West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Class of 2017 learned where they will continue training last week during the Match Day celebration on all three medical school campus locations in Morgantown, Charleston and Martinsburg.
Nationally the largest Main Residency Match on record, 109 students in the class of 2017 matched coast to coast in 23 different states, training in 21 different specialties, with five successfully matching through the United States Military program. More than a third of the class will continue training in West Virginia after graduation, many at training sites affiliated with WVU. These graduates join nearly 5,000 WVU School of Medicine alumni practicing or living around the world.
Half the class, 50 percent, will train in internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine or obstetrics/gynecology, fields that typically represent primary care. The most popular fields this year were the specialties of internal medicine and family medicine. Some selected training opportunities are not offered anywhere in West Virginia, such as child neurology.
“As an institution, we added two new residency programs to the match this year with plastic surgery and radiation oncology, and we matched students into both of those specialties,” Norman Ferrari, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of the WVU Department of Medical Education, said. “We have seen more students choosing to stay in the state or nearby for the start of their residency training, despite being heavily recruited by programs all over the country. Research has shown that resident-physicians tend to establish their practices close to where they train.”
The Class of 2017 had 100 percent first-time pass rate on the United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 2 test, which is required for graduation and licensure. This class also has four students graduating with combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees. The combined degree programs provide students the opportunity to earn both the medical degree and the doctor of philosophy degree in areas pertinent to medicine. Two of those graduates matched in radiation oncology, one at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and one at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center; one in family medicine at WVU; one in general surgery at the University of Michigan; and one in child neurology at the University of California – San Diego Medical Center.
“We are so proud to have this talented group of WVU students decide to pursue training in areas of medicine that directly deliver care to patients,” Clay Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences, said. “Improving the health of our citizens and communities is our mission, and the number of resident physicians remaining in West Virginia and bordering states, plus the number of students entering primary care, indicate that we are keeping the important promise as the state’s land grant institution of caring for West Virginians and helping West Virginia students succeed in their education.”
The National Residency Matching Program couples prospective applicants with residency programs. Each applicant makes a list ranking the residency program in their order of desirability. The residency programs do the same with the applicants, and the NRMP matches them up. A record-high 35,969 U.S. and international medical school students and graduates vied for 31,757 positions, the most ever offered in the Match. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 28,849,989 more than last year.
Residency training typically takes three to five years. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of experienced physicians before being certified in a specialty.
WVU has the largest number of graduate medical education offerings in the state, with nearly 50 specialty training programs, all of which are fully accredited. One-half of the training programs are the only such specialty programs offered in the entire state.
Residency training begins at WVU in July for more than 100 new residents from medical schools across the country.
The School of Medicine’s commencement ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 12 at 6:00 p.m. at WVU’s Creative Arts Center.