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Internal medicine and pediatrics won the popularity contest as 55 seniors in the MD Class of 2017 at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine “matched” into post-medical school MD training programs. Coming in a close third was surgery, with psychiatry, at fourth place, on its heels.

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Match Day Ceremony kicked off at the coffee-fueled hour of 6 a.m. At that same moment, the clocks in other time zones around the country read later hours, but all of America’s medical school seniors were doing the same thing: gathering to experience “The Match.”

Senior David Niumatalolo, who played football at Kahuku High School and at New Mexico State University, is going to be a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. “I matched the first year at the University of Las Vegas and then I’m going to the University of Washington after that,” said Niumatalolo. “I couldn’t be happier, I get to do exactly what I want to do, so perfect news, one of the happiest days of my life.”

group of people with lei and balloon numbers 2017

The MD Class of 2017 at JABSOM

What is the match?


The match is the centralized process that pairs the physicians who will graduate this May with training programs in specialty fields in which they want to become board-certified. In the months before Match Day, each student has typically visited residency programs around the country and applied to several—“ranking” his or her own list of favored training spots. The training programs, in turn, list the MD applicants they want to accept. The National Matching Residency Program (NMRP) uses the rankings and an algorithm to perform the match.

On Match Day, the future physicians open specially prepared envelopes containing the news they have been waiting for—where they can begin their careers as doctors in training.

For more on Match Day read the John A. Burns School of Medicine story.

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