VC Notes - A weekly word from Dr. LouAnn Woodward
  VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, March 17, 2023

Match Day and Other Topics

Good morning.

I’m going to touch on a few topics today starting with one of the year’s most exciting events – Match Day.

This afternoon, in a ceremony at Thalia Mara Hall, our graduating medical students will announce where they matched for residency training. Our students aren’t alone in this. All senior medical students across the country are also learning where they will spend the next 3-7 years of their training. Several years ago, during a Match Day speech, one of our graduates referred to the whole event as a combination of the “NFL Draft and the Academy Awards for nerds.” That amused me and is actually pretty accurate.

VC_Mar_17_Match_dayLucky for us, many of our students will match right here in one of our 23 residency programs. We’ve taught them to this point, and we look forward to seeing them along the rest of their journey. We have an excellent retention rate for UMMC graduates who also do their residency here. We rank 4th in the nation in the rankings of our graduates practicing in our state. We appreciate homegrown talent with a deep-seated affinity for looking out for the health of their fellow Mississippians. 

Some key highlights about our Match Day group:

  • This is our largest graduating class – 163.
  • We had 100% match for the class.
  • The class matched into 27 different specialties.
  • 74 students will stay in Mississippi for at least their first year of residency training
  • 85 students matched in a primary care specialty such as pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine-pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology.

We’re also excited about the July incoming graduates from other schools who have matched with us. I hope that not only will they appreciate their advanced training, but also UMMC and Mississippi and choose to make it their home and place of practice.

Match Day isn’t just reserved for our medical students. For those who wish to further their education, our pharmacy and dental students have their own residency opportunities. The School of Dentistry, which has three residency programs in advanced general dentistry, pediatric dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery, had eight students who matched. 

Pharmacy students may apply for general one-year residencies, known as Post Graduate Year One (PGY1). The pharmacist can decide to do a PGY2 in a specialty area if they desire a focused year on things like ambulatory care, critical care, infectious diseases, oncology, etc. Pharmacy students had an outstanding 88% percent match rate for PGY1, and a 94% match rate for PGY2. Congratulations to students in both schools!

Match Day is one of my favorite annual events. While it isn’t graduation, it is a huge milestone for each student. When most students begin medical school, the journey seems long and abstract, but on Match Day, everything is real because the end of school is so close and the next step is decided. This is significant. It’s one of those days you always remember. When I was a senior student, Match Day wasn’t quite the event it is now, but I remember it clearly and fondly.

Our students and our programs here at UMMC have done extremely well. While the final stats won’t be available for a bit, the preliminary stats tell me it is our best match ever. Congrats to our graduates and best of luck on this next step in your medical training.

—  —  —

Last week, I announced that we went the entire month of February without a central line associated bloodstream infection, often referred to as CLABSI. This is remarkable!  I am so very appreciative of the effort to protect our patients. We’ve taken another giant step forward in our journey to being a high-reliability organization.

It was only this past July that we experienced 15 CLABSIs in one month. We’ve been decreasing each month since then, but it helps put into perspective what it means to have zero in a month. To reach that level of success requires several disciplines working together, with patient safety in mind. Physicians, nurses, med techs, lab professionals, supply chain staff and others must all play a role in preventing a patient harm event like CLABSI. Persistence, standardization and partnership are all necessary.

Some units, like MICU and the adult tower, got creative in their engagement with staff to promote central line care. I appreciate “out-of-the-box” thinking and in this case, it certainly worked.

Dr. Lisa Didion, chief medical officer, also let me know some other good news: We are currently seeing a 38% decline in hospital-acquired pressure injuries when compared to last year. Fantastic news and more confirmation that everyone is stepping up to protect our patients.

Dr. Didion credits diligent work by a dedicated group of leaders, updated protocols, improved education, Epic optimization and standardization for the declining pressure injury occurrences. Great job by all!

—  —  —

I wanted to give you some additional updates on steps being taken to improve food and cafeteria services at UMMC for you and our patients/visitors.

It’s been nearly seven years since we engaged with Morrison Food Services, and while in that time there’s been some improvements, more work needs to be done. I get many comments to the VC Notes inbox about the food and cafeterias, and I’ve passed all of them to the UMMC leaders managing this vendor contract. I know that they are regularly engaging with Morrison leaders at UMMC and making sure all your concerns are transferred to people who can address them.

In response to our insistence on food services improvements, Morrison put in place a new plan of action covering the following areas:

  • Leadership restructuring including appointing Mark Bellefeuil as the on-site interim executive director
  • A new reporting dashboard regularly shared with UMMC leadership that shows areas where Morrison is or is not reaching key performance indicators
  • Increased commitment on staffing, including placing an executive recruiter on site to improve employee recruitment and retention
  • A dedicated project manager who can review their policies and processes and make changes where necessary
  • Strategic process implementation aimed at improving outcomes and
  • Improved bi-directional communication, including consistent rounding, weekly meetings and gathering a monthly advisory board

I’m confident that our leadership team has a clear, reachable expectation for our food services vendor and I feel that Morrison is committed to taking steps to reach them. Access to quality food is essential in an academic medical center. And the staff providing the meals should be professional and pleasant. These are the overarching expectations and I commit to you that we are pushing every lever possible to achieve these results.

—  —  —

Hard to believe it’s been ten years since we restarted our liver transplant program. Since then, we’ve performed 394 potentially lifesaving procedures, including four cases where an adult liver was split and transplanted into two recipients. 

We recruited Dr. Chris Anderson, chair of surgery and a native Mississippian, to UMMC in 2011 from Washington University with the promise of getting us back to the level of national prominence in transplant that we were in the early days of the science led by former surgery chair and transplantation pioneer Dr. James Hardy. Dr. Anderson and the exemplary team he’s built over this time have certainly met and exceeded expectations.

And an interesting nugget: Dr. Anderson was lead surgeon for the first liver transplant to restart the program and he was also the lead surgeon for the 389th transplant performed nearly 10 years later to the day.

Just last year, the UMMC liver program was recognized by the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients as the third best center in the nation based on Transplant Survival and Transplant Rate. This is a testament to the commitment Dr. Anderson and his teams – including fellow liver surgeons Dr. Mark Earl, Dr. Felicitas Koller and Dr. Praise Matemavi – have for building programs that enable Mississippians to get world-class care right here at home.

At the current pace, it’s expected that the 400th liver transplant since the restart will be next month. Outstanding. Four hundred patients that did not have to leave the state to get the care they need.

—  —  —

To end today’s VC Notes, I want to go back to Match Day and put in writing something that I routinely say to all our graduating students. In this case, I want this message to be clear to each of our medical graduates who may have matched for their residency in another state.

When you complete your training, please, come back. We need you.

It is going to take all our state’s resources, including as many of our well-trained health care professionals as possible to stay here, to get us to our goal of A Healthier Mississippi.

Signed, Lou Ann Woodward, M.D.

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