Anxiety was palpable in the Building 18 ballroom of the North Campus Research Complex Friday at noon. After years of studying, 161 future doctors would soon receive their residency assignments–the culmination of their medical evaluation.

Match Day, the annual day on which every medical student in the country learns where he or she is placed for residency took place Friday. At noon, Medical School seniors opened their envelopes and went on stage to declare where they would go.

Throughout their senior year, Medical School students interview at hospitals around the country. The students rank their preferences of hospitals and the hospital chooses which students it wants to accept as residents. The preferences of each side go into a computer program, which attempts to create ideal matches. At the end of the process students receive an envelope, unaware of which residency acceptance it will contain.

The room was packed with long tables of food, maize and blue balloons, hundreds of glasses of sparkling water and the friends and families of the future residents. Many students chose to participate in the University’s tradition of surprise, and they opened their envelopes for the first time while on stage. They each took a moment to absorb the information before announcing the result to the cheering crowd.

Medical School student Fields Mead was one of the many students accepted to their top-choice programs. For many this choice was the University’s Hospital System, and 28 percent of this year’s graduating class will return to the University for residency. Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical school education, said this is likely because the students have developed bonds with their superiors.

“When you train here, you get to know the people in residency here and so you might establish relationships,” Mangrulkar said. “Our residency programs get to know our students more than they would get to know students from across the country.”

When she discovered she would be undertaking her residency at the University, Medical School student Jennifer Taylor shed tears of joy. Taylor said she could not imagine being placed anywhere else.

“I interviewed around and I just couldn’t find anywhere better,” Taylor said. “I thought a long time about, ‘Should I go somewhere else?’ But when you fall in love with a place, you just can’t deny that.”

While more than a quarter of the students chose the University, the other 72 percent will journey to other institutions throughout the country. Many students will attend residency at schools including Cornell University, Brown University, Stanford University, Duke University and Northwestern University. After revealing their future programs, students were invited to put a pin on a map of the United States to mark where they would go. While the greatest collection of pins was near Ann Arbor, there were also large numbers placed in California, Washington, D.C. and New York.

Medical School stuedent Emily Naom will leave Ann Arbor to begin her anesthesiology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital — her first choice. After spending nine years at the University’s undergraduate and medical schools, Naom said she wants to live in Boston.

“They say that you’ll know places that feel like you’d be a good match there, and that was the one for me,” Naom said. “I really liked the program here too, but after nine years here I thought it would be a good time to leave and hopefully come back some day.”

Naom, who studied music as an undergraduate, chose to become a doctor after an inspiring experience she had while working at the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation lab in the University’s Medical Science Research Building II.

“I had done the pre-med thing but I didn’t get really involved until I started working in a lab,” Naom said. “I had a mentor there who helped me see real-life medicine as opposed to the big pre-med lectures.”

While the vast majority of students were surprised on Match Day, a number were unruffled. The programs urology and ophthalmology have their own match days, which occur before those of the other programs. Medical School student Zachary Koloff, who is studying urology, went onstage holding a personalized University jersey, which, after announcing his residency would be at the University, proceeded to put on.

“Our day was not as exciting as this,” Koloff said. “We’re just here for fun.”

After every student had proclaimed his or her match, Mangrulkar said he was certain they would go on to represent the University well.

“Our students come together so well, and that’s the thing we’re proudest about. That value of them coming together, we’ve seen them do that with their patients,” Mangrulkar said. “About a quarter stay here at University of Michigan, but three quarters spread out all over the country. They carry the block ‘M’ with them and that core value.”

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