In some ways the moment was like many others before, fourth-year medical students across the country waiting anxiously for the appointed time when news of the next steps in their medical training would be released by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
However, this year when the clock struck noon on March 20, 2020, instead of gathering in Ross Hall with a throng of friends, family, and mentors, George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) fourth-years were gathered around computer monitors for a virtual Match Day.
“I know this isn’t exactly how you planned to celebrate your match day,” Barbara L. Bass, MD, RESD ’86, vice president for health affairs at GW, dean of SMHS, and CEO of The GW Medical Faculty Associates, told students in a video message that was posted prior to the event. “But you will have perhaps the most memorable Match Day in history.”
“Given the situation with COVID-19, I believe this was the best way to celebrate Match Day,” said Ethan (Eitan) Parnass, MD ’20, who matched in anesthesiology at his first choice, Rush University in his hometown of Chicago. “I was happy to be with my family most of all and still have some semblance of a ceremony with my peers and school.”
Nationwide, a record-high 40,084 applicants competed for 37,256 residency positions, the most ever according to the NRMP. This year’s national match rate for U.S. MD program seniors was 93.7%, down 0.2% from last year. SMHS MD students consistently have matched well above the national average, and this year was no exception. The Class of 2020 boasted a 98% match rate, and paired with many of the most prestigious programs across the country. Leading specialties among the class included internal medicine, pediatrics, anesthesiology, family medicine, and orthopaedic surgery.
In addition to 10 SMHS students, GW welcomed 150 new members to the clinical community this summer. The university’s 41 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accredited programs filled all 108 internship slots and 52 of the 54 fellowships.
International medical graduates participating in training through the SMHS Office of International Medicine Programs (IMP) earned a residency match rate of 90.9%, around 3 percent below the match rate for U.S. MDs. Overall, 17 international students matched in residency programs or fellowships, in specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics, nephrology, and surgery.