After four long years — including one that may have seemed longer than the rest thanks to COVID-19 — fourth-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine now know where they will first work as physicians.

Match Day 2021: OUWB’s Class of 2021 headed to residencies across the U.S.
2021 Match Day Collage

After four long years — including one that may have seemed longer, thanks to COVID-19 — fourth-year medical students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine now know where they will first work as physicians.

On Friday, OUWB’s Class of 2021 joined more than 42,000 of their peers nationwide in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the annual event that reveals where graduating medical students have been accepted for residency training. (Ten members of the Class of 2021 matched early.)

M4s typically are physically handed envelopes to tear open with their colleagues, friends, and families, but COVID-19 forced the celebration online for the second straight year.

Click here to see the full list of OUWB students who matched. 

A total of 114 medical students from OUWB matched into residency programs. Among others, students placed at Mayo Clinic, Boston University, Stanford University, University of California-San Francisco, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, and University of Alabama. With a match rate of 97 percent, OUWB surpassed the national average of 93 percent. 

“I’m continually impressed by the quality and caliber of training programs where OUWB students have matched from coast-to-coast,” said Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean of OUWB. “Despite this being a very unusual year, people have decided that we have outstanding students and great training programs.”

'A new direction'

For applicants, the match process begins in the fall during the final year of medical school, when they apply to the residency programs of their choice. Throughout the fall and early winter, applicants interview with programs. Because of COVID-19, interviews were done virtually.

Related:

Practice, practice, practice: How OUWB prepared M4s for a virtual residency interview season

Match Day 2020: Fourth year medical students at OUWB hit educational milestone

OUWB welcomes Class of 2021 at White Coat Ceremony

From mid-January to late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit the preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs.

It all led up to Friday’s big event. The OUWB celebration included a virtual meet and greet, a countdown to students opening their emails showing where they matched, and
presentations from Mezwa and Oakland University President Ora Pescovitz, M.D.

“Today marks a new direction for you, but always know that amidst continual change, one constant will be your dedication to serving the health needs of people who are coming from many different communities,” said Ora Pescovitz, M.D., president, Oakland University.

“As you embark on your residencies, go forward with the OUWB values in your mind and in your heart,” she said.

A day of excitement

OUWB students matched at 24 states. Forty students will stay in Michigan, including five who will fulfill a transitional year and move on to residencies in other states.

California came in second with 14, followed by six each in Ohio and Texas, and five each in Massachusetts and New York.

Fifteen students will be participating in residencies at Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, Troy, and Grosse Pointe in eight specialties: diagnostic radiology, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, and urology.

Overall, 49 students have residencies in primary care, including 21 in family medicine, 17 in internal medicine, six in pediatrics, five in OB-GYN, and one in medical pediatrics.

OUWB students were happy that the big day had arrived.

Before he learned where he would match on Friday, Mustafa Polat visited the campus of Oakland University.

“I wanted to get into the mindset, regardless of where I was selected, of being grateful for the opportunity and to reflect on the journey,” he said.

When it came time to open the email revealing his match, Polat said he went to the mosque where the funeral was held for his father who passed away in January. That’s when he learned that he had matched at University of Michigan Hospital — the same hospital where his father passed.

“For me, the word of the day is ‘gratitude,’” he said. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity after going through with med school with amazing people at a great institution.”

Haley Smallwood matched at Thomas Jefferson University. The news capped off an exciting week for Smallwood, who got engaged on Thursday.

“I was born at Beaumont and raised in Royal Oak so coming to OUWB for medical school was always a dream of mine,” she said. “I felt like I had every door open for me and I was able to really go wherever I wanted across the country…and I knew that I had the support, resources, and kind of education behind me that I needed.”

Match Day 2021 - LeMarbe

LeMarbe

Kristin LeMarbe matched in general surgery at Beaumont, Royal Oak. She, too, was born at Beaumont and said it is “surreal” that she’ll soon be a doctor at the hospital.

“It’s something you never really imagine,” she said. “I feel really happy, relieved, and excited.”

Tori Drzyzga and Lexie Ranski celebrated together and with family and friends.

Drzyzga matched at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. Ranksi matched at Memorial Health – University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia.

“It definitely been a rush of emotions — happy, anxious, excited, and everything in between,” said Drzyzga.

“It’s unbelievable because it feels like we just started medical school yesterday and it’s already been four years. We’re onto the next step so it’s pretty incredible,” said Ranski.

Both said they felt OUWB helped set them up for success.

“I feel very prepared going into residency and very ready to be a resident and doing my own thing,” said Ranski. “I’m very pleased.”

Drzyzga said she felt prepared for the unique interviewing season, crediting OUWB officials with helping with Zoom sessions and with making them “look our best on interview days and making sure that we’re representing ourselves and our school well.”

Toyin Ibironke matched in anesthesiology at University of Michigan Hospital, her first choice. Ibironke said her dad recently passed away and she wanted to make him proud.

“I was really excited and shocked…I cried a little bit,” she said.

Ibironke held a small celebration with family and friends. Her family wore matching T-shirts that said “My Favorite Anesthesiologist Calls Me Mom,” and so on.

She said she feels prepared to move onto the next phase in her career, and attributes OUWB.

“I believe all of the experiences I’ve had clinically and pre-clinically will help me be a great physician,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

(Click image to open larger view in new tab.)

Match Day Graphic 032421

(Story updated March 24, 2021.)

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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