In joyful virtual ceremony, members of ‘a special class’ learn where they complete their residencies.
The joy radiates from Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Mary White and Ben Chipkin moments after the couple found out they both matched at Yale-New Haven Hospital for internal medicine.
“It was our first choice,” White says. “We’re so shocked, so excited and so humbled to be going there together.”
The internists Chipkin met as a third-year at Jefferson inspired his career path. “They cared so deeply about their patients,” he shares. “I love approaching patients from a holistic view.”
White and Chipkin were among the 242 Jefferson medical students who learned where they will complete their residencies on Friday, March 19.
Under usual Match Day circumstances at the University, students come together and open envelopes in unison to reveal where they will head. The pandemic, of course, forced the cancelation of the traditionally large ceremony on campus.
Instead, students united over Zoom—with loved ones often close by—to celebrate their accomplishments, discover their next career steps and hear remarks from University leadership.
“You’re truly a special class,” says Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “You’re the first class to complete the JeffMD curriculum in its entirety, and you’ve mastered tolerance of ambiguity by finishing your training and going through residency applications during a once-in-a-century pandemic.”
Dr. Charles Pohl, Jefferson’s vice provost and vice dean of student affairs, also praised the Class of 2021 for their extraordinary resolve and spirit.
“The impact that you have had on each other, our patients and the community really has been incredible,” Dr. Pohl says. “We thank you for all of that.”
Jefferson students were among 42,500 applicants who vied for some 35,000 spots in roughly 5,100 residency programs nationwide, Dr. Pohl notes. The specialties of internal medicine, emergency medicine, surgery and pediatrics received the highest number of matches for Jefferson students. Roughly 25% matched to a Jefferson hospital or affiliate.
While most found out their residencies last week, those going into the military, ophthalmology and urology successfully participated in the early matches this winter, Dr. Pohl says.
“I want to congratulate all of you for this pivotal moment in your journey,” Dr. Pohl told students minutes before they saw their matches. “The world is looking to you for comfort and safety during these tumultuous times.”
The Nexus asked members of the Class of 2021 to look back at the past four years at Jefferson and share their thoughts on Match Day and where the future will take them.
Jeremiah Davis, Duke University Medical Center, Family Medicine
Match Day was filled with excitement and appreciation for me. I have a ton of gratitude for the opportunity to pursue my dream of practicing primary care and providing care to an urban underserved community. It’s truly an honor to match in family medicine at Duke. I know I’ll receive top-notch training in medicine and learn how to address health disparities at the community level.
Jake Goodman, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Psychiatry
Matching in Miami is a dream turned reality for me and my fiancé, Arianna Heyer. I first developed my passion for psychiatry during my rotation at the Jefferson Narcotic Addictions Rehab Program under the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Ariela Green. I became immersed in the vulnerable conversations between patients and doctors and was honored to witness patients on their road to recovery from addiction through supportive therapy and medication.
When Arianna (who matched into internal medicine) and I were looking into residency programs, we searched for places with a supportive culture, opportunities to enrich our training through diverse clinical and extracurricular activities, and warm weather close to family. We’re thrilled to have found just that at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and are excited to start this next chapter of our lives together. We’re celebrating this momentous time with our closest friends in medical school and lots of apartment hunting.
Martin Hehir, University of Virginia, Anesthesiology
I couldn’t be more excited to match at UVA and become a UVA-trained anesthesiologist. My wife, two little girls and I love the Charlottesville area, culture and weather. Anesthesiology is such a fun and gratifying specialty, and I can’t want to be a positive force for my patients before they enter and when they come out of the operating room. I celebrated with my family, some good food and endless talk about the future. Today is also a testament to the outstanding training I’ve received at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, and I cannot thank everyone enough who has helped me along the way.
Michelle Konkoly, Nemours duPont Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Pediatrics-Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
I’m so thrilled to have matched into my top choice residency program, the combined peds-PM&R program at duPont-Jefferson. Ever since I first learned about peds-PM&R, I was attracted to the field. I love working with kids because of their resilience, and PM&R emphasizes each patient’s unique strengths and how we can best leverage them to provide optimal quality of life.
I’ll be a resident at Magee Rehab, which is a small step toward giving back to the place that taught me to walk again after my spinal cord injury. During my rotations at duPont and Jefferson, I’ve been so impressed with the coordination of care and always putting the patients first. I’m excited to contribute to this culture. I spent the weekend celebrating with (vaccinated!) friends and enjoying an amazing dinner at Suraya. I just left for Florida, where my whole family will be together for the first time since Thanksgiving.
Megan O’Donnell, Jefferson, Dermatology
I wanted to be a dermatologist for as long as I could remember. So, when I opened my email and saw that I had matched dermatology at my No. 1 choice, Jefferson, it truly felt like a dream. I will be able to stay part of the Jefferson family alongside my husband, who’s also a resident here.
Match Day was certainly different this year; however, Jefferson still made it special. We got to Zoom with our classmates while opening our Match Day emails and see where everyone matched. It was such an exciting time. I have some of the most hardworking and intelligent classmates, and I can’t wait to work with them in the future.
Haritha Reddy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Surgery
For me, matching at Mount Sinai is everything. I had my eyes on this program before medical school started, and it’s the reason I chose Jefferson in the first place. Jefferson has a great track record for matching people in New York programs, and their surgery match record was phenomenal. So, you can imagine how excited I was to be accepted to the med school back in 2017.
Four years later, with great guidance from the surgical department at Jefferson, I matched at Mount Sinai for general surgery. This program encourages and exemplifies the collaborative learning environment that I’ve been seeking in the city where my fiancé lives and works.
My desire to be a surgeon solidified over time. From having a 22-year dance background to doing carotid artery isolations in my undergraduate research lab, I realized that “practice” is something I deeply value. I often wasn’t naturally good at anything in my life; whether it be academics, sports or the arts, I succeeded only through intentional and consistent practice. I loved seeing the results of my efforts, and they always have led to the most gratifying moments of my life. It felt only natural that a career in surgery was meant for me. Then, through my experience at Jefferson, I discovered my interest in breast cancer surgery and health disparities, and that’s the direction I want to take during my time as a surgeon-in-training.
No happy moment of mine is worth it without my family’s presence. I owe everything to my dad (the soft-hearted intellectual), my mom (the strong-minded emotional) and my little sister (my whole world). They’re ecstatic I will become the first physician in my family. Celebrating is simply getting their hugs and kisses amidst all my happy tears.
Vivian Xu, Jefferson, Otolaryngology
Matching in otolaryngology at Jefferson means so much to me because it was here that I found a sense of belonging within the medical community. The people of Jefferson’s ENT department do their jobs wholeheartedly, whether it’s spending extra time with an anxious patient, going out of the way to support a colleague, or mentoring students after a long day in the OR. That’s exactly the kind of physician I want to be.
I chose otolaryngology because of the complex anatomy, unique impact on patients’ quality of life (cancer care, restoration of lost senses, facial reconstruction and more), and dedicated people that I proudly call my mentors and friends. As a first-generation immigrant, I feel unbelievably fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue the career that I love. For Match Day celebrations in the pandemic, many teary-eyed cheers and toasts were had over Zoom and in the park with my loved ones and closest classmates. The future is bright, and I can’t wait to get started.