As the topsy-turvy, excruciating time of the pandemic appears to be winding down, UT Health San Antonio and its Long School of Medicine inched toward normalcy March 19 with a hybrid Match Day ceremony, when graduating medical students learned the location of their residency training.
The celebration returned to its old stomping grounds, John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, and while the boot-scootin’ might not have been as exuberant, the pride in the rite of passage was on full display.
“I was particularly grateful we were able to do that for this class,” said Joshua T. Hanson, MD, MPH, associate dean for student affairs of the Long School. “They’ve been really affected by the pandemic overall. They’re graduating right now but a year ago they were third year medical students with three months left, which is probably the key year in medical school. We sort of re-started… and they came through with all their clinical skills and knowledge. And they were the first set to go through all their interviews for residency online.”
“The Class of 2021 were pioneers in a lot of different ways.”
Out of 214 graduates in the match, Dr. Hanson said about 60, along with one guest each, participated in the event at Floore’s while another 90 took part online.
During their fourth year of medical school, medical students typically interview with graduate medical education programs and health care institutions to compete for residency slots in various specialties and have ranked their top choices. The health care institutions and programs also have ranked their top choices of residents. Match Day reveals where the students have been accepted.
This year, 96.7 percent of seniors in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine were matched in a residency program of choice, far exceeding the national average. Fifty-eight percent of the Long graduates this year will remain in Texas for their residency. The top five specialties were internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
Graduating student Mitch Parma attended the Helotes ceremony where he learned he matched an internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He said he was thrilled that classmate Claudina Tami had also matched at Johns Hopkins, in obstetrics and gynecology.
“I’ve never left Texas before, and I don’t have a large community up in the northeast, so to know that I’ll have a fellow Long School of Medicine graduate with me makes the daunting task of moving to a new city much more exciting,” said Parma.
Dr. Hanson said he was particularly pleased to see more graduates match here in San Antonio than last year.
“We have 22 percent who will stay here at UT Health San Antonio for residency. I always love it when our students and our own departments find a good match. I think it strengthens the institution overall,” he said.
But it was the overall caliber of the class that Dr. Hanson admires.
“I just really want to applaud the Class of 2021 for their resilience and adaptability. We’ve never seen a year like this where clinical instruction gets halted, where we’re not sure how residency interviews will be conducted, where they have to forge a new pathway to present themselves to residency programs. And with each month it seems they have to adapt themselves in a different way to this landscape. They’re going to be some of the most adaptable and resilient physicians out there.”
Soon, he said, “You’ll want to go out there and find a Class of 2021 physician.”
Match Day is held by UT Health’s Long School of Medicine in conjunction with the National Resident Matching Program, an initiative sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies. The National Resident Matching Program is a private, not-for-profit corporation that ensures both a standardized systematic process and uniform period of appointment to positions in graduate medical education.