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Chicago Medical School Celebrates Match Day

Chicago Medical School (CMS) at Rosalind Franklin University celebrated the annual Match Day rite of passage on March 16, as 188 fourth-year medical students (M4s) and thousands more around the United States learned where they will complete their medical residencies — and how they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives.

Members of the CMS Class of 2018, surrounded by family and friends, tore open envelopes at the stroke of 11 a.m. in the Rothstein Warden Centennial Learning Center during the nationally synchronized Match Day event, a celebration of the culmination of four years of medical school and the transition to graduate training in their chosen medical specialties.

CMS M4s, who will graduate on June 1, will train at dozens of university medical centers and hospitals across the nation, including Henry Ford, Cedars-Sinai, UCLA, Yale-New Haven, Dartmouth and the Cleveland Clinic. Numerous students matched in Illinois, to Northwestern, Rush, Loyola, Advocate Health, Stroger/Cook County and universities of Illinois and Chicago.

Dr. James Record, CMS dean, asked students to look inside their envelopes for “a few other things.”

“Your match letters include the location of your residency, but they also offer evidence of factors even more important to your past and future success,” he said. “Relationships built on trust. Hard work on behalf of patients. And personal fulfillment — why we do what we do.”

Chicago Medical School achieved a 97 percent match rate, topping the national rate of 94 percent in what was the largest match in the 66-year history of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), with more than 37,000 applicants submitting program choices for 33,167 positions.

“It’s wonderful to hear the joy in this room from people who have searched for the most competitive residencies in the country,” Dr. Record said. “The quality of this match is just outstanding. We continue to be amazed as the match gets more competitive and our candidates rise to the challenge.”

At least seven CMS student pairs successfully applied for residency through the NRMP “couples” match (under which two applications are considered as a unit) including Natalie Popenko and Ryan Glynn, who learned that they will both train at hospitals in New Orleans — she in pediatrics-emergency medicine at LSU and he in neurosurgery at Tulane.

Landing a couples match in competitive specialties, for which there are fewer available spots, is no small feat. It requires flexibility, strong communication and extreme candor. Applicants are asked to consider this question: “Is matching as a couple a higher priority than matching as an individual into the program of your dreams?”

“There was definitely some compromise,” said Ryan a native of Wilmette, IL, and graduate of Vanderbilt University. ”There’s your application to think about and hers — this tremendously successful person who has graciously allowed, for better or worse, her fate to be tied to yours. You just put your best foot forward and trust in the process.”

Ryan and Natalie, who grew up in Laguna Beach, CA, attended RFU’s biomedical sciences program, both earning master of science degrees in 2013.

“She sat next to me on the first day of the lecture in Rhoades Auditorium,” Ryan recalled. “I rarely missed a class after that.”

“On the very last day, he asked me out,” Natalie said. “He had just been accepted to CMS. We knew we had to work as hard as possible if we wanted to stay together. We relied on each other and together we became the best support system ever.”

“Medical school is a tough road,” Ryan said. “A strong relationship with someone who understands you helps you stay positive, helps you to persevere.”

Natalie, who as president of the student group Outreach for Health, worked to expand treatment of underserved patients, is the recipient of the 2016 CMS Humanitarian Award. Ryan co-founded the ophthalmology clinic at the university Interprofessional Community Clinic for the uninsured and helped conduct research in the university’s Department of Neuroscience.

Other students who achieved a couples match include: Autumn and Daniel Montville, in pediatrics and psychiatry, respectively, at Mayo Clinic; Sergey and Dayle Bondarev, radiology and pediatrics, respectively, at Case Western/Cleveland Medical Center; and Gabriel Arom, otolaryngology; and Valerie Chavez, physical medicine and rehabilitation, at Loma Linda University and UC Irvine, respectively.

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