WVSOM graduate match

WVSOM’s Class of 2021 had 97% residency match rate

For medical students, receiving a degree after four years of intense studying and arduous clinical schedules is a rewarding milestone. But months before they receive the title distinguishing them as physicians, students take part in Match Day, a process that determines where they will begin residencies and which medical specialties will define their careers.

Match Day, which takes place the third week of March every year, allows thousands of medical students to learn where they will train for residency. Residency programs typically last between three and seven years and are a key requirement in obtaining a medical license. 

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) graduating class consisted of 179 graduates, with a 97 percent residency match rate for the class.

“This is a big deal, especially since there are not enough residency positions in the nation for the number of medical school students who apply,” said WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D. “It was a particularly difficult year since students were restricted as to where they could go for clinical rotations, essentially eliminating audition rotations for many students.”

Victoria Shuman, D.O., WVSOM’s associate dean for graduate medical education, said that the lack of in-person interviews required students to distinguish themselves on a virtual platform.

“Our students did very well considering there were more than 40,000 applicants for a little more than 35,000 first-year residency positions,” she said. “During this Match season, students had to show they were desirable candidates via virtual interviews — more than 95 percent of interviews were held virtually — and not through the traditional process of being in person and showing their strengths to prospective program directors.”

The 2021 Main Residency Match was the largest in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) history, according to the organization’s website. There were 38,106 total positions offered — the most ever — and 35,194 first-year positions offered, an increase of 928 (2.7 percent) over 2020. In the past five years, the number of Match-participating programs has increased by 845 (16.7 percent), spurred in part by the completion of the transition to a single accreditation system for allopathic and osteopathic programs.

NRMP match data for 2021 shows that primary care specialties remain strong, with 17,649 of 35,194 (49.6 percent) first-year positions offered in family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.

That was also the case for WVSOM, whose mission is focused specifically toward educating students who will practice in primary care specialties. In the Class of 2021, 116 graduates (65 percent) will enter a primary care residency.

“WVSOM is one of the top medical schools in the country, D.O. or M.D., for graduating students who enter primary care residencies,” Nemitz said. “In fact, WVSOM was recognized again for this by U.S. News & World Report.”

Non-primary care specialties are also an option for WVSOM students. In this year’s class, 22 graduates are entering emergency medicine residencies, six are entering anesthesiology, three are entering physical medicine and rehabilitation, two are entering neurology, one is entering pathology, one is entering osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine, six are beginning a transitional year and six are entering a form of surgery.

Additionally, 100 percent of eligible WVSOM graduates matched into a military residency.

Some of the locations where WVSOM graduates will work include Brown University, the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Carmel Health System, Allegheny General Hospital, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Charleston Area Medical Center, West Virginia University and Marshall University.

Results of the 2021 Main Match were highly anticipated given the recruitment season’s pivot due to the pandemic.

“The NRMP is honored to have delivered a strong Match to the many applicants pursuing their dreams of medicine,” Donna Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN, president and chief executive officer of NRMP, said in a press release. “We admire all the Match participants for their hard work and their commitment to train and serve alongside their peers.”