On Friday, March 18, the Health Sciences Learning Center was abuzz with energy as soon-to-graduate UW School of Medicine and Public Health medical students learned where they were matched for clinical residency training programs.

Students chose the 1990s television show “Friends” as a theme for the festivities. The show’s focus on camaraderie reflected their experiences as they forged relationships throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which shaped much of the class of 2022’s medical school journey.

This year’s Match Day celebration was a hybrid event, incorporating an in-person component for the first time since 2019. Students held “The One Where We Matched” signs for photos and attendees viewed videos of comedic skits that parodied iconic moments from the show.

Medical students on Match Day
Energy was high at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health on Match Day 2022. This year, 170 students matched into a wide variety of specialties, from family medicine and pediatrics to otolaryngology and psychiatry. Todd Brown/Media Solutions

In her opening remarks, Gwenevere C. McIntosh, MD, MPH, associate dean for students, compared the national residency match process to the National Football League draft.

“Like medical students, football players work incredibly hard to achieve a singular goal of being chosen to join a team,” she told the crowd. “This is just like the residency interview process that takes place October through February. The names our students announce today are the teams that drafted them. It is a wild process, and we will see it unfold today. Class of 2022, you are all first-round picks in my book!”

This year, 170 students matched into a wide variety of specialties and will fan out across 31 states after graduation. Almost 40% of matching students are going into primary care fields: family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Nearly 12% of students matched into psychiatry this year, which has become an increasingly popular specialty as the COVID-19 pandemic focuses societal attention on the importance of mental health.

Sofia Haile hugs her family
Sofia Haile embraces her family at the ceremony after she announces that she matched into family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Todd Brown/Media Solutions

Dean Robert N. Golden, MD, told students to look forward to residency and to savor their remaining time with classmates and mentors.

“This is a joyful time to look forward to the future, and my advice is to also take advantage of your final training opportunities here as well,” he said. “Your relationships with your classmates will be important to your future. Be sure to spend time with your class before you head off to residency. Congratulations to each of you, and we are so proud.”

Student planner Elizabeth Maginot surrounded by family during match celebration

Elizabeth Maginot was one of the student planners who helped turn the selected theme into a successful event. She matched into general surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Her mother, brother, and aunt — who is a pediatric cardiologist at the school and UW Health and a mentor to her — joined in to celebrate.

Elizabeth Maginot speaks from a podium
Surrounded by her brother, mother, and aunt, who is also a physician, Elizabeth Maginot matched into general surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Students stood on a stage set like the coffee shop from “Friends” to announce their matches. Todd Brown/Media Solutions

“It was really great to see everything come together for the event,” Maginot says. “There was personal excitement about my own match but then excitement for my classmates, who are my friends, to experience an incredible Match Day with a fun theme. There were so many emotions.”

Trevor Cooper continues path to becoming a rural physician

Trevor Cooper, an Ixonia, Wisconsin native and first-generation college student, will travel to Asheville, North Carolina to train in obstetrics and gynecology. His residency training will take place at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, part of a health system focused on rural health and underserved populations in North Carolina. Cooper hopes to work with rural communities throughout his career.

“I have always enjoyed the rural environment and caring for the people there and I have a passion for women’s health and reproductive justice,” he says. “Being a part of the school’s Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) really showed me the impact of these disparities and inspired me to pursue these interests.” 

Oliva Rater’s journey through motherhood shaped interest in child psychiatry

Many students, like Olivia Rater, had other careers before pursuing medical school. But Rater’s previous role as a writer on the hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” is a particularly unique collision of two worlds — storytelling and medicine. During medical school she added a third world: mother of two.

“Being a mom has taught me so much about reprioritizing and has helped me come into my own,” she explains. “So much about medicine is triage, thinking through what I need to do now and what can wait. Motherhood was the best possible preparation you could ask for. It has changed how I interact with patients. And the community I found of other moms in medical school was invaluable.”

Inspired by her father, who is a psychiatrist, Rater is pursuing psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. She wants to continue training in child psychiatry and in medical school has performed outreach and research with the Boys and Girls Club and in child psychiatry and juvenile justice. Rater’s mother is Puerto Rican and she feels a connection to the Latinx community, and has used her Spanish speaking skills at a children’s clinic that serves many Latinx families. 

Joe Archer’s heritage inspires passion about caring for Indigenous communities

Joe Archer (Meherrin Nation) was born in North Carolina and grew up in Ohio in a predominately white community. It wasn’t until his undergraduate and medical school years that he became more engaged with Indigenous communities. He credits the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) with much of his success in medical school.

As part of the school’s Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health track, he worked with the Southeast Oneida Tribal Services office on how to create smoke-free policies that respect the traditional significance of tobacco. He also completed a medical school rotation at the Gerald Ignace Indian Health Center in Milwaukee. Archer matched into family medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and hopes to continue working with urban Native communities.

Joe Archer and his wife
Joe Archer (Meherrin Nation) matched into family medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. He and his wife, who he couples matched with, will travel to Chicago after graduation. At the event, matching students placed a pin on a map at their match location. Todd Brown/Media Solutions

“Native Americans do not have a homogenous culture and they all have different ways of doing things,” he says. “But NACHP did a phenomenal job of facilitating relationships and helping me make connections with Indigenous communities in my life and work.”

Richard Lee’s commitment to service leads to military match

Richard Lee felt drawn to a life of service following his upbringing in South Korea, where a period of military service is required of all healthy men. During his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University, he came to Wisconsin to work with the Hmong community. Lee fell in love with the state, and returned to Madison for medical school.

He decided to pursue the Health Professions Scholarship Program offered by the Air Force. Through the military match, he will be on active duty, training in general surgery at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. Lee says it has been a unique experience during his military rotations to enter the base in his uniform as part of a hierarchy, and then change into scrubs, where his job is to treat every patient without regard to their rank.

Richard Lee holds a sign
Richard Lee matched virtually in the hybrid ceremony in order to be with his family in person. Through the military match, he will begin active duty as he starts his residency in general surgery at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. Todd Brown/Media Solutions

“It’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to serve in the military in some capacity,” he said. “And this gave me the opportunity to do that and also pursue medicine. Getting matched is a relief in that I know where I will going but also it’s a lot of responsibility. In just a couple of months I will be a resident making major health decisions for patients.”