting in.
McGhee will be headed to Columbia, Missouri, this summer to begin her residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Missouri-Columbia Affiliated Hospitals.
“I got my number one choice,” McGhee said. “These are tears of joy. I was hoping for it, but to finally see it on paper is so exciting.”
Not even the cold weather and threat of rain that forced the day’s festivities inside could dampen the spirit of Match Day at the UMKC School of Medicine. Shouts of joy rang out from each of the school’s three theaters as 91 students began opening their match letters at 11 a.m.
The National Residency Matching Program reported nearly 35,000 medical students at schools across the country were part of Match Day events synchronized to take place all at the same time.
Nearly a fourth of this year’s School of Medicine class will be staying in the Kansas City metropolitan area to do their residencies, including 13 at UMKC School of Medicine programs and four in the pediatrics program at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Just more than half of the class matched with programs in internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, family medicine or obstetrics/gynecology – specialties that fall into the category of primary care. Internal medicine matches led the list with 22, followed by pediatrics with 17.
This year’s class also learned it will scatter throughout the country to begin residencies at hospitals from New York to Florida to California, and one even in Hawaii.
Parmpreet Kaur is one of those headed to the Big Apple, where she will begin training in child neurology at the Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.
“They have an excellent program there and I knew that I really liked that particular specialty,” Kaur said. “It is a very competitive specialty, so I’m just very, very excited that I matched.”
To make the day even more special, Kaur was celebrating with her parents who had driven from their home in Rochester, Minnesota.
“It was amazing to have them here with me,” she said. “This is such a big milestone.”
For Blake Montgomery, if the day seemed like a long time coming, it was for good reason. Montgomery took a full year off between his fourth and fifth years of the medical school program to be part of a research program at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
“A lot of my closest friends graduated last year, but I was fortunate to form a lot of friendships with this year’s class,” Montgomery said. “In some ways, it was like I had two match days.”
Last year, Montgomery stood in the School of Medicine courtyard and celebrated as his future wife, Caitlin Montgomery, matched to a pediatrics residency at Children’s Mercy. This time, it was her turn to watch as Montgomery opened his letter telling him that he had matched with the orthopaedic surgery residency program at Stanford University in California.
“This was worth the wait,” Montgomery said. “I learned a lot from my year in Bethesda about research. But this … it was definitely worth the wait.”