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Medical Match Madness Unfolds Friday, March 16

(Editors: If you are interested in covering medical Match Day at Creighton, you should arrive around 10:30 a.m. as the event unfolds quickly. In addition to the March 16 Match Day, an additional three Creighton students participated in other medical match programs earlier this year.)

If this was a normal year, Pierce Hibma’s focus most likely would be on Creighton men’s basketball this Friday, as the Jays begin the 2012 NCAA tournament, facing off against Alabama.

Instead, the former Creighton hoopster and 115 other fourth-year medical students at the University will participate in a national medical Match Day, when they will learn where they will pursue their post-doctoral training.

For classmate Danielle Thurtle, there will be a second event to anticipate as well. Her fiancé, Michael Huck, a fourth-year medical student at University of Washington Medical School, is flying in so the couple can learn together where their medical training will take them.

The matches take place through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), a private, nonprofit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date and time to announce placements.

The drama begins to unfold around 11 a.m. CDT in the ballroom of the Mike and Josie Harper Center for Student Life and Learning at Creighton. Names will be drawn randomly, and the students will open envelopes to learn where they will receive their residency training and in what specialties.

In recent years, medical Match Day at Creighton has become a family celebration, with a mix of students as well as students’ spouses, children, parents and other supporters in attendance.

The road leading to March 16 began last fall, when medical students started traveling around the country to be interviewed for graduate training programs. Between Jan. 15 and Feb. 22, students submitted ranked lists of where they preferred to be resident doctors. Program administrators also submitted ranked lists of their choices of resident candidates.

In the weeks leading up to Match Day, a complicated computer algorithm sorts through thousands of choices and finally pairs each student with a single residency program.

To learn the fate of Hibma and other fourth-year Creighton medical students, you can view a live feed from the Harper Center ballroom. To watch Hibma as a Creighton basketball player, click here.