Message from the Dean: Successful Match Day for the Class of 2020 and residency programs at WMed is cause for celebration

Dr. Hal B. Jenson
Dr. Hal B. Jenson

To be sure, the celebration surrounding this year’s Match Day felt very different – almost surreal – for the Class of 2020 at WMed, as well as all fourth-year medical students across the country.

It was a milestone marked in the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancelation of numerous celebrations nationwide, including a gathering the medical school had planned at the Air Zoo.

At WMed, many members of the Class of 2020 gathered in small groups that included their loved ones as they learned their Match results from an e-mail instead of the traditional Match Day envelope. The students celebrated their life-changing moments via text, through social media, and virtually with Facetime and other tools. 

In the end, said Dr. Hal B. Jenson, WMed’s founding dean, the extraordinary circumstances endured by the students could not dampen their joy or the elation of medical school faculty and leaders. It was a very successful Match Day that saw each student in the Class of 2020 match to a residency slot in what is an increasingly competitive process.

“Nothing could diminish the enthusiasm for how well our students performed in the Match,” Dr. Jenson said. “And even though we couldn’t be together as they learned where they would be headed for residency training, we were definitely with them in spirit.”

Among the 70 students from the Class of 2020 who took part in this year’s Match, three matched to residency slots at WMed and will complete their training in Kalamazoo in the specialties of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry. A total of 19 will remain in Michigan for residency, working in hospitals in Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Pontiac, and Royal Oak. Overall, 31 of graduating students will complete their training in a specialty that could lead to a career in primary care (internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine). WMed graduates will train in residency programs in 20 different states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Jenson said the Match results and the 100 percent Match rate for the Class of 2020 are a testament to the competent and compassionate physicians that the students will be when they begin residency training in July and take the next step on their journey as medical professionals. He said the results also speak to how well WMed faculty and the medical school’s MD curriculum have prepared the students to be well-rounded physicians.

The Class of 2020 will be the third to graduate from WMed. They are also the third class in as many years to have a successful Match Day that ended with each student matched to a residency program.

“It should be reassuring to our current and incoming students, as well as prospective students, that our graduates have done very well in matching to very competitive residency positions, all while outpacing the national match rate of 94 to 95 percent,” Dr. Jenson said. “For us as a new medical school, to have a 100 percent Match rate in each of our first three years, the results could not have turned out any better. Our students should be very pleased and our faculty should be very pleased with how our students have performed and how well our faculty have prepared students to be competitive in the Match.”

Dr. Jenson said he was also proud of the success that the medical school’s residency programs experienced on Match Day. Every position in each training program – Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry – filled on Match Day. In late June, WMed will welcome the group of more than 70 physicians to Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. The medical school will also welcome new fellows to its EMS, Forensic Pathology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Sports Medicine fellowship programs.

Additionally, the medical school will welcome six new residents to its Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry programs who are part of MIDocs, a new program from the state of Michigan that expands residency training positions in certain specialties. These residents will go on to practice in underserved areas of Michigan in exchange for loan repayment. WMed leadership participated in creating MIDocs last year along with three other Michigan medical schools. All of the WMed MIDocs positions in both years have filled.