Medical students take their next step as future physicans on “Match Day”

Sponsored by University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) & John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)

On March 15 at 6 a.m., 73 members of the University of Hawaii medical school Class of 2019 learned where they would begin their careers as new doctors during “Match Day.” The ceremony marks their next phase as physicians in training before they can begin practicing medicine on their own.

The Match is the centralized process that pairs the graduating physicians with training programs in specialty fields in which they want to become board-certified. The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) releases the results at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. For Hawaii students, that means an early morning full of excitement and anticipation, as their hope is to be accepted into a post-medical school training program of their choosing. The auditorium full of future physicians opened specially prepared envelopes and hugged family and friends after reading the news they’ve been waiting months to hear.

Medical student Matthew Lim opened his envelope to find that he matched at the University of Hawaii Kapiolani Medical Center pediatrics residency program. “Opening the envelope was very surreal,” he said. “It’s more than just an envelope.” Lim had a unique blood disorder that affected him from elementary school through high school. He says it’s part of the motivation of going into pediatrics to help other families deal with difficult diseases. “This is the rest of my life and I’m really excited to do something that I’m really passionate about.”

Leading up to the Match, each of the students had interviewed in several programs across the country. Likewise, MD seniors in other U.S. medical schools had also flown to Hawaii to interview with residency programs available here in the state. The training programs then list the MD applicants they want to accept.

“I feel really lucky to do what I want to do,” Keolamau Yee said. The medical student will also be staying in Hawaii after matching with the University of Hawaii Internal Medicine residency program. Yee was born premature and says she had great role models growing up, especially her neonatologist. She says internal medicine is a combination of everything she’s passionate about.

“All of your classmates around you are opening their envelopes and finding out about where they’re going to be,” Yee recalls. “It’s exciting and wherever we’re going to be, we’re ready to make the most of it.”

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