MU med students participate in annual Match Day

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COLUMBIA - It's an annual tradition for medical school students: Match Day.

Every year, students across the country find out where they will continue their training in residency programs.

101 graduating students from the University of Missouri School of Medicine were part of this year's special day.

Students all opened their letters at once, seeing if they got into their desired residency program.

Kelm, a graduating medical student who matched in pediatrics in the University of Kansas' residency program, had been waiting three weeks since ranking residency programs. 

"I was like dying of anticipation," Kelm said. "The minutes were taking so much longer today."

Medicine is a family affair for Kelm. Dr. Shari Graham, Kelm's mother, is a family physician in Minnesota. 

"I'm so proud of her," Graham said. "I never pushed her to go into medicine, but I'm so proud of her that she did."

Once the big moment arrived, Kelm said she felt a rush of excitement.

"I couldn't get my letter open fast enough, I actually thought I was going to rip my letter whenever I opened it because I was ripping it open so quickly," Kelm said. "It was so exciting, I couldn't even handle it." 

According to MU, 99 percent of MU medical school graduates received a residency program match, above the average national match rate of 94 percent. 31 percent of the MU School of Medicine's Class of 2015 will stay in Columbia for their residency training, while 46 percent will remain in the state.

Graduates in primary care specialties like internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine are in demand, according to MU. The university said 49 percent of its 2015 class will go into these fields.

"We have an outstanding family medicine program," Dr. Rachel Brown, Associate Dean for Student Programs at the medical school, said. Brown said MU's family medicine program lessens "some of the perceived barriers" of getting into primary care.

"I think there's a perception that it's easy, that it's not well-paid, that it's not very prestigious," Brown said. "I think that's clearly not the case."

Kelm said she found her calling in pediatrics. 

"I loved the attitudes kids have," Kelm said. "They're so resilient and I think that's so inspiring and I just found my happy place working with children."