Pictured: NYITCOM students at Match Day at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y.
On March 17, the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (NYITCOM) Class of 2023 learned where they will spend the next several years completing their medical residencies after graduation.
This year, NYITCOM achieved an impressive 100 percent match rate, with all members of the Class of 2023 placed into residencies. This is well above the 93.7 percent national average for M.D. seniors.
The annual event, known as “Match Day,” takes place on the third Friday of March, with NYITCOM students joining thousands of medical students across the country in discovering the next chapter of their medical education journey. The event is one of—if not the most—anticipated days in a student’s medical school career.
After completing medical school, physicians must undergo a residency to obtain their license to practice medicine in the United States. Residencies typically last three to seven years, depending on the specialty. During their final year of medical school, students apply and interview for residencies. Once they have completed their interviews, students rank their preferred programs, and the programs rank the preferred candidates they have interviewed. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) then uses an algorithm to “match” candidates with programs based on rankings. Results are kept top-secret from both the future doctors and the matching hospitals until they are opened.
This year, graduating NYITCOM-Long Island and NYITCOM-Arkansas students gathered at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y., and the Embassy Suites by Hilton Jonesboro Red Wolf Convention Center, respectively. At both ceremonies, students crossed the stage to receive sealed envelopes containing the much-anticipated results.
NYITCOM-Arkansas student Brittany Taylor will perform her psychiatry residency at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, Okla., with plans to return to Arkansas after she finishes her training.
At the Long Island celebration, NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., reflected on the influences that may have led future physicians to decide which field of medicine they will pursue.
“Maybe you started medical school with an idea already…maybe you did a clinical rotation [that exposed you to this field], or maybe you worked with a mentor who guided you and you thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ Perhaps you even met a patient who influenced your decision. Now, after all the hours of dedicated hard work over the last four years, we are here at this moment—the opening of the next chapter of your medical education journey.”
Shortly after, the envelopes were ripped open to the sound of cheers.
Residencies were secured at institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic (anesthesiology), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (multiple specialties), University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School (neurology), Duke University Medical Center (pediatrics), and many others.
NYITCOM students also matched into some of the most competitive specialties, including interventional radiology, dermatology, radiation oncology, urology, neurological surgery, and ophthalmology.
Sylvia Marshall, right, celebrates her residency match with NYITCOM research mentor and faculty member Aki Watanabe.
One student who secured a competitive ophthalmology residency was Sylvia Marshall, a Long Island student in the Academic Medicine Scholars program, who matched with the University of Buffalo. As an NYITCOM student, Marshall worked in the laboratory of Assistant Professor of Anatomy Akinobu Watanabe, Ph.D., where she assisted with his National Science Foundation-funded research on cranial birth defects and the 3-D imaging of eyes from human cadavers.
“I am excited to gain exposure to a wide array of eye conditions, hone my slit lamp examination skills, engage in research projects, and develop meaningful doctor-patient relationships. Ophthalmology is also a surgical subspecialty, which means that much of my time will be spent in the operating room—I know this will be a highlight of my training,” said Marshall, whose experience as a former ophthalmic technician influenced her residency field decision.
She also plans to one day lend her training to Doctors Without Borders and provide access to medical treatments in areas where access to healthcare is limited.
Many soon-to-be physicians from NYITCOM-Arkansas will also go on to provide access to medically underserved communities. The Class of 2023 is the fourth class for the Jonesboro, Ark.-based medical school, which opened in 2016 to train physicians to address the growing physician shortage in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta region. This year, 63 percent of NYITCOM-Arkansas fourth-year students were placed into programs that will keep them in Arkansas, a targeted-Delta state, or a state contiguous to Arkansas.
Married couple Connor and Alexa Gibbs matched at Unity Health in Searcy, Ark. Connor, a Searcy native, will specialize in emergency medicine while Alexa will join Unity’s psychiatry program.
Among those are Connor and Alexa Gibbs, who couples matched at Unity Health in Searcy, Ark. Connor, a Searcy native, will specialize in emergency medicine, while Alexa will join Unity’s psychiatry program. Connor and Alexa met during their first year at NYITCOM-Arkansas and married while in medical school. They’re excited to be staying in Central Arkansas.
“We looked at programs across the country, but our hearts are in Central Arkansas, and this is where we both ultimately want to practice,” Connor said. “We’ll be in my hometown, and Alexa’s family is very close. We were fortunate to find programs at the same health system that meet both of our goals and objectives, and the strong family ties to the area are really nice.”
Arkansas ranks 48th in overall population health status due to low health indicators. Given the region’s significant healthcare needs, the school also encourages students to pursue primary care specialties. This year, 75 percent of its students were matched into primary care positions, including 30 percent in internal medicine, 25 percent in family medicine, and 18 percent who will specialize in psychiatry, pediatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology.
“The most significant needs in our state and region are in those front-line specialties,” said Shane Speights, D.O., NYITCOM-Arkansas site dean. “Front-line physicians are those physicians that provide that valuable, initial assessment and care to the citizens of our state. We place an emphasis on those specialties, and it’s fantastic to see so many of our students pursue those fields.”
By Casey Pearce