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Soon-to-be M.D.'s gather together to meet their matches

For the members of the DMS Class of '03, four years of classes and exams boiled down to one day, one moment, one white envelope. The day was Match Day, March 20, 2003, and the moment shortly before noon. Excited '03s gathered with their families, friends, and faculty members inside DHMC's Auditorium G, waiting to receive life-defining white envelopes containing word of the hospitals where they would train as residents.

By 11:55 a.m., the room resonated with the anxious chatter and laughter of students, babies in strollers, and well-wishers carrying balloons and bouquets of flowers.

The emotions of Match Day ranged from 1 tension (for Michael Bartholomew, as he got his envelope from Susan Harper) to 2 quiet satisfaction (for David Gibbons and his family), to 3 jubilation (for Todd Barr), to 4 congratulations (for Vanessa Vidal and Leslianne Yen), to 5 indulgence, in a cake decorated with the DMS seal and the name of every '03.
Photographs by Patrick Saine

"It's wild. It's hard to believe we're here. The last few days have been very busy—lots of presentations and finishing up classes," said Todd Barr, a fourthyear student who worked as a flight attendant for U.S. Airways for 10 years before enrolling at DMS. He had applied to residency programs in psychiatry all over the country, listing DHMC as his first choice. "I own a house in the Upper Valley," he said, "and would like to stay in the community."

Eager: The students were eager to open their envelopes, ready to accept whatever word was inside. "I just want to have it over with," said Paige Wickner. "I don't mind so much where I go." She had applied to general internal medicine programs in the Northeast, to stay close to her family. "Brought the cell phone with me," she added, so she could share the news right away.

At 12:00 noon, a loud whistle caught everyone's attention as Assistant Dean Susan Harper, M.D., and Acting Dean Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., arrived with the tall stack of envelopes. Dmitrovsky opened the ceremony by congratulating the '03s and praising their hard work. Then without further ado he announced, to cheers and applause, "Let's get on with it!" Harper, envelopes in hand, told the students, "You will be very pleased with the results."

Thrilled: As each name was read, to bursts of applause and raucous comments, the students approached Harper to get their envelopes—and a handshake or a hug. Some waited until the ceremony was over to open their envelopes, but others, like Todd Barr, could not contain their excitement. Barr pulled out his letter right away, paused a moment, then shouted "Dartmouth!" as he waved it above his head. "I opened the envelope," he explained afterwards, "and it took a long time to see the fine print, and then—wow, there it was! I feel like I've won the Academy Award." Paige Wickner was thrilled, too, by her acceptance at Brown.

Three pairs of '03s—including Steven Xanthopoulos and Amy Vinther—entered the Match as a couple. They were among 575 participants nationwide in the couples portion of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), a new record.

"It was nerve-racking having no idea going in where we would be going," Xanthopoulos said. But both were elated by their acceptance, after a preliminary year, into programs at UCLA—he in anesthesiology and she in emergency medicine.

Of the 60 DMS '03s, 55 participated in the NRMP; three entered military programs; one will do residency at a hospital in Canada; and one obtained an early Match. Almost half are entering primary care specialties— internal medicine (15 students), pediatrics (8), or family medicine (4). The graduates will travel to 18 different states, though almost half are headed for California (10 students), Massachusetts (9), or New York (8). The DMS and Brown-Dartmouth graduates' residency assignments are listed in the adjacent box.

Crucial: It was a crucial day for the directors of DHMC's residency programs as well, for it is on Match Day that they find out who will join their ranks. (The incoming residents are listed on page 9.) According to H. Worth Parker, M.D., director of graduate medical education, all programs were very pleased with this year's results. All but one filled their positions completely in the Match, and that one has since filled its remaining position. Internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics, and general surgery did especially well.

"It will be a hard year to top," said Parker. "All programs have expressed strong enthusiasm for their results and the new training year."

Matthew C. Wiencke

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