Children's Hospital Media and Press Relations
Department of Pediatrics Newsletter Archive
Romances, residencies revealed at Match Day
By Carole Bartoo
March 17, 2011

School of Medicine students Meredith Albin and John Eicken embrace at Match Day after finding out they are headed to Boston together for their residencies. (photo by Susan Urmy)
When fourth-year medical students at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine opened their Match Day envelopes to discover where they will pursue residency training, 20 percent of the class of 2011 already knew with whom they would spend it.

That's because 22 of 94 students in the fourth-year class participated in a “couples match” for residency.

The number of couples made for a special celebration on Thursday, March 17, in 208 Light Hall. An added bonus: a visit from Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, who attended dressed in a white coat because, he said, since medical students had all the fun at Match Day, he wanted to be a doctor too.

The matching began promptly at 11 a.m., synchronized with medical programs all over the country. Scott Rodgers, M.D., associate dean for Medical Student Affairs, randomly selected envelopes to call each student to the front to find out, and announce, where they would spend residency.

The couples matches meant the students and their significant others entered the computerized national residency matching system with their names “linked” to be placed in a hospital or city together. Rodgers said this is an unprecedented number of pairings for one class.

“They are a very friendly class, very easy to work with. They have been through a lot together. Clearly they remain very cohesive,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers said the class of 2011 is special. They were the first to experience the new curriculum with a greater emphasis on experiential learning. They were also the first class to experience the advisory colleges with an eye on wellness, fun and support for hard-working students.

These School of Medicine students participated in a ‘couples’ match for residencies. (photo by Steve Green) (photo by Susan Urmy)
Some of the 11 couples are engaged and others are already married.

Fourth-year student Lara Hershcovitch said that by the second year it was obvious how many students had found love, her included.

“It was weird, but we all relate really well. Charles (Phillips) and I started as good friends, but it's one of the easiest relationships I have had because there is that understanding. We know to never to ask the question, 'are you done with work yet?'”

“The admissions office did a great job selecting compatible people,” fiancé Phillips said with a smile.

After announcing their match at Vanderbilt, they each picked up Rodgers and spun him around before the audience. Enthusiastic displays like that one were the rule of the day. One group broke out into song, complete with guitars and three-part harmony. Another performed a little skit before announcing a match.

Suzi Bryce and David Johnson matched together at Vanderbilt. They plan to marry at the end of April. Planning a Nashville wedding while preparing to graduate from medical school and pack for residency may seem like a lot, but these couples insist it works out well. Bryce even did a little side research on couples matching.

“I sent a survey around to the couples in our class with some multiple choice questions, and I thought it was interesting that the vast majority said that their rank list would be pretty dramatically different than if they weren't couples matching. I am running an information session for third-year students about couples matching because specialty advisors don't have a lot of advice for this,” Bryce said.

Meredith Albin and John Eicken ended up being the final match of the day. The two are well known, serving in student government for their class. As the final students to open their envelopes, they were entitled to the traditional fish bowl filled with the cash that each student placed there before receiving their envelopes.

“Part of the reason we decided to come here was because of the curriculum changes,” Albin said. “We saw the experiential learning as an improvement even though we knew we would be the first to test it. Vanderbilt has been a great place to learn, and they are terrific about emphasizing a life outside medical school.”

Rodgers said that sort of thinking is one of the best things about the Class of 2011, and shows how flexible and accommodating this class is. “All in all it looks like everyone was very happy,” Rodgers said.

To view an archived video of Match Day, go to

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