Match Day 2024: 98% Success Rate

March 22, 2024


The light rain outside could not dampen the excitement in the Petersen Events Center on the morning of March 15 as graduating University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine students and their friends and families waited to find out where they’ll spend the next years of their lives.

With a countdown and balloon drop marking the moment, Pitt Med students opened the envelopes containing their residency placements at noon on the dot, along with thousands of other medical students across the country as part of the National Resident Matching Program Match Day 2024.

They will soon graduate with medical degrees, and their next step in becoming licensed to practice medicine is to complete training in a specialty during their residency.

In a video address to the students, Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine, said: “You and I started at Pitt Med at the same time in 2020.”

He went on: “You were also the unique class that started their first year during the COVID pandemic. You had to do most of your first year of medical school remotely. You also began at the time of George Floyd’s murder and the social unrest in this country.

He noted that this class was the first to create its own class oath, which emphasized the role of social determinants and health disparities in the country.

“I have the utmost respect for what you have accomplished as medical students, but also what I hope you will accomplish as future leaders of medicine,” he said.

In the months leading up to Match Day, students interview with specialty programs at different institutions. NRMP software uses an algorithm to “match” applicants to open residency slots in the programs. Students learn in advance whether they match but don’t know where until they open their envelopes.

According to the NRMP, this was the largest match in its 70-year history, with a record number of 42,952 applicants who certified a rank order list and 40,375 certified positions.

Pitt Med’s Class of 2024 had exceptional results—according to Alda Maria Gonzaga, professor of medicine and pediatrics and associate dean for student affairs, 98% of this year’s  senior medical students who sought matches were successful. The national rate for MD seniors was 93.7%, the NRMP reported.

The largest group of Pitt students will be going into primary care – 32%. Hospital-based specialties are the second leading category, accounting for 26%, followed by 19% in surgery.

Many of the students will be staying in Pittsburgh, with at least 40 going to UPMC.

Among those is the class president, Savannah Tollefson, who matched for obstetrics and gynecology. She is from Richmond, Virginia, but has spent the last 10 years in Pittsburgh and calls herself an “adopted native.” She said the day represented “the culmination of people’s years of hard work.”

The class treasurer, Panagiotis Gourilas, who matched at UPMC for internal medicine, said he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh because of “the people that I've met within the program, be it residents, faculty, or just people that I really look up to.”

For Diana Mendoza-Cervantes, who attended Match Day with her dog, Niko, the choice to stay in Pittsburgh for her residency in neurology was not only because she loves the city, but also because she found that she could pursue work she’s passionate about here. 

“I want to work with adults with developmental disabilities, and that's not an established track within adult neurology,” she explained. “I spoke about that with a lot of mentors, and Pitt was very welcoming to the idea of me sort of going through this unexplored path.”

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photos by Joshua Franzos