Medical students revel in happiness as they open envelopes on "Match Day"

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina M. Shelton, (808) 692-0897
Director of Communications, Office of Dean of Medicine
Posted: Mar 15, 2013

MD student Sara Harris "matched" into OB-GYN
MD student Sara Harris "matched" into OB-GYN
Can you owe more than $104,000 in educational debt and still be ecstatic? Yes, you can! Ecstasy, along with relief, was in the air on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), as members of the MD Class of 2013 opened the secret envelopes that revealed where they have been accepted into “Residency Training” as newly minted MDs.
The information inside the envelope is what the medical students have worked years for; opening those envelopes on what is called “MATCH DAY” is a pinnacle moment of an MD’s career.
Today’s “MATCH” was held simultaneously across the country’s time zones, with Hawai`i’s ceremony the earliest--starting at 7:00 a.m. 31,000 students were competing for approximately 24,000 residency positions in the National Resident Matching Program, which coordinates the “MATCH” by computer, pairing students with training programs and delivering the information inside the Match Day envelopes.
Thirty young men and 25 young women “MATCHED ” at JABSOM today. Class President Krista Kiyosaki of Hilo told her fellow students, “We are incredibly fortunate to pursue our dreams and we get to do something we love every day.”
Sixty-seven percent of JABSOM’s Class of 2013 selected Primary Care Medicine as the specialty they will pursue in required post-MD training.
That’s one of the highest percentages in the country choosing primary care, which includes medicine, family medicine and OB-GYN. It’s welcome news, too. The ongoing shortage of physicians in Hawai`i is most severe in Primary Care. And JABSOM is very good at primary care. This week U.S. News & World Report ranked JABSOM in the Top 75 on its “2014 Best Medical Schools” list.
Dean Jerris Hedges said he was especially glad that JABSOM graduates are choosing primary care medicine despite the relatively lower salaries a primary care physician can expect to earn, compared with those in more lucrative fields such as anesthesiology.
On average, individual medical students who graduate from JABSOM have $104,586 in educational debt. As a class, the totals can seem staggering. JABSOM’s current MD student debt* is:
  • $2.2 million owed by 48 members of our MD Class of 2015
  • $3.4 million owed by 53 members of our MD Class of 2014
  • $3.9 million owed by 42 members of our MD Class of 2013
Keep in mind, also, that the median income of the families of JABSOM MD students is $85,000 year.
Nevertheless, at JABSOM, screams of joy erupted as the envelopes were opened, followed by several minutes of joyful hugging, high-five’s and even tears of joy, as class members learned where their training would take them next. The JABSOM MD Class of 2013 includes five neighbor island students, and seven students who entered JABSOM through our `Imi Ho`ōla Post-Baccalaureate Program, a yearlong intensive study for promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ninety percent of the class are Hawai`i residents.
Through the Hawai`i Residency Programs, Inc., in partnership with Hawai`i’s major health care centers, JABSOM also trains more than 240 MD Residents in 14 specialties. Some of the newest MD graduates will stay here, while other new MDs from the around the world will begin making plans to train in the Aloha State once they earn their MDs this May.
*Class debt totals from the Association of American Medical Colleges, 2012.

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