Saturday, March 28, 2020
Chris Breedlove | LUCOM Marketing
In the wake of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) fourth-year osteopathic medical students virtually celebrated the long-awaited news of their Match on Friday, March 20.
“This was LUCOM’s third Match and for the soon-to-graduate Class of 2020, the Match this year proved to be ultracompetitive. These student-doctors will soon be announced as osteopathic physicians and enter their careers beginning their work into residency programs across the United States,” said Peter A. Bell, DO, MBA, FACOEP-dist, FACEP, dean of LUCOM. “I am, personally, thankful for LUCOM’s Clinical Affairs team, my fellow deans, and the faculty and staff who have spent significant time, energy and specialty expertise with our osteopathic medical students in guiding them in-and-through the Match of 2020. We give thanks to God’s greatness and His constant provision.”
For Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students, this year the Match holds great significance as it is the first Match in history combining both DO and Doctor of Medicine (MD) applicants in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). LUCOM student-doctors achieved an incredible 99 percent match, the highest so far in LUCOM’s history, and were included in the 90.7 percent of DO students nationwide that matched into residency programs in 38 specialties, according to the NRMP website.
Established in 1952, at the request of medical students, the NRMP is a private, non-profit organization that provides a fair mechanism for matching the preferences of fourth-year medical students into U.S. residency positions. The NRMP also conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service. Often viewed as a rite of passage for medical students, post-graduation residency training can last three to seven years.
“The Lord has certainly blessed LUCOM and our students and He has been glorified by these incredible results,” said Amber Fedin, DO, FAAFP, FACOFP, assistant dean of clinical education. “It’s a great pleasure and honor for me to serve alongside this group of students and the LUCOM faculty, staff and leaders who support them. I am thankful for and proud of their hard work and I am excited to see the ways that God will continue to work in and through each of them in this ministry of healing.”
This year, a record-high 40,084 (DO and MD) applicants submitted program choices for 37,256 positions, the most ever offered in the Match. According to the NRMP, this increase was due, in part, to the last migration of osteopathic program positions into the Main Residency Match (MRM). Liberty osteopathic medical students were among the 6,581 U.S. fourth-year osteopathic medical students who submitted program choices, representing an increase of 1,103 over 2019. Since 2016, the number of U.S. fourth-year osteopathic medical students seeking positions has risen by 3,599, a 120 percent increase.
“While the unpredictable circumstances around COVID changed the way I always dreamt my match day would look, I definitely think LUCOM made the responsible decision of cancelling our in-person celebration. In today’s day and age, with almost everything being virtual, we really could all still celebrate together from a safe distance; it was one for the books and such a memorable experience I will never forget,” added Monica Gaines, Class of 2020. “Matching is a momentous occasion regardless of the way you celebrate! It is the cumulative result of four years of the toughest work.”
Gaines matched at UCSF Fresno, her number one choice, for an Internal Medicine residency.
For Jonathan Bryan, Class of 2020, he credits choosing LUCOM to study his osteopathic medical education largely in part to his first encounters with the faculty and staff. “They are the type of people that truly care about you as a person and not just as a student,” he said. “LUCOM has certainly helped prepare me for my profession and my specialty. Throughout this application season and match process, I was paired specifically with an amazing mentor who is an Emergency Medicine physician. The days since the Match have been surreal. I still have a long way to go in my medical training and career, but I feel so deeply grateful to have first been chosen by LUCOM to learn the basics, and by Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach to learn my specialty [Emergency Medicine]. Dreams come true!”
The Match process begins each fall for fourth-year medical students. It is during this final year when they apply to the residency programs of their choice. Throughout most of the academic year and leading into the spring, applicants interview with medical programs across the country. Medical students and program directors rank programs and applicants respectively, in order of preference, and submit the preference lists to the NRMP. An award-winning computerized mathematical algorithm is used afterwards to match applicants with specialty programs.
“The LUCOM Class of 2020 is to be congratulated on this milestone on the journey to becoming physicians. The ‘Match’ into residency programs following medical school graduation is particularly competitive this year due to the fact that it was the first year that the NRMP administered the program into a single match,” said Chad K. Brands, MD, CPE, SFHM, senior associate dean for clinical affairs. “The leaders, faculty, and staff, at LUCOM wish the soon-to-be graduates all the best as they begin their careers in diverse specialties.”
Learn more about LUCOM’s Match results.
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