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Matchmaker, Matchmaker

03/23/18

Peter Beah strode nervously out of the Connelly Auditorium at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, a sealed white envelope clutched in his hand. Inside was either the answer to his prayers or a really big disappointment. His aunt lovingly wrapped him in a colorful Afrocentric fabric as he tore at the envelope and unfolded the paper inside. He broke into a smile, threw his hands in the air and yelled: “UCLA!”

His aunt exclaimed: “God is good!” His family cheered and cried. Peter’s prayers had been answered.

Peter was one of 244 students at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College to eagerly open envelopes on March 16—Match Day, when they would find out where they would be spending the next three to four years of their lives as residents.

Out of the 253 SKMC students in the class of 2018, nine did not take part in the National Resident Matching Program (The Match); five of them learned earlier in the week that they were accepted to serve their country in a military program, and four others either sought deferment or decided not to participate. Fifty-one students matched to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital or one of its affiliates.

All of the students had a story to tell: the married couple from Maryland who matched together in their home state; the student hoping to match in Philadelphia to stay near her fiancée, himself a third-year medical student at SKMC; the young woman inspired to go into medicine by a desire to address women’s issues; and the mother whose pastor husband was willing to follow his wife wherever the road may lead.

“We’re hoping to go to Colorado,” said Annie Ferris before receiving her envelope. Shifting the weight of two-year-old Penelope in her arms, she explained that she and her husband, Josh, a Lutheran pastor, welcomed “Penny” into the family during the third year of medical school. Annie then took a year off. While juggling motherhood and school was difficult, she said, “It made me a better doctor and a better human being—I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” She opened her envelope to learn she matched in the neurology department of her second choice—University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center—which made her very happy.

“Every SKMC class exemplifies the very best of the future of medicine,” said Joseph Majdan, MD, FACP, who has been teaching medicine at SCMC for 38 years. “In these students we see what four years of hard work and dedication looks like... the names and faces may change, but the devotion and emotion never do.”