Inaugural Class of Graduating Medical Students Celebrates Match Day

All 40 students graduating from the UC Riverside School of Medicine were matched for a residency program

The inaugural Class of 2017 celebrated Match Day on March 17, 2017. Carrie Rosema

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Grand Parisian Ballroom at the Mission Inn Hotel in downtown Riverside erupted with cries of joy at 9 a.m. today, “Match Day,” when the inaugural graduating class of students in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside opened envelopes that informed them of where they found their residency positions at hospitals and health systems, and where they would spend their next few years.

On Match Day thousands of medical students in the country learn where they have matched for a residency program. Not all students find matches. But all 40 students of the Class of 2017 in the UC Riverside medical school were matched for a residency program, and will start their medical careers this summer.  Further, there are no unfilled spots in any of the residency training programs beginning this summer for which the UCR School of Medicine holds the accreditation.

“I’ve been at this ceremony for more than 15 years, but I have to tell you this inaugural class of 2017 matched 100 percent, which is a marvelous feat,” said Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H, the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean and Chief Executive Officer for Clinical Affairs at the medical school. “I offer my sincere congratulations to the Class of 2017 because they chose to step up as trailblazers for our medical school. They believed in what we promised, and we delivered.”

Sarah Gomez is a member of the Class of 2017.Photo credit: Kelly McGrail, UC Riverside.

The first public medical school created in California in more than 40 years, the School of Medicine will graduate its first class of students this summer. Thirty-three of the 40 students who matched today will be staying in California for their residency; 10 matched in residency programs in inland Southern California.

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Deas noted that the Class of 2017 handled its journey to Match Day with extraordinary grace.

“Now you are about to pursue yet another journey in your medical career,” she said. “When you get to your residency programs you will represent the UCR School of Medicine and distinguish yourself with the values of this medical school: inclusion, integrity, innovation, excellence, accountability, and respect.”

Neal Schiller, Ph.D., the medical school’s senior associate dean for student affairs, said he would forever remember three occasions associated with the Class of 2017.

“First, your white coat ceremony; second, Match Day; and third, your graduation ceremony,” he said. “We are most proud of you.”

Just before 9 a.m. today, the Class of 2017 walked up to a stage to pick up their envelopes and gifts. They then returned to their families and friends.  At precisely 9 a.m., they joined thousands of other graduating medical students nationwide in ripping open envelopes to read perhaps the most important letter of their lives.

The privilege to continue to stay true to the medical school’s mission is what makes Sarah Gόmez excited about having been accepted into the family medicine residency program at Desert Regional Medical Center.

“That residency program also has amazing faculty and residents who, I feel, will really support my learning and this journey I am about to embark on,” she said.

“I am so excited to be going to UC Davis and staying in California,” said Jaire Saunders, who matched with the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program. “It is where my family wanted me to go and where I wanted to go. I couldn’t be happier.”

Map shows where some students of the Class of 2017 found matches.Photo credit: Carrie Rosema.

For student Leila Magistrado today was “the most amazing day” of her life.

“I am so proud to be a part of the UCR School of Medicine inaugural class and I feel well prepared for my OB/GYN residency program at Baylor,” she said.

Emma Simmons, M.D., the medical school’s associate dean for student affairs stressed that all 40 students had tough decisions to make for Match Day.

“They had many choices for where to go for their future careers,” she said. “And they all did remarkably well.  This day brings back fond memories for me.  My husband and I participated in the Match as a couple, and were very excited to get our first choice.”

Paul Lyons, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, noted that today marked the culmination of more than a decade of planning for the medical school.

“A lot of effort went into realizing this day,” he said. “Today we celebrate the hopes and dreams of numerous people – our students, our faculty and staff.  We shall forever remember this first Match Day for UCR.”

To learn more about Match Day, click here.

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