Students Meet Their Match at Annual Ceremony

Senior medical students celebrate their matches in front of their classmates, family and friends during the annual Match Day ceremony.

Senior medical students proudly announced their match on t-shirts after the news had been revealed.

March 21, 2014 | With a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends and fellow students eagerly anticipating that fateful moment, a tear of an envelope unveiled the future for more than 150 UAMS College of Medicine seniors at the annual Match Day ceremony.

As Dick Wheeler, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs, approached the podium one minute before 11 a.m., the excitement inside a tense conference hall at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock was palpable. The countdown made its way from 10 to zero and the festivities began, spelling out where the class of 2014 would be serving their residencies.

“I’ve been doing this now for a long time and this is one of those events that consistently lives up to the hype and all of the excitement that leads up to this moment,” Wheeler said. “It’s a very special day for these students, their friends and all of their families.”

While some were eager to begin the next chapter of their lives at far off medical institutions in New York City, Miami or Boston, many others were awaiting confirmation that they didn’t have to leave the state.

“My first choice was to stay here at UAMS,” said April Clawson, a senior student from Mountain Home who matched to a pediatrics residency at UAMS. “But you just never know what’s going to happen for sure until you rip open that envelope and see it right in front of you. I’m relieved and so glad I got to experience this with classmates in an atmosphere like this.”

Trey Burch, a senior from Monticello, had the luxury of knowing his destination for a few months now, thanks to the F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) through the U.S. Army. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2010, he chose to accept the HPSP offer that paid for his medical school at UAMS in return for serving his residency at a military hospital and then serving four years of active duty.

“It was the right fit for me and I’m really excited about the future,” said Burch, who knew his anesthesiology residency would be done in either Bethesda, Md., or San Antonio, Texas. “They told me in December I’d be going to Texas and I was so relieved. But it’s fun to be here and make it official and to share it with everyone else here.”

Burch’s residency will be served at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC).

The UAMS class had 85 seniors matched to out-of-state residencies across 27 states.

Nationally, more than 17,000 senior medical students found out the results from the National Resident Matching Program, which uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors to fill positions across the country.

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