After spending countless hours at the hospital while her father battled colon cancer, fourth year human medicine student Angie Buttigieg learned to appreciate the kind nurses and doctors that supported her family. She said she used this experience to shape the type of physician she hopes to become.
Last week, Buttigieg was one among other medical students that received an envelope at the Match Day ceremony. Enclosed was a letter explaining where they would spend the next three to seven years furthering their education as residents.
“I was over-the-moon excited,” Buttigieg said. “I really wanted a program that had a good focus on serving underserved populations and a program that was located in a place with diversity. Also a program that had different research pathologies.”
Her first choice and her assigned residency location, Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., checked all those boxes for her.
After opening her letter, Buttigieg embraced her mother and sister and let reality sink in — her four years of hard work had finally paid off.
“It’s one thing to get that email or open that envelope alone and with family, but to see all of your colleagues that you have been going through this rigorous process with and watch their dreams come true,” she said. “it was just as fun for me to open my envelope as it was to watch everyone else opens theirs.”
Buttigieg is from MSU’s College of Human Medicine in Flint — one of the various campuses that celebrated Match Day last week. This was the first Match Day held in the MSU Flint building since it was opened in the fall.
Other MSU campuses that participated in Match Day included Lansing, the Upper Peninsula, Traverse City, Midland and Grand Rapids. This is a program that medical students from around the country engage in.
According to Wanda Lipscomb, senior associate dean of student affairs at the College of Human Medicine, there are a total of 178 medical seniors graduating this year between the different campuses.
Magee-Women’s Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will be welcoming fourth year medical student Yasaswi Paruchuri, from East Lansing’s campus, where she will study obstetrics and gynecology.
“It’s one of the only free-standing women’s hospitals in the country,” she said. “All the practitioners there are oriented toward women’s health.”
Although it wasn’t her first choice, she said it worked out for the best, considering UPMC has the third-best program in the country.
“When you go into the Match, ideally all programs are going to train you well. It’s just to see what program fits you best,” Paruchuri said.
After graduation, medical students will begin this residency training. Lipscomb said only about 34 percent MSU’s graduates are staying in-state to continue their education.
The remaining 66 percent travel across the U.S., which means they were accepted into some of the most competitive residency programs in the country,Lipscomb said.
Of the students graduating, about half are going into primary care fields, such as pediatrics, family medicine and internal medicine. The highest number of this years graduating class is specializing in these entry-level fields of care.
There is also a high percentage of graduates continuing in obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology and internal medicine.
“When you open your envelope to show where you are matched, it’s like the beginning of your real professional career as a physician — it’s just as important as receiving your (medical degree) at commencements,” Lipscomb said. “Collectively, those are the most exciting times for a graduating medical student.”