Communications & Public Affairs
New Brunswick, NJ – Surrounded by family, friends and their teachers, 134 fourth-year medical students at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School learned today where they will continue their training as residents.
At noon, Chukwudi Okafor of Edison, N.J., who grew up in Newark, opened an envelope that revealed he will train at Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center in his chosen specialty of anesthesiology. “Today, I’m excited, but don’t feel as stressed out as in days past,” he said, explaining the euphoria shared by him and his classmates. “The real anxiety was leading up to this past Monday, which was the day I found out that I matched somewhere and had a job.”
Match Day is when thousands of medical students discover where they will spend the next three to seven years of residency training following their upcoming graduation. Held simultaneously at medical schools across the country, Match Day is considered a milestone for medical school students and the final reward to four years of perpetual learning about the art and science of the human body. Of the students who participated in the Match, 95 percent of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s students matched to a residency of their choice, exceeding the national average of 94.3 percent.
“Today, as you stand at the precipice of the next step in your career, you are perfectly poised to add to the lives of others,” Sherine E. Gabriel, MD, MS, dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told the students during the event. “I encourage you to realize that the care and service that you give to others will reward you and fulfill your sense of humanity and pride throughout your career.”
Carla Gaurini of Hamilton, N.J., shared in the excitement, although she’s known for several months where she would train as an obstetrician/gynecologist. A student in the United States Naval Health Professions Scholarship Program, Carla will be serving four years as a resident at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., followed by four years of service. “I’ve received an amazing education. I think the humanitarian efforts at the medical school and how they were incorporated into practice has made me a better person and will help me to take care of my patients in the best way that I can,” Gaurini said. “The Navy also has a ton of humanitarian options, which I love, so it’s a great way to give back to the country and also receive great training.”
Thomas Golden of Freehold, N.J., has waited for this moment just a bit longer than many of his classmates. Following his third year of medical school, Golden took a year off to pursue a master’s of public health degree at University College Cork in Ireland, as a recipient of a George J. Mitchell Scholarship awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance. As a physician, Golden will be specializing in family medicine. Before the envelopes were opened, Golden said he had applied to community-focused programs mostly in the western United States.
“I’m very excited to see where I’m going and very grateful to everyone at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School who helped me along the way,” he said. Golden got his wish and will begin his residency in July at the North Colorado Medical Center Sunrise Community Health Center, which accepts only two residents from the nationwide pool each year.
Nearly half of the Class of 2017, 48 percent, chose a primary care specialty: 28 matched in internal medicine programs, 16 in pediatrics, one in a combined medicine/pediatrics program, 11 in family medicine, and seven students matched to residencies in obstetrics and gynecology. Of the graduating students, 29 matched to programs in New Jersey, and of these, 15 will continue their training in residency programs at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Graduating students from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School also will attend residency programs at Johns Hopkins, Yale University, Columbia University, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, Brown University and the Mayo Clinic.
According to the National Residency Matching Program, which coordinates the process, it was the largest Match ever with 43,157 registrants participating.
As one of the nation's leading comprehensive medical schools, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the medical school's principal affiliate, comprise one of the nation's premier academic medical centers. In addition, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has 34 other hospital affiliates and ambulatory care sites throughout the region.
Part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School encompasses 21 basic science and clinical departments, hosts centers and institutes including The Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey and the Women’s Health Institute. The medical school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels on its campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway and provides continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs. To learn more about Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, visit rwjms.rutgers.edu. Find us online at www.facebook.com/RWJMedicalSchool and www.twitter.com/RWJMS.