Denver (March 16, 2012) - Platters of croissants, muffins and tarts sat uneaten as the 10 a.m. deadline neared.
While the crowd milled around nervously, Ali Khalifa spoke for most of the 140 medical students at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver Friday morning when he explained a lack of appetite. “I have a pit in my stomach,” he said.
Everyone knew the rule – the white envelopes containing information about where they would perform their residency had to remain sealed until the appointed time.
Dean Richard Krugman joked that a special ink was used on the letters and if students opened their envelope even one second before 10 a.m. “the ink will disappear, and you will be in effect unmatched.”
On Match Day, that would be bad.
Every year in mid-March, graduating medical students around the country gather to learn where they will perform their residencies, which can last between three and 10 years. The students have ranked places where they hope to get that training. Those places have ranked students. Then, they match.
Those white envelopes contained the results. In Denver this year, the event included a live video stream watched by 430 people around the country.
When the moment finally came, many were slow to open their envelope, first peering inside, then slowly unfolding the paper. Inside were the names of schools around the country from New York to California and Montana to New Mexico. And, for some, Colorado.
As the results sank in, the room exploded as students and their families, hugged, shouted, texted and then repeated it all over again. As if on cue, students rose to find out how their classmates matched.
Several minutes after learning her match, Amy Osborne bounced in place as she told friends she is going to a multi-hospital residency in Salt Lake City, with 40 percent of her workload with the Veteran’s Administration.
“I wanted a multiple hospital placement because I want to be a hospitalist,” she said. And a large VA component was important to her as well. “The cases are complicated because the patients tend to have a number of different medical problems.”
Leaving Denver isn’t a problem.
“I’ll come back and work here afterward,” she said.
Student profiles from the graduating class of 2012
Ali Khalifa’s interest in becoming a doctor was heightened by the care he received during bouts of malaria while visiting, then living with, his parents in their native Sudan.
Sarah Dodd knew she was lucky to find mentors to guide her to medical school while she attended Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. So as a med student she pioneered Western Colorado Rural Health Scholars to mentor students interested in healthcare.
Sean and Sarah Michael
Sean and Sarah Michael will become doctors this spring, Sean through CU School of Medicine and Sarah through the osteopath route at Rocky Vista University. Both opened their envelopes Friday at CU’s event.