MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For four years the 94 students in the West Virginia University School of Medicine Class of 2011 studied long hours and made great sacrifices to reach their goal to become physicians. Today, they anxiously watched the clock, knowing that at noon they would finally learn where they will go for the next phase of their training, known as residency.

Medical students throughout the nation learned of their residency selections at noon on Thursday, March 17, at Match Day ceremonies. This year’s WVU celebrations were held simultaneously at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, the Charleston Division Education building in Charleston and the Eastern Division’s Educational Building in Martinsburg. 
Ghareeb and Ninness
Thirty-six percent of WVU School of Medicine Class of 2011 will continue training in the state. Sixty-nine percent of them will be either in West Virginia or a bordering state for their training.

“We have seen more students choosing to stay in the state or nearby for the start of their residency training. That certainly shows the loyalty of our students to West Virginia and that they recognize our strong graduate training programs,” G. Anne Cather, M.D., associate dean of student services and professional development and professor of family medicine, said. “These are important statistics because research has shown that residents tend to establish their practices close to where they train. One-fourth of our non-resident students will be starting their residency training in West Virginia this July.”

Forty-one percent of the graduates will train in internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine or obstetrics/gynecology, fields that typically represent a person’s primary healthcare. Other popular fields this year were the specialties of psychiatry, emergency medicine and anesthesiology. “Our students matched in 19 different fields and will go to 19 different states,” Dr. Cather said.

“This is a great day in the lives of all graduating medical students,” Arthur J. Ross, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “In many respects it is even more memorable for them than their actual graduation ceremony. Today is the day when they learn where they will go, as ‘new doctors’ to further their education and training as they prepare for a life of service to humankind. We are extremely proud of all our students and are especially pleased to see that so many of them will remain in West Virginia; we expect that many more will return to West Virginia once they complete their training.”

Residency training typically takes three to five years. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of experienced physicians before being certified in a specialty.
WVU’s School of Medicine graduation activities will be held at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown on Saturday, May 14. This year, 2010-2011, marks the 50th anniversary of WVU’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program. There will be a celebration during the week of May 16.

WVU has the largest number of GME offerings in the state, with more than 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 the week of June 20 for 107 new interns.

Other data:
Top five states: W.Va., Pa., Ky., Va., N.C., and Ohio (account for 66 percent of students)

Top Specialties: Internal Medicine (13 percent), Family Medicine (12 percent), Pediatrics (12 percent), Transitional Year (11 percent), Psychiatry (10 percent), Emergency Medicine (6 percent), Anesthesiology (5 percent), Preliminary Surgery (5 percent). 

Photo captions: Walker – WVU School of Medicine Class of 2011 member Derrel Walker celebrates his residency match at the 2011 Match Day ceremony at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center. Ghareeb and Ninness – Erica Ghareeb (left) and Brittani Ninness, members of the WVU School of Medicine’s Class of 2011, celebrate Ghareeb’s residency match at the 2011 Match Day Ceremony at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ac: 03-17-11