Resident Doctors Reflect on Significance of ‘Match Day’
Mar 15, 2024
Sutter Health
Physician residents smile during meeting in conference room

By Debbie Ritenour and Liz Madison, Vitals contributors

“It’s a match” can be a powerful statement, particularly in medicine. The phrase can spark feelings of elation whether talking about finding the right organ donor or discovering the precise DNA sequence needed to personalize treatment. It also carries special significance for new doctors on Match Day, an annual rite of passage each March. On this day, doctors are paired with residency programs to start training for the next leg of their career — and potentially influence the future of medicine.

Dr. Megan Reddy remembers waking up with butterflies in her stomach on Match Day in 2021. She was hoping to return home to California for her residency. She was ecstatic when she learned she was accepted into the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Southeastern Asian woman with long dark hair, blue cardigan sweater and cream-colored blouse smiles for camera

Dr. Megan Reddy

“I shed a few happy tears,” said Dr. Reddy, who attended Albany Medical College in upstate New York. “You work so hard, and it’s exciting to see your efforts come to fruition.”

The program’s appeal extended beyond its location. Dr. Reddy was drawn to the people she met as well. She saw possibility and opportunity at every turn while going through the application process.

“I knew from my very first interactions while interviewing that CPMC would provide both a supportive training environment and an exceptional education as a quaternary medical care center,” Dr. Reddy says. “I also noticed how many residents stayed on to become faculty and grow with the program. That definitely made Sutter stand out.”

Sutter Health will welcome 137 medical doctors into residency and fellowship programs for the 2024 academic year — filling 100% of its programs’ openings throughout the organization. It smashes its previous record number of 86 resident physicians from the year before. Sutter Health continues to develop and implement new graduate medical education programs and is on pace to become the largest community-based healthcare training institution in Northern California, said Sylvie Umuhoza, senior director of academic affairs at Sutter Health. The goal is to expand the program’s footprint to train and graduate approximately 1,000 residents and fellows by 2030.

Sutter’s growing graduate medical education programs will help fill the pipeline with more physicians to help address ongoing shortages in the field, which in turn helps broaden access to care for more patients. Residents and fellows at Sutter train in specialty programs including internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, surgery, family medicine, psychiatry, cardiology, hematology/oncology, gastroenterology, neurocritical care, pulmonary and critical care, transplant nephrology and more. And through their program training and experiences, Sutter hopes these physicians will stay in the area and continue to reflect the diversity of patients they serve in Northern California — one of the most ethnically, racially and socioeconomically diverse regions in the United States.

“New physicians are initially intrigued by the merits of our program and the attractiveness of living in California,” said Umuhoza. “Upon acceptance and as they move through the program, these physicians grow through mentorship and the unique experiences they have serving patients from all walks of life. It is a dynamic pathway toward what can be a rewarding and fulfilling career.”

Southeastern Asian woman with long dark hair and a red blouse smiles while standing in front of greenery background.

Dr. Shreya Chandrashekhar

Dr. Shreya Chandrashekhar especially appreciates the full-spectrum nature of her program. The third-year resident was matched with the Sutter Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Davis, Calif., when she was about to graduate from the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Mesa, Ariz., in 2021.

“I don’t think I got to fully process it until the weekend after,” she said of her Match Day experience. “Once I did, I realized I couldn’t be happier. I got exactly what I wanted. And being here now, I just feel so grateful.”

Dr. Chandrashekhar said her experience has been invaluable. She’s learned a variety of procedures while interacting with a diverse patient population.

“I had such wide interests, and I really wanted a program where I could explore all those interests and figure out what kind of doctor I wanted to be,” she says.

To the delight of the program and those she’s worked alongside, she officially made her choice. She will join Sutter Medical Group as a family medicine physician remaining in Davis.

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