St. Patrick's Day Offers Medical Students' Match

March 17, 2005

Contact:  Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell; Rachel Miller, 272-3748


Fourth-year medical students at The University of New Mexico hope to find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow this Thursday, March 17, 2005. Known as "Match day," students will reach into a pot of gold that will reveal their placing for their residency training. The celebration will take place at 11 a.m. at Kelly's on Central Avenue. 

At exactly 11 a.m. MST thousands of medical students from across the country will simultaneously learn of where their residency and medical careers will begin. The match has a huge impact on students' lives, from where they will be located to what specialty they can pursue.

Residency is the second phase of medical education, requiring an additional three to seven years of training, depending on the medical specialty.  During their residency experience, physicians receive in-depth training in a specialty area, such as family or emergency medicine. Residency programs enable the transition from student to physician.

The UNM School of Medicine has a unique program that tailors to hands-on experience outside the traditional classroom. Through the implementation of the Problem-Based Learning Methodology medical students have the opportunity to study and diagnose actual medical cases. This allows students to learn the basics of medical procedures and prepare them for the practical medical skills needed in their residencies.

The Match is determined by the National Resident Matching Program, which coordinates the matching of medical students with residency programs.  Both senior medical students and residency programs must complete a residency application and interview process. Once completed students rank their top residency preferences and the residency programs rank the students. 

The Match is then determined by a computer algorithm-based program to make the best matches.  According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 85 percent of students receive one of their top three choices and 65 percent receive their top choice.

The UNM School of Medicine has seen many changes take place since the first medical school class entered in 1964. Currently 28 percent of SOM residents are "home grown" and stay in New Mexico.  In addition, 25 percent of SOM students are chosen by the top five residency programs in the country. The 2004 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools issue ranked the UNM School of Medicine's rural medicine training program second in the country and primary care program 12th in the United States. For more information visit

Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-3322

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