Central Michigan University's College of Medicine is on a winning streak.
Continuing last year's success, CMU students were well received by the nation's residency programs, with a cumulative match rate of nearly 100 percent.
Staying true to its mission of improving access to high-quality health care in Michigan with an emphasis on rural and medically underserved regions, the College of Medicine placed 75 percent of graduates in primary care and 54 percent in Michigan.
"We are thrilled that our results in the match reflect the mission of our college: to educate and train primary care physicians for our community and for Michigan," said Dr. George Kikano, dean of the CMU College of Medicine. "Our team's hard work investing in student success is paying off dividends."
Match Day is the national release of four days of emotional buildup at medical schools across the country, when graduates open sealed envelopes at precisely 11:59 a.m. EST to find out where they will do their residencies.
"I’m very grateful and humbled for what the future brings.” — Nicholas Cozzi, College of Medicine student from Chicago, Illinois
The matches are determined by a computerized mathematical algorithm used by the
National Resident Matching Program to align the specialty and location requests of students with the preferences of program directors at U.S. teaching hospitals. The organization expects the 2018 match to be the largest, exceeding the more than 43,000 applicants who registered for the 2017 match. Of those, just over 31,000 received residency positions.
CMU's statistics are exciting, but it's the results that matter to the students and their families.
In father's footsteps
Joshua Forsyth, of Chesaning, Michigan, matched into a family medicine residency at CMU Medical Education Partners, his top choice. He is one of five graduates who will enter the military after residency. His choice is the U.S. Air Force.
"It's really cool that I get to stick around home and be close to the family, having my support system close, somebody to learn from," he said.
He is following in the footsteps of his father, Doug, a family physician for 16 years at St. Mary's Clinic in Chesaning and a preceptor in CMED's Comprehensive Community Clerkship.
A preceptor is an experienced practitioner who provides supervision during clinical practice.
"I'm really proud of him," Doug said. "We'll get to ride bicycles together for a few more years."
A long journey
Nicholas Cozzi, from Chicago, Illinois, matched in emergency medicine at Spectrum Health at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids.
"I'm incredibly grateful," Cozzi said. "It's been a long journey. To just be at this moment and reflecting on the people who have helped me to get to this point, I'm very grateful and humbled for what the future brings."
CMU students selected a wide variety of specialties, with the top three being family medicine (19 percent), internal medicine (18 percent) and emergency medicine (17 percent).
"Our students' choices of specialties, as well as their overall desire to stay in Michigan, tell us that we are doing things right," said Steve Vance, CMU College of Medicine associate dean for clinical education. "From our admissions process to the curriculum to our faculty, clinical education partners and communities, this is working."
Some of the graduates took time to reflect on their experiences at CMU, most often remarking on their opportunities to make an impact on the program and the close faculty-student relationships.
"Medical school can be intimidating at times," Forsyth said. "But at Central, all the faculty and preceptors have been very kind, love to teach and have a passion to make this young college the best it can be. That shone through in the enthusiasm for educating us students and making it friendly and supportive.
"You feel part of a team with the faculty."
Elaina Molter and Andrew Shadrach not only found a medical school with receptive faculty and mentors, they also found love.
Molter, from Charlevoix, Michigan, and Shadrach, from Montgomery, N.J., and most recently Midland, Michigan, began dating at the end of their first year. They will marry Aug. 31. They went through a "couples match," where they sought placements near each other.
Molter and Shadrach were matched to St. Mary Mercy in Livonia for family medicine.
"I'm very excited to be by family," Molter said. "We are really excited to be in Michigan.
"In the future we would like to go into private practice together," Shadrach said, "probably some place rural in Michigan."
The CMU College of Medicine, established in 2009, was created to address an anticipated shortage of 4,000 to 6,000 physicians in Michigan by 2020. Data released this week by the Association of American Medical Colleges cites an anticipated shortage of between 41,000 and 105,000 doctors throughout the U.S. over the next decade.