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Some of the members of JABSOM‘s class of 2021.

Match Day begins the culmination of a student’s medical school journey. On March 19, future physicians across the nation, including 68 members of the 2021 graduating class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) found out where they will spend the next three to five years training as MD residents. Match Day 2021 was the first hybrid in-person and virtual special event at JABSOM in a year since the first stay-at-home COVID-19 orders.

Primary care continues to be a main point of interest for JABSOM students. More than half of the students chose primary care as their specialty, including those with significant shortages (internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology). More than three-fourths of the class will either stay home or train close to home on the West Coast.

First hybrid Match Day

female on phone
A student calls her family to share where she matched.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to go fully online. This year, JABSOM held a hybrid ceremony where students could choose to attend a safe, socially-distanced and masked Match Day ceremony on-campus in the JABSOM auditorium or stay at home with their families and participate virtually on Zoom and YouTube. The in-person event was limited to students and a few faculty and staff. All in attendance were fully vaccinated.

“For med students, today is the most important day of our careers, and we’re really grateful to be able to do that safely and all together,” said Nicole Anzai, MD 2021 candidate and class president.

How do students “match?”

Medical students spend their final year of medical school applying to and interviewing with different residency programs to become a specialist in one of these disciplines. The applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit these lists to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which uses a computer algorithm to match applicants and programs. At 6 a.m. Hawaiʻi Standard Time (noon Eastern Standard Time), fourth-year medical students across the country opened their envelopes (or an email) to find out to which program they’ve been matched. According to NRMP, this year was the largest in its history of 42,508 applicants.

For more go to the JABSOM website.

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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