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Match Day: A rite of passage for medical students

Medical students look to the future as they learn where their careers will start
Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Strategic Communications
Melissa Perez exults at learning she'll be a resident at UC Irvine in obstetrics-gynecology.

Fourth-years learn where they'll start their careers

After endless hours of intense studying and clinical rotations, soon-to-graduate UC Irvine medical students saw their dreams come into focus on Match Day, March 18, when they learned where their careers as doctors will start.

Match Day is an annual activity that takes place simultaneously at all U.S. medical schools, involving about 28,000 graduating students.

Held in the sun-drenched courtyard in front of the Medical Education Building, UC Irvine’s event is uniquely emotion-filled and festive. 

As part of our tradition, our future doctors are called to a podium one at a time to open an envelope and read aloud before hundreds of family members, friends and classmates the name and location of the hospital where they’ll spend the next three to seven years pursuing postgraduate medical training as a resident physician.

Upon reaching the podium, each student places a dollar bill in a doctor’s satchel, which had belonged to Dr. Robert Brown, who received it as a gift from his father upon earning his doctorate in 1951 from the osteopathic school which eventually evolved into the UC Irvine School of Medicine. The last student called to the podium collects all the cash.

Once again, UC Irvine’s graduating medical students gained residencies in some of the most competitive programs in the country. This year, 111 medical students participated in Match Day, and 24 of them were matched with programs at UC Irvine. They include:

  • Chris Iwuchukwu. He’s a Nigerian national who shared the day with his wife and two small children. He gained a residency position in diagnostic radiation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
  • Erick Castillo. He received a family medicine residency position at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles to follow in the footsteps of his father, Arturo, who founded the community-based La Conception Medical Clinic in Covina.
  • Melissa Perez. Raised by a single mother and her grandmother, she worked her way through UC Berkeley and gained an obstetrics-gynecology residency position at UC Irvine. More than a dozen members of her family came south from the Bay Area to cheer her on.

The quality of the Class of 2016 is demonstrated by the caliber of residency programs that have accepted the soon-to-be-graduating students, including leaders such as the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stanford University and, of course, UC Irvine. 

— Tom Vasich, UC Irvine

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