Match Day Ruminations

The director of the Osler Medical Residency recalls how the annual event shaped his career and reiterates his commitment to equity.

Sanjay Desai at a Harvard phone booth, informing his parents that he matched at Johns Hopkins.

Published in Aequanimitas - Aequanimitas Spring 2021

On March 19, we celebrated Match Day — the day medical students around the world find out where they will spend the next several years training in residency programs. And, of course, it’s the day we in the Osler Medical Residency welcome the newest group of interns. This year, we maintained our success in recruiting a diverse, talented class, with 60% women, 22% members of groups underrepresented in medicine) and 6% international interns.

It’s such an interesting experience. As I reflect on my own Match Day, almost 25 years ago at Harvard, although I knew it was a big day, I didn’t anticipate just how transformative it would prove to be. Joining Johns Hopkins’ program was a dream come true for me. I remember being inspired by the residents and by Dr. David Hellmann, the director of the medical residency program at the time. The match changed my life in some of the most meaningful ways — personally and professionally.

Ultimately, the match is about people. It reminds me that the profound impact this program has had on me is not because of the buildings, rotations or call schedules. Rather, it is because of the many people I have been and continue to be privileged to learn from: faculty members, nurses, members of the support staff, co-residents and, most of all, our patients.

This year’s recruitment process was turned upside down because of the pandemic. Yet, the match succeeded because we focused on our people. Using a creative combination of virtual outreach and receptions spread through the season, we ensured that our applicants were still able to get to know the people behind the program they would join. Ultimately, it is our residents who made the difference — even with the pandemic’s constraints — so that our applicants would know why residents feel this experience is magical.

There is a national debate about whether the match process is the best approach, given that it’s so resource intensive for applicants and programs. Some leaders propose using an early-decision model —similar to the one that colleges use — and keeping the process virtual, to reduce costs. I look forward to contributing to this discussion and, for applicants, I will advocate outcomes that ultimately promote applicant equity and opportunities to really get to know the people in the programs. In that sense, I believe the Osler Medical Residency will always thrive.

Beyond the Dome

Two Osler trainees who embraced digital medicine share their experiences in high-level careers at Google and Amazon advancing health care technology.

A graphic represents digital health and health technology.

Class Notes: Match Day List

Find out which medical students across the country matched into the Osler Residency Program — its first-ever group recruited using an all-virtual format.

A photo shows Osose Oboh.

Five Years Strong, Pathways Program Nurtures Osler Residents’ Interests

Five years since its debut, Pathways provides structured opportunities and mentorship in specialized areas of interest, including physician scientist, patient safety/quality improvement, global health, and medical education.

A graphic represents the pathways program..