Matchday 2021 ends the nerve-wracking waiting for medical student news

For Jamelle Johnson, a fourth year medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a long spell of insomnia recently ended with an email from Ohio.

Her insomnia cure – punctuated by “nightmares” – was news from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center welcoming the fourth-year medical student as an upcoming neurology trainee.

“I was thrilled when I read it; There were tears of joy, “said Johnson of Aberdeen, one of around 135 medical students at the University of Mississippi Medical Center who were studying at about the same time and in the same way that they had” adapted “for their internship training.

For Mariam Ebeid, a future intern in medical pediatrics, it was also a moment of “overwhelming emotions” when she received the email of her “No. 1 choice ”: UMMC.

The occasion was officially the game day for the Main Residency Match of the National Resident Matching Program 2021, where prospective medical school graduates from the United States and other countries found out where they would live and work for the next three to seven years and improve their skills in pediatrics , Neurology, emergency medicine, family medicine, obstetrics or one of many other specialties.

Among them were the medical center graduates, 115 of whom attended the ceremony on March 19 at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

“It was great to see who stayed in the state and at UMMC,” said Ebeid, whose commitment to Mississippi includes the work she began as a sophomore student recruiting volunteers for the Food Recovery Network, a student movement that America is fighting against waste and hunger.

“I loved being here to study medicine. I don’t think you can find better people than these at UMMC. You are so important to me, ”said Ebeid. “And I know I’ll be as prepared as I can when I’m done.”

Ebeid was one of the students who hopped on stage and announced their custom games, but not before they’d tossed five dollars in a doctor’s bag – the prize along with the money accumulated for the last person called.

The event was the culmination of Match Week, which began on March 15 when students learned where they matched, although the process actually began last fall when they practically joined that round due to pandemic restrictions on Massachusetts residency programs to Florida applied from North Carolina to Oregon.

Applicants and program directors then rated themselves at will and submitted their rankings to NRMP for processing using a computerized mathematical algorithm. Using this formula, the applicants were matched with the programs.

Prior to the ceremony, the NRMP released the results of the game, the largest in its history, with a total of 38,106 positions offered, including those for Johnson and Shanesse Spratt. The two friends cheered each other and everyone else as they paired up on 21 different specialties. It was a catharsis that followed weeks, maybe months, of tension.

“It was so nerve-wracking, but it was well worth the wait for the specialty I wanted,” said Spratt, of Southaven, who will be doing her residency in emergency medicine at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth.

“Wherever God took me, I was just happy to go. And I’m happy to be keeping my talents in Mississippi. “

Dr. LouAnn Woodward looking forward. As every year, the Vice Chancellor of Health and Dean of the UMMC’s School of Medicine urged graduates to keep an eye on Mississippi after completing their residency training, no matter how far away that may be.

“And, spoiler alert, I’ll say the same thing on graduation day,” said Woodward. “We need you here in Mississippi to take care of our patients.”

Wherever prospective physicians choose a practice, 60 or around 44 percent of graduates will complete their stays at UMMC and complete several additional training courses elsewhere in the state.

Guest speaker Dr. Maureen Offiah, a dermatologist and 2014 graduate of the School of Medicine who completed her residency at UMMC, reiterated this message to students by quoting her father: “In everything you do, remember the home from which You came. “

In her remarks, Woodward also recognized the contributions of the families of the students and friends of the non-medical faculty who were absent out of respect for COVID-19. Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, the game day was a purely virtual experience for the students.

“I’m so sorry you are not with us,” Woodward said to the students’ relatives, who were able to watch the live stream from their home and office. “This year was by no means typical.”

If it had been a typical game day, Weston Eldridge of Flora would have seen his grandparents applaud him from the crowd. However, he was able to see her and share his good news before the ceremony.

“We gathered on the couch, read the email together, and drank sparkling grape juice,” said Eldridge, who worked in family medicine at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.

“My grandparents have now been vaccinated,” he said. “So it was the first time since December 2019 that I could hug my grandmother.”

While the pandemic may have physically removed students further from their families and others, it has also brought them closer to one another.

“You live at a very important time in history,” Woodward told the students. “Going forward, your children will know and be in awe that you were in medical school during that time.

“You are stronger and you are better. We are very proud of you and proud of your class. “

Peyton Thigpen, President of the Senior Class, who agreed on Psychiatry / Child-Adult Psychiatry at UMMC, described how the students missed a lot, including weddings and birthday parties and life’s other bonding rituals; To make these absences more bearable, they had asked each other for support.

Johnson saw that too. “We had to lean on each other more than in the past,” she said. “It feels like family, and so it feels like we’re leaving.”

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