JACKSON, Miss. – Medical students at the University of Mississippi Medical Center discovered today where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives in residency training, during the annual rite of passage called Match Day.
Maureen Offiah, with daughters Somto and Kumsiyonna, announces she will stay in Jackson for her residency. Next year she will enter the dermatology program at UMMC.
The 128 fourth-year students on UMMC’s Match Day list were among the thousands of students across the country who participated simultaneously in the National Resident Matching Program.
Most of the 900 chairs in a Jackson Marriott Hotel event room were filled by students, their family and friends and others gathered to learn where members of the 2014 medical school class will train for their 23 different specialties, such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry and family medicine.
“It reminds me of Christmas,” said Terica Jackson of Jayess, who drew a coterie of 10 relatives, including her husband Jason Jackson, to downtown Jackson for her big day.
“I set two alarm clocks to make sure I woke up in time this morning,” Terica Jackson said before the announcements were made. “It’s like Santa Claus is coming, and you don’t want to miss it.”
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, right, associate vice chancellor for health affairs and vice dean of the School of Medicine, gives Willie Thompson, Jr. his match envelope. He matched with East Tennessee State University in psychiatry.
More than a third of the class, or 49, will remain at UMMC for their residencies, including Jackson, as she learned later. Others are headed to institutions as far away as Oregon and California.
Some of those facilities are the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington; the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.
Those leaving the state were urged to return to Mississippi by two of UMMC’s leaders – Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; and Dr. LouAnn Woodward, associate vice chancellor for health affairs and vice dean of the medical school. UMMC is their med school alma mater.
“We need you,” Keeton said. “If you leave, come back and help us do something about the health care of Mississippi.”
Woodward described the Match Day process as an “exhausting” series of applications, travels, interviews and more that led up to the moment when each student walked to the stage and opened a white envelope for the big reveal in front of their supporters.
Quoting a previous med school graduate, Woodward described the day as a “combination of the Academy Awards and the NFL Draft for Nerds.”
“We’re happy,” Woodward said. “It’s a good day to be nerds.”
Vickie Phillips announces her residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
One of the day’s bonuses was the awarding of a doctor’s black bag stuffed with a $5 bill by each student who walked to the podium. Traditionally, it goes to the last student called, who in this case was Vicky Phillips of Vicksburg; she’s bound for Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where she will do her residency in pediatrics.
Asked what plans she had for the several hundred dollars spilling out of the bag, Phillips said, “Relocation expenses.”