MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two newlyweds were among the students in the West Virginia University School of Medicine Class of 2012 who today found out where they would begin the next chapter in their medical careers. Lucky for the new Mr. and Mrs. – and soon-to-be Dr. and Dr. – they get to keep their hearts in Morgantown.
Medical students throughout the nation learned of their residency selections at noon on Friday, March 16, at Match Day ceremonies. This year’s WVU celebrations were held simultaneously at Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa in Morgantown, the Charleston Division Education building in Charleston and the Eastern Division’s Educational Building in Martinsburg.  

One third of the WVU School of Medicine Class of 2012 will continue training in the state. “My heart, our hearts are in West Virginia,” said newlywed Hilary Hickman.  She and her husband, Chad Morley, met while in medical school at WVU and say they are excited to stay in the area together.  

“We have seen our students heavily recruited by residency training programs all over the country, from coast to coast. This class enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate on the USMLE Step 2 examination, and with their superb clinical training, everyone wanted them,” Norman Ferrari, M.D., senior associate dean of medical education and professor in the WVU Department of Pediatrics, said. “We are pleased that many have chosen to stay in West Virginia showing their loyalty to our state and recognizing the strong training offered by our programs. With such a high percentage training in Appalachian states, we are hopeful to continue our significant impact on the region and rural America.”

Forty-two 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 neurology, radiology and anesthesiology.

“Our students matched in 21 different fields and will go to 18 different states,” Dr. Ferrari said.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) couples prospective applicants with residency programs. Each applicant makes a list ranking the residency programs in their order of desirability. The residency programs do the same with the applicants, and the NRMP matches them up.

Not all graduating medical students get matched. According to the NRMP, last year 971 graduates of U.S. medical schools were shut out, accounting for 5.9 percent of U.S. grads.

“When you say ‘March Madness’ to a medical student, he or she thinks you are talking about ‘The Match.’  This long awaited and highly anticipated day represents the culmination of four years of dedicated, hard work. For many, it is more meaningful than is the actual graduation ceremony because it is on this day that they have revealed to them the information about where their personal road to become a great doctor will take them,” Arthur J. Ross, III, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “For several, it is a West Virginia address and that is very exciting for all of us as we work hard to create the next generation of doctors who will improve the health and wellness of West Virginians.”

WVU’s School of Medicine graduation activities will be held at the Morgantown Event Center at Waterfront Place in Morgantown on Sunday, May 13.

Residency training typically takes three to five years. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of experienced physicians before being certified in a specialty.

WVU has the largest number of graduate medical education 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 states: West Virginia (34), Pennsylvania (14), Ohio (11), Virginia (9), North Carolina (4)

Top Specialties: Internal Medicine (14 percent), Family Medicine (8 percent), Pediatrics (13 percent), Transitional Year (9 percent), Anesthesiology (8 percent), Surgery (10 percent), Radiology (6 percent), Neurology (6 percent)  

For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
nf: 03-15-12