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[March 28 ,2008]

Downstate Medical Students Get Good News on Match Day :

Nearly Two Hundred Students Learn Location of Their Residency

For millions of Americans, March is best known for the NCAA college basketball tournament, “March Madness.” But for thousands of graduating medical school students, March is better known for “Match Day,” when they learn where they will spend their years of residency training.

On March 20, 197 fourth-year students at SUNY Downstate Medical Center did just that during an informal ceremony at the campus’ Alumni Auditorium. Family and friends joined the jubilant students, who high-fived, hugged, shed tears of joy, and kissed each other after receiving the good news.

“Yes, Yes, Yes,” said Joseph Shatzkes, after opening the envelope to find out that he had been accepted at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University. “That was my first choice. I’m so happy.” Shatzkes will spend at least three years at the Manhattan school doing an internal medicine residency.

According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which conducts the Match, more than 94 percent of the roughly 15,000 seniors who applied for residencies this year were paired with a program of their choice—the highest percentage in more than three decades. At Downstate, future physicians were matched in more than 10 states and 30 programs.

Thirty-eight students chose to do their residency at Downstate. Susan Cheng chose Downstate’s highly competitive Emergency Medicine/ Internal Medicine Program. “I chose Downstate's EM/IM program as my first choice because I found great role models in both departments during my time here as a medical student,” said Ms. Cheng. “The Emergency Medicine department is hard working and welcoming; the Internal Medicine department is dedicated and knowledgeable. It was the right fit for me – in terms of location, patient population, and overall sense of belonging.”

Downstate’s equally competitive Dermatology Program was the first choice for Kaleroy Tzezailidis. “When choosing to train at Downstate for residency I knew I would be learning from expert faculty who are dedicated to teaching, have access to diverse pathology, and also work in a supportive and friendly environment.”

Conducted annually by the NRMP, the Match uses a computer algorithm, designed to produce favorable results for students, that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

“It was a terrific match,” said Dr. Ian Taylor, Dean of the College of Medicine, addressing the throng of students gathered in Alumni Auditorium. “The two best days in the school year are graduation and Match Day.”

Match results can be an indicator of career interests among graduating medical school students. One notable trend in specialty choice this year was an increased interest in family medicine residency positions: 1,156 (or 7.6 percent) of U.S. medical school seniors matched to one of those positions, up from 7.2 percent last year. There were more family medicine positions offered through the Match this year, reversing what had been a significant decline in available positions since 1998.

The 2008 Match results also indicate that plastic surgery, orthopaedic surgery, dermatology, otolaryngology, diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, and general surgery continue to be popular and competitive specialties.