A medical student holds a National Resident Matching Program letter at a past UVM Larner College of Medicine Match Day event.
The Class of 2022’s medical school journey turned upside-down in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a stay-at-home order, a pivot to remote learning, and put their clinical training on hold. After two years of virtual events, the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine celebrated these resilient senior medical students at an in-person Match Day event on March 18 in the UVM Davis Center’s Grand Maple Ballroom. (Link to the Class of 2022 residency match list.)
Match Day – celebrated on the same day at medical schools across the country – marks a critical moment in the lives of soon-to-be M.D. recipients; it’s the day when they learn where they’ll spend the next three to seven years for specialty training. Orchestrated by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the Match relies on a computerized mathematical algorithm that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors, in order to produce the best possible outcome for filling training positions at U.S. teaching hospitals.
UVM’s traditional in-person event – set aside in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions – features a faculty physician bagpiper leading the senior class into the venue, mascot “Dr. Moo,” a crowd of supporters, cheers, tears, smiles and balloons. There is even a Match Day theme (floral this year) selected by each graduating class.
For Meriden, N.H., native Kalin Gregory-Davis, Match Day represents a major step toward her goal of becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist. Born at home, she studied midwifery and practiced as a licensed birth doula prior to starting medical school. That work helped her realize that, “I wanted to be able to provide for patients across the entire spectrum of pregnancy … and in the location – home, hospital, birth center, or clinic – that felt best for their bodies and lives,” she says. During medical school, she completed a Schweitzer Fellowship project with a Vermont Law School student that involved collecting Vermonters’ reproductive health stories in support of Proposition 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment to the Vermont constitution. She also spent a year embedded in a Central Vermont Medical Center-affiliated primary care practice, and had the opportunity to follow a patient through her entire pregnancy, birth, and post-partum period. “The experience deeply shaped how I understand intersections of healthcare, social work, home health, and mental health support during reproductive experiences,” she explains. Kalin announced her Match to a residency at Brown University/Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island accompanied by her girlfriend, sister, and brother.
Class of 2022 medical student Prasanna Kumar had his significant other, Neha – also a graduating medical student, but at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey – at his side when they both announce their couples match. The pair met through a chemistry course as undergraduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For Prasanna, who was raised in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Atlanta, Ga., a ninth grade sports medicine course sparked his interest in medical school and caring for patients. His interest grew in college when he volunteered with patients and families affected by developmental disorders. Both he and Neha have developed a passion for global health. In college, Neha studied in Chile and interacted with health care professionals, and through the Larner College of Medicine’s Global Health Program, Prasanna spent six weeks in the Dominican Republic. “[This] allowed me to understand and learn about another country’s healthcare system,” Prasanna says, adding that he also benefited from working with migrant farmworkers in rural Vermont as part of a team providing vaccinations and basic primary care. Neha has worked at Rutgers’ student-run Promise Clinic, which serves Spanish-speaking and uninsured patients, and with other communities in need. Prasanna and Neha will be doing residencies in emergency medicine and internal medicine, respectively, at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital.
San Francisco, Calif.-area native Malla Keefe set her sights on a medical career after work experiences in clinic with patients with chronic pain, in clinical research, and as a scribe at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. “I got to witness the unique intimacy of the patient-provider relationship and realized that was something special that I wanted to be a part of,” she says. Malla found her one-year-long clerkship at Hudson Headwaters Health Network in Glens Falls, N.Y. (a former clinical training site for Larner), to be the most influential experience of her medical school journey. “The long-term relationships with patients and preceptors, the practice environment, and the community are what led me to choose to pursue practicing rural family medicine,” she says. Malla and her partner, Jordan Munger, a UVM undergrad alum, native of Stow, Mass., who is also a member of the Larner Class of 2022, matched to family medicine and psychiatry residencies, respectively, in Boise, Idaho.
Several UVM Larner College of Medicine students, including those in the military, learned of their residency match locations through early matches outside of the NRMP. Members of the Class of 2022 will receive their medical degrees on May 22, 2022.