UTHSC Sees Bright Future for Tennessee with Successful 2021 Match Day

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UTHSC College of Medicine students celebrate a successful Match Day on March 19 with Associate Dean Catherine Womack, MD, left, and Executive Dean Scott Strome, MD, second from right.

The past year was a major challenge for fourth-year medical students in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, which saw them take on roles as COVID-19 testing and vaccination volunteers, while simultaneously completing their curriculums and interviewing for residency programs.

During last week’s Match Day, 163 UTHSC medical students found out where they will spend the next few years of their training in residency programs. Along with matches at many top-level programs across the country, 42% of those who placed will be attending Tennessee-based  residencies.

“We are so excited about the excellent matches following such an unprecedented year for our fourth-year medical students, and we are very fortunate that so many of our medical students are staying on with us in Tennessee,” said Catherine Womack, MD, associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions in the College of Medicine.

Match Day sees medical students across the nation learning to which programs they have been accepted and where they will complete their three-to-seven years of residency training. The results come from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the San Francisco Match, and the Military Match Program.

Recruitment for Match Day 2021 was done virtually due to COVID-19; however, according to the NRMP, the 2021 Main Residency Match grew to its largest ever with over 48,000 applicants and over 38,000 positions. Of the 163 UTHSC medical students matched, 42% matched to a preliminary or advanced program in Tennessee. Of the 42% who matched in Tennessee, 40%, or 65 students, matched into a UTHSC residency. Others matched into programs across the country, with 2% matching into a military residency.

Student Leah Benton proudly announces her match virtually.

“This has been an unprecedented year for our fourth-year medical students, who initially had to be removed from their clerkships in their third year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,”  Dr. Womack said. “Despite that, many worked with the College of Medicine to develop one of the only free COVID-19 testing sites before they returned to their clerkships and managed to graduate on time. These students were very flexible and did all their interviewing virtually. I am so proud of them and happy that they have matched to all these amazing programs and I am looking forward to hearing about all their accomplishments when they come back for their UTHSC class reunions!”

According to the Match data, 49% of UTHSC medical students matched into primary care specialties, which include family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics; 24% matched into surgical specialties; and 27% matched into non-primary care specialties, which include emergency medicine, radiology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, and more.

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s match results. Our medical students matched into many of the top-tier programs in the country and we were able to recruit a significant number to our UTHSC-based residencies across the state,” said Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine. “The fact that our students continue to entrust us with their training and to match into our highly competitive residencies speaks to the quality of our training programs. This match is also terrific news for our state, as the majority of physicians who complete their medical school and residencies at UTHSC, stay in Tennessee to practice.”

While the 2021 Match Day took place virtually, the UTHSC College of Medicine held a small optional celebration event for the Memphis campus and a similar event at the Knoxville campus. Students and attendees were required to wear masks at both events.

Students share the joy at the Knoxville Match Day event, held at the Cherokee Country Club.