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UMass Medical School plans virtual Match Day celebration

On March 20 at noon, 132 graduating medical students in the Class of 2020 will receive emails notifying them of their residency placements. Three members of the class matched earlier in specialty programs. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UMass Medical School has moved its annual Match Day celebration for the School of Medicine online. On Friday, March 20, at noon, 132 graduating medical students in the Class of 2020 will receive emails from the Office of Student Affairs, notifying them of their residency placements. Students are encouraged to share their news on the UMass Medical School social media accounts Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Three members of the class learned of their residency matches already, through the early match program for certain specialties, bringing the total number of matching students at UMMS this year to 135.

Match Day is the annual, nationwide pairing of graduating medical students with postgraduate residency training programs. The National Resident Matching Program administers the matches, which are made through a complex algorithm that incorporates the preferences of both students and residency programs following the months-long application process. While Match Day logistics and traditions vary from school to school, the NRMP requires the matches to remain secret until noon on the third Friday of March. Traditionally, UMass Medical School invites students, their families and friends, and faculty to watch as matching students tear open their NRMP envelopes and discover where they will begin their careers.

Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency to allow for greater flexibility and resources to support the commonwealth’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. The University of Massachusetts president, along with UMMS Chancellor Michael F. Collins and chancellors of the other four campuses, implemented new precautions to slow the community spread of the virus, in keeping with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for institutions of higher education in areas where community spread of the virus has been observed. As of March 12, academic classes in the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Graduate School of Nursing transitioned to virtual learning.

The School of Medicine has enjoyed excellent match results over the years, with a large percentage of students consistently entering primary care residencies, fulfilling a key element of the school’s mission to train primary care doctors. Last year, 61 students matched in internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology, representing 49 percent of the class. Twenty students matched in family medicine and 19 in emergency medicine. Fulfilling the medical school’s mission to care for the citizens of the commonwealth, in 2019, 49 members of the graduating class stayed in Massachusetts, including 23 at UMass Memorial Medical Center and five at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, which is home to the medical school’s first regional campus, UMMS-Baystate.