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Creighton med students find their fit on Match Day

Match Day 2021The Creighton University School of Medicine Friday celebrated yet another year in which its graduating students matched to their specialties of choice at a rate greater than 90%, and 100% of students were accepted into residency programs.

Match Day, always a major annual event on the School of Medicine’s calendar, is the day when graduates, having completed their four years of medical education, find out where they will spend their residencies and whether they have been assigned their specialties of choice. In virtual events on Friday, students shared their excitement with family and friends.

“As you go forth to perform lives of service to others, I want you to know how proud we are of you as a group,” said Robert “Bo” Dunlay, MD’81, dean of the Creighton School of Medicine, told the students.

Michael Kavan, PhD, associate dean for student affairs at the School of Medicine, noted that a record 165 students participated in matching programs this year. Of these, 156 took part in the National Resident Matching Program, two in the San Francisco Match program, two in the American Urological Association Match, and five in the Military Match, all of which help pair graduating medical students with medical institutions.

Kavan praised Creighton’s medical graduates for achieving a 91% matching rate during a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the opportunity to engage in “away electives” in which students visit prospective residency institutions, and when students had to resort to virtual rather than in-person interviews with residency programs.

“Despite this, Creighton University School of Medicine students did very well in the match, matching into impressive specialties and prestigious programs throughout the country,” Kavan said. “We congratulate the students on their success and wish them success in their future careers as physicians.”

Among the students learning of their residencies was John Hufnagle, who successfully matched to Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, a 195-year-old institution affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine, where he will pursue interventional radiology.

“I was tremendously excited when I read the email,” he said. “It really solidified how well I had been prepared at every step of medical school to have matched in such a competitive field at such a fantastic program.

“I think having spent time at Creighton solidified in my mind what a healthy training community looked like. Every residency says that they ‘promote wellness’ and ‘have a strong community,’ but being able to see a community with an emphasis on wellness at Creighton School of Medicine really helped me know what to look for. I also know that the teachers and mentors that I met at Creighton opened more doors than I can count, both in how they introduced me to my chosen field and how they prepared me academically to reach my goals.”

Match Day was a memorable day, too, for Stephen Rowse, who found himself on his way “back home” to a pediatric residency at his first choice — Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California.

“Match Day was filled with so many emotions,” he said. “There was a lot of anticipation and excitement leading up to finding out where I would complete my pediatric residency. Then finally, after reading my results, surrounded by friends and family, I was filled with so much joy as I got my top choice back home in the Bay Area.”

For Lexi Sughroue, Match Day was a welcome reward after a year buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s headed to Florida, to an emergency medicine residency at the University of Florida-Jacksonville.

“After a difficult year, it was an amazing experience to be able to share such joyous moments with classmates, friends, and family,” she says. “The Creighton family is an unbelievable community to be a part of, and that certainly showed on Match Day as well.”

Kavan said students matched into 20 different specialty areas. Of these:

• 88 students matched into primary care specialties, including internal medicine (35 students); pediatrics (25 students); family medicine (24 students); and medicine-pediatrics (4 students). These figures represent 53% of the graduating class, the highest percentage of a Creighton graduating class, and the highest total number of students, ever to enter primary care specialties.

• Other categories included 16 students enrolling in general surgery, 11 students in psychiatry, nine students in obstetrics and gynecology, eight in emergency medicine, seven in diagnostic radiology, five in anesthesiology, four in neurology, four in orthopedic surgery, three in interventional radiology, three in transitional-year programs, two in ophthalmology, and two in urology.

• Other students matched into child neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and thoracic surgery. Students matched into residencies in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The largest destinations were Nebraska, with 24 students; Arizona with 16 students, California with 11 students and nine students each traveling to Illinois, Missouri and Texas.

Prestigious programs with which students matched included Creighton University, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Northwestern, Children’s National, George Washington University, Emory, Barrow Neurological Institute, Mount Sinai, Cedars Sinai, Rush, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Graduates of the Creighton University School of Medicine are highly sought after by residency program directors. Ninety-nine percent of them tell Creighton administrators they would be happy to have more Creighton graduates in their programs. The follow-on effect of this enthusiasm means that Creighton graduates experience a competitive advantage at the many locations where fellow graduates are already training, which greatly improves their chances of finding residencies in their preferred fields.


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