Sandra Coker triplicate, COVID-19
UTHealth McGovern Medical School student Sandra Coker opens her Match Day email and discovers she was paired with her first choice: An emergency medicine residency at The University of Chicago. Match Day 2020 gatherings were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic's social distancing directives.

Match Day 2020 virtually perfect for TMC medical students headed to residencies

With COVID-19 canceling ceremonies, celebrations went online via social media and connected by hashtags

Match Day 2020 virtually perfect for TMC medical students headed to residencies

3 Minute Read

One of the most exciting days in the lives of medical students, a time usually full of hugs and smiles, rolled out behind computer screens and cameras over the internet this year.

Match Day, when fourth-year medical students find out which residency programs they will be attending, went virtual on Friday for the Class of 2020 thanks to social distancing mandates during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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There were no ceremonies. Congregating in large groups for hopefuls at TMC medical schools—The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)‘s McGovern Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMBHealth)‘s School of Medicine —was not an option for 2020.

Usually, Match Day includes grand celebratory gatherings on the lawns of the medical schools. This was Match Day 2019 in the TMC:

But this year, there were virtual unveilings as students opened their emails alone or online or with friends and relatives at house parties. This big day happened via hashtags including #MatchDay2020, #Match2020, #VirtualMatchDay, #McGovernMatch2020, #MatchBCM and #UTMBMatch2020—tweet by tweet, post by post.

Baylor College of Medicine fourth-year student Hannah Abrams—@HannahRAbrams on Twitter—matched to Massachusetts General in Boston, her first choice, for a residency in internal medicine.

The 26-year-old convened what became a quirky Zoom teleconference for her relatives and friends. Abrams is the second person from the left in the top row and her father, in the third rectangle, read the email from his home in Austin, Texas, to announce her match.

“It was kind of funny and special and a distraction from my nerves leading up to the moment,” Abrams said. “It’s been quite a day. … I keep checking my email. I’m not sure I quite believe it. You envision this moment so many times, but you just don’t think it would be like this.”

Sandra Coker, a fourth-year student at UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School, matched to her first choice: An emergency medicine residency at The University of Chicago. She dressed up at home—hair and makeup—amid party favors, food, drinks, friends and relatives. Her father was on the phone via WhatsApp from Nigeria. More than 100 people watched as she streamed live on Instagram from her profile as the founder of Black Girl White Coat, a Houston-based mentoring and motivation movement for aspiring health professionals.

McGovern Class of 2020 President Luke Kennedy posted a brief video.

“I’m really disappointed that we can’t be together celebrating,” he told his classmates. He matched to Baylor College of Medicine in internal medicine. “Let this pandemic be a lesson to all of us on how important the practice of medicine is.”

Happy Match Day, Class of 2020!

Happy Match Day, Class of 2020! Here's a video message from your Class President, Luke Kennedy.#McGovernMatch2020 #Match2020 #MatchDay2020 #VirtualMatch #SocialDistancing #FlattenTheCurve #Congratulations #Celebrate #MDLoading #GoodNews #GoodThingsToCome #MedicalStudents #MedicalSchool #Doctors #Leaders #Residency #AWordFromYourPresident #McGovernFam #McGovernWellness

Posted by McGovern Wellness on Friday, March 20, 2020


Baylor College of Medicine leaders also uploaded a video with words of wisdom.

“You guys get the joy of having a unique experience,” said Paul Klotman, M.D., president and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine. “Now you get to have a Match Day in the middle of a global pandemic. … It’s not ideal, but it’s what we have to do considering we’re in the health professions. It’s kind of amazing. You will never forget this experience. You are entering the health professional world just at the time the world needs health professionals.”

The Baylor College of Medicine Momentum blog celebrated Match Day and posted a note from Class of 2020 President Andrew Jensen.

Get virtual look at #Match2020 with speeches from today's big event. #MatchBCM

Posted by Baylor College of Medicine on Friday, March 20, 2020

From Galveston, Charles Mouton, M.D., M.S., MBA—UTMB’s provost, executive vice president and dean of medicine—also posted a congratulatory video.

“You will have an opportunity to go off and to do new and wonderful things in places all over this country,” he told the UTMB Class of 2020. “Thrills will abound as you move forward.”

#UTMBMatch2020 #Match2020 #UTMB Congratulations!

Posted by Majka Woods on Friday, March 20, 2020

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