After Another Strong Match Day, CHM Seniors Set to Take On Residency Positions Throughout the Nation

Not many things came easy this last year. Yet despite plenty of disruptions and challenges, the Class of 2021 responded honorably in every way. That included displaying high levels of poise and patience during a residency selection cycle steeped in uncertainty amid a global pandemic that has upended life beyond just medicine.

While the 2021 edition of Match Day marked the second in which fourth-year College of Human Medicine (CHM) students and their families were forced to celebrate virtually on the account of the pandemic, this year's seniors were the first to see their entire residency match process pivot to virtual. 

Going online certainly presented it's hurdles, but the virtual nature of this year's interviews also helped to eliminate some of the larger barriers—time and cost—that are associated with the process during more traditional cycles.  The 2021 Main Residency Match became the largest in National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) history, with 38,106 total positions offered across the nation. The total number of U.S. MD seniors who submitted rank ordered lists of programs was a record-high 19,866, a 2.8% increase from they year prior.  

Read: 2021 Main Residency Match By the Numbers

“The application and recruitment cycle was upended as a result of the pandemic, yet the results of the Match continue to demonstrate strong and consistent outcomes for participants,” said Donna L. Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN, NRMP President and CEO in an official NRMP Match Day statement

That's true for soon-to-be CHM grads as well. The college's senior class earned a strong 97% match among all pathways. The national average match rate was 93%. 

Only the second class to fully go through the Shared Discovery Curriculum (SDC), the high marks further show that the college's innovative style of medical training prepares graduates to move on to some of the most competitive residency placements across the country. While students were largely unable to meet residency managers in person, one particular feature of the SDC allowed students to nonetheless impress from afar. 

In determining competence throughout all four years of clinical experiences—first-year students progress into clinical teams within 8-9 weeks—the curriculum emphasizes portfolios of evidence, instead of just transcripts. These portfolios of artifacts containing essays, videos, reflections, and scholarly products/projects are a useful tool that sets students apart once its time to interview for residency match.

This past March, those tools and years of hard work paid off. Students across all seven College of Human Medicine community campuses connected online to share their Match Day experiences through social media. Of the 187 students seeking residency, 181 students had residency placements confirmed through the NRMP, SOAP/Post Match, and Appointments Outside of NRMP (Military Match and Advanced/Independent Matches). 

Seventy-three (73) seniors are staying in Michigan for residency training. Just above 40% of the class, this is slightly lower than last year's mark when over 43% of seniors remained in Michigan for residency. The college will be well-represented across the country as Spartan MD's are joining health teams in 32 different states, from coast to coast and beyond—Maine to Hawaii, California to Florida. 

Read: 2021 Match Day Student Stories

Close to 60% of the class are pursuing specialties outside of primary care. While our historical roots are in educating primary care physicians, the college now trains students across the specialty spectrum. Still, 41% of CHM graduates will be following in a long line of strong primary care physicians, entering primary care fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics to name a few. Outside of primary care, specialty fields like anesthesiology, ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, thoracic surgery, urology, and more represented a wide list.  

The top five specialties placements, in fact, for the class of 2021 are as follows:
1. Internal Medicine (18.8%)
2. Emergency Medicine (15.5%)
3. Family Medicine (11%)
4. Pediatrics (9.4%)
5. Psychiatry (6.6 %)

Yet before graduates begin their residency training this summer, commencement for CHM graduates and medical school students across the nation is a special occasion, a dream come true and the culmination of 20-plus years of education.

Similarly to last year's graduates, this year's incoming residents embark on medical careers in unusual times. Health systems remain overloaded and outcomes are uncertain. Yet in challenging times is where we envision Spartan MD's excelling the most. Having spent the last four years of training in clinical sites that closely parallel the environments they'll soon be experiencing, CHM graduates will be able to quickly use their expertise to the benefit patients near and far. 
At a time in which the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates clearer the critical importance of addressing questions on health disparities and equity, CHM grads are ready to serve underserved populations of all kinds. As our college's mission statement emphasizes, CHM graduates are uniquely positioned to be responsive to and best meet the needs of extremely diverse populations in Michigan and beyond.

No matter where the road takes them, CHM grads are ready.
Congrats to all of our new Spartan MD's! We wish you the best of luck and are supremely confident that you'll make our communities proud. 


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