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The Envelope Please: Match Day 2009 at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Thursday, March 19, 2009

 Matches are kept top secret until the day of the reveal, making for plenty of surprises.

Historic Davidge Hall was the site of Match Day festivities March 19, when the School of Medicine's Class of 2009 discovered where they'll pursue the next step in their medical careers. Held at the same time in medical schools around the country, Match Day is when graduating medical students find out the residency program into which they have been accepted. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) conducts the Match nationwide, using a computer algorithm that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

"You matched in 110 different programs, in 72 different hospitals and 24 different states," said Gina Perez, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. "We wish we could keep you all here, but many of you are going elsewhere."

Amir Abdel-Wahab matched to his first choice, Pitt, where he will specialize in Pediatrics. "So now I have to become a Steelers fan," he joked. "You'll need this," said Dr. David Mallott, associate dean of Medical Education, presenting him with a Steelers cap.

David Trotter is also headed out of Maryland. "I matched to the University of Chicago," revealed David, who will specialize in Emergency Medicine. "It's going to be a great experience, and I'm sure we're going to have a lot of fun." His mom Nadine, who lives in Michigan, is thrilled he will be now be closer to home and carrying on the family tradition. "His father was a family practitioner," she told us. "He passed last year, but I know he would have been so elated about this."

Patrick Hemmings' sister was elated to learn he and wife Margaret would still be in town when their first child is born this summer. "I matched at Hopkins Bayview Hospital, in Internal Medicine, Primary Care, which was my first choice," Patrick said. "I didn't know how I would feel today. It's almost like the day you get married – you wake up that day, and you know something wild is going to happen to you. It feels so good now that it's over. We can actually start making some plans."

Jonathan Mezrich and his wife Lisa are also happy they won't have to change their baby plans now that he's learned he'll be spending a preliminary year at Union Memorial Hospital before returning to the University of Maryland Medical Center to specialize in Radiology. "We're having a baby next month, so I am so excited we don't have to move out of Baltimore," said Lisa. "I'm very, very proud of him." Jonathan will be following in the footsteps of his father, Reuben, professor and chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.

After more than an hour of fist pumping, shouts of joy and sighs of relief, all but one envelope had been handed out. As a reward for her patience, Sherese Phillips, the final student to receive her envelope, was given the bag into which each student had tossed a small monetary donation – money that is traditionally used for an after-Match celebration.

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 Zachary Roberts was the first to find out his Match results.

 David Trotter, with proud mom Nadine, is going into Emergency Medicine just like Joseph Martinez, MD, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, who called the students up to get their letters.

 Jonathan Mezrich and wife Lisa were happy to learn they'll be staying in Baltimore.

 Stephanie Daly's mom was thrilled she'll still have her daughter and grandson around now that Stephanie's matched at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

 Dr. Perez wished Ari Elman and his family the best of luck as they head off to New York.

 Amir Abdel-Wahab (with girlfriend Etheline) will have to change his football alliances now that he's heading to Steelers country for a Pediatrics residency.

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