Upstate’s College of Medicine Class of 2021 celebrates Match Day
Caption: Kwaku Domfe, Otasowie Odaise, David Ola, Smith Agyingi celebrated Match Day March 19 in Upstate's Academic Building. Note: Masks removed momentarily for the sole purpose of taking this photograph.
One of the most exciting and joy-filled days at Upstate Medical University – Match Day – returned in 2021 with a creative approach to celebrate while keeping everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Match Day is an annual event celebrated simultaneously at medical schools across the country when graduating medical students learn where they have matched for residency. In non-COVID times, Match Day at Upstate is celebrated with hundreds of students and their families gathered together to celebrate the synchronized opening of envelopes with a cacophony of hugs and high-fives.
After last year’s fully online Match Day at the start of the pandemic, Upstate students and staff planned a hybrid event for 2021, with students gathering in small groups Friday, March 19 to learn of their matches together – in an envelope or online through their smartphones. The students were then able to visit a larger space on campus in shifts to share their matches with Upstate leadership as well as family and friends through a live broadcast.
Much thought and effort went into planning this year’s event to allow students to celebrate safely.
“These students have been through a lot,” said Julie White, PhD, dean of Student Affairs. “Their last couple of years of medical school have been like no other. So I think that’s why it’s most important that they are able to gather. They have shown great resilience over the last couple of years and they have rolled with every punch so we’re excited to not only offer them the opportunity to celebrate their match, but the opportunity for them to gather in community to celebrate with each other and with us.”
This year’s hybrid event was important to give students and many others Upstate something joyful and positive to look forward to.
“Match Day is always one of the best days of the year Upstate,” said President Mantosh Dewan, MD. “These students have worked incredibly hard under very difficult circumstances so to see them succeed and be able to celebrate the next chapter in their medical careers is wonderful.”
All participating students received a goodie bag containing items for a celebratory toast and students were able to announce their matches with the group in the larger celebration room.
“This is one of my most favorite days of the year,” White said. “Welcoming them to med school and then congratulating them to making through and matching them to residency is the culmination of all their efforts.”
The news that Upstate’s 175 graduating medical students learned on Match Day can set the course for their entire careers.
“Match Day is the culmination of an entire year’s worth of planning and anxiety and investment,” said College of Medicine Dean Lawrence Chin, MD, FAANS, FACS. “It’s the day that you find out where you’re going to be spending the next three to eight years of your life and then quite possibly the rest of your career. Where you do your residency is oftentimes where you make your connections and where you may stay for a faculty position or a private practice position.
“Residency is maybe the most significant period of time for a doctor because it’s so intensive. Match Day is such an exciting day because of that.”
Chin said he was really pleased with the creative hybrid approach to the event, which also included an awards ceremony. Another high point of Upstate’s Match Day each year is the debut screening of the class music video, which is a highly choreographed, often humorous film featuring the students and their medical school struggles and celebrations.
“It’s so much work,” he said. “The production values of the video just get better every year and it’s so professionally done.”
Here are some statistics about the class of 2021:
- 75 medical students (43 percent of the class) will enter the primary care specialties, including family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.
- 91 medical students (52 percent of the class) will remain in New York state.
- 32 medical students will remain in Syracuse: 27 at Upstate and five at St. Joseph's Health.
- One medical student matched in the military.
- Class match rate was 97 percent.