This year Match Day fell on St. Patrick’s Day, making the celebration especially festive for the School of Medicine’s Class of 2017.
Surrounded by faculty members, family, and friends, the students at Georgetown wore green t-shirts, sparkly stickers, and beaded necklaces as they waited to tear open green envelopes that would reveal their residencies.
Bill Reynolds (C’79, Parent’10,’13), executive director of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, encouraged the future School of Medicine alumni to reach out to the 108,000 alumni worldwide. “Wherever you go, we are Georgetown. Welcome!” he said.
Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, dean for medical education at the School of Medicine, shared general information about where the students matched before leading the final countdown. Internal medicine was the most popular specialty, followed by general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and anesthesiology.
The 2017 Main Residency Match was the largest in history, according to the National Resident Matching Program, the organization responsible for placing applicants in residencies based on applicant and program preferences. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 94 percent of U.S. applicants matched to residency positions, including 78 percent who matched to one of their top three choices. In all, more than 30,000 future doctors learned where they will be completing the next step of their medical training.
From Nepal to New Haven
Dora Dhakal matched with her first choice: the internal medicine department at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. “I didn’t think I was going to get my first choice,” she said. “I thought it was a long shot.”
The program appealed to Dhakal’s interest in global health, which grew out of her experiences as a former refugee. When she was 4 years old, Dhakal and her family fled their home in Bhutan to escape persecution by the government. After living in a refugee camp in Nepal for more than a decade, her family came to the U.S. and settled in Clarkston, Georgia.
Dhakal described Clarkston, home to refugees from more than 40 countries, as “the Ellis Island of the South.” Before starting at Georgetown, she volunteered as a tutor for resettled refugee children and worked on suicide prevention projects focused on refugees. She started her medical education as part of the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) program after graduating from Emory University.
In medical school, Dhakal served as co-president of the International Health Interest Group and planned events that introduced medical students to global health careers. Next week, she will travel to Ecuador for an international rotation to gain experience working as a health care professional abroad.
Ultimately, Dhakal is interested in using her medical training to help refugees and immigrants in the U.S. “That’s the population I am always drawn to,” she said. “I understand the barriers that they face. I think I can have a big impact.”
Georgetown students, faculty, parents, alumni, and friends shared 2017 Match Day moments on social media. Join the Georgetown community online and post your photos and memories on: Instagram @georgetownmedalumni, Twitter @HoyaMedAlumni, and facebook.com/hoyamedalumni.
By Kat Zambon