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Match Day 2022 a joyous in-person celebration at UMass Chan Medical School

The suspense ended as soon-to-be graduates of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine learned their residency destinations

By Sandra Gray, Colleen Locke, Susan Spencer and Kaylee Pugliese

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

marzo 18, 2022

Match Day on Friday, March 18, was a beautiful spring-like day in Worcester, especially at UMass Chan Medical School where warm smiles and congratulations filled the air. For the first time since 2019, students about to graduate from the T.H. Chan School of Medicine were able to gather with family, friends and faculty at a schoolwide, in-person celebration to learn where they will begin their careers as doctors.

  • Alec Gramann matched in dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
  • Alec Allain matched at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in pediatrics.
  • Rachel Anderson, second from left, and John Romano, second from right, matched as a couple in family medicine at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Franklin.
  • Family, friends and well-wishers await the noon announcement of where the 162 members of the Class of ’22 will do their residency training.
  • Andrea Chin will train in Worcester at the Hahnemann Family Health Center in family medicine.
  • Max Deng heads to Albany Medical Center in the intensive med-peds program.
  • T.H. Chan School of Medicine Dean Terence R. Flotte, MD.
  • Guyu Liu heads to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and the Brooke Army Medical Center, where he’ll train as an anesthesiologist.
  • Sweets for the sweet, on one of the sweetest days of medical school.
  • Alice Berenson, who heads to UMass Chan-Baystate in ob/gyn, exhorts her classmates to support the class gift.
  • UMass Chan Chancellor Michael F. Collins: “You’ll never forget this day.”
  • Brittany Tran, center, will stay at UMass Chan, training in internal medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
  • Rodney Bruno, right, with Learning Community Mentor Michael Ennis, MD. Bruno will train in ob/gyn at Boston University Medical Center.

“We’re going to Greenfield!” Rachel Anderson said as fiancé and fellow fourth-year T.H. Chan School of Medicine student John Romano hugged her in the Medical School lobby. Anderson and Romano met during a UMass Chan orientation trip four years ago and are getting married in September 2023.

“It’s exciting to be in the same program. We’re really looking forward to spending our next three years together in Greenfield learning how to be medical doctors,” Romano said.

The National Resident Matching Program administers Match Day, the annual, nationwide pairing of graduating medical students with postgraduate residency training programs. Matches are made through a complex algorithm that incorporates the preferences of both students and residency programs. The NRMP requires the matches to remain secret until noon on the third Friday of March.

“This Match is terrific!” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins moments before the envelopes were opened. “When you open the envelope, what is says will be a surprise to you. But I’ll bet if each one of you could write me a note four years from now it would say, ‘Chancellor, I know now why I came here,’ and I’m confident you’ll say our medical school prepared you well for that experience.”

Match Day proceedings vary from school to school. The tradition at UMass Chan Medical School of students gathering on campus and opening their envelopes simultaneously was interrupted by the pandemic. In 2020, Match Day proceedings were held online and followed by graduates gaining MD licensure early to be able to go right to work on the front lines of the pandemic. Last year in another twist on tradition and in deference to social distancing, a drive-in Match Day event for the Class of 2021 was celebrated outside at UMass Chan’s South Street campus in Shrewsbury.

Having spent the last two years of their undergraduate medical training during the pandemic, being able to gather for Match Day this year was especially emotional and meaningful for the Class of 2022.

The class revived another longstanding UMass Chan tradition in which each matching student placed a dollar in a basket when they received their envelope, with the last student receiving the pot of money, most likely to be spent celebrating with classmates. This year Rachel Anderson netted the pot.

When the fourth-year students simultaneously opened their envelopes at noon, the instant outburst of cries of happiness, hugs and congratulations from family, friends and faculty confirmed the success of the match.

Amanda Lee, who worked as an AmeriCorps disaster responder after college and co-founded the UMass Coalition for Climate Action, said she wants to make medicine more environmentally sustainable. Choosing a specialty that she hopes will help address climate change, she is excited to begin a career in radiology at Duke University.

“I believe radiology can be a key driver in reducing medicine’s carbon footprint,” said Lee. “Effective radiology departments result in earlier diagnoses, fewer unnecessary procedures, and shorter hospital stays, which produces better outcomes with less waste.”

Worcester native Rebecca Toohey is headed to her first choice, UCLA Medical Center for anesthesiology. The first-generation college student and daughter of Vietnamese refugees graduated from South High Community School in Worcester before earning her bachelor’s in microbiology at UMass Amherst. While she didn’t get into UMass Chan when she applied the first time, she was selected to take part in the Health Sciences Preparatory Program at UMass Chan. She credits the program for setting her up for success here.

“I felt privileged to attend medical school in my hometown and be able to give back to the community that essentially raised me,” Toohey said. “My population health clerkship in refugee health at the federally funded Family Health Center of Worcester was special to me, as that was where I spent many summers as a teenager volunteering and where I developed a passion for giving back to others.”

MD/PhD candidate Jordan Smith is thrilled to be going to Oregon Health and Science University to train in neurological surgery. Originally from Indiana, she is the first person in her family to be in medicine or science. Fellow MD/PhD student Peter Cruz-Gordillo was also accepted into the highly competitive residency, reflecting brilliantly on UMass Chan as well as its outstanding students.

“Being at UMass Chan as a training physician–scientist has been a dream come true, and especially important and personal for me now as my mom is battling a rare stage 4 cancer,” Smith said. “Having her here for Match Day has been such a miracle and incredibly special. My PhD work is in liver cancer and it has been enriching to navigate cancer on both the professional and personal front.”

Reflecting the institution’s mission to train primary care physicians, 69 students matched in internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics, representing 42 percent of the Class of 2022. Fifteen students are going into emergency medicine and 14 into obstetrics and gynecology. Fulfilling the Medical School’s mission to care for the citizens of the commonwealth, 69 members of the class will complete some or all of their residencies in Massachusetts, including 36 staying at UMass Chan Medical School campuses in Worcester and Springfield. Four students completed early matches, two in ophthalmology, one in the military and one in urology.

View the full Match Day celebration on Facebook and YouTube.

Related UMass Chan news stories:
T.H. Chan School of Medicine student John Romano named Pisacano Scholar
Physician-scientist retreat highlights MD/PhD student achievement at UMass Medical School
MLK Semester of Service awardees will address local health and education needs