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Front-facing view of the stage and audience at Match Day 2023

Opening the Envelope and Taking the Next Step

On Match Day, graduating medical students learned where they matched for their residencies and met the news with joy and tears of relief.

Written by Rachel Sauer on March 17, 2023

They are going to Pittsburgh and Providence, to Omaha and Oakland, to Santa Barbara and St. Louis. They will learn to be doctors at Travis Air Force Base, at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, at the Mayo Clinic.

Some will stay in Colorado, and many more will fan out across the United States. They are going places.

This morning, members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine class of 2023 learned where they matched for their residencies. A longtime medical school tradition, Match Day is not only a celebration of the preceding four years’ hard work, but a commencement of the next chapter in the journey to becoming a doctor.

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“This is an inflection point in your careers,” John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, dean of the CU School of Medicine, told the assembled students anxiously awaiting their matches. “Although there will be many more, the fact that I still remember mine 42 years later says something. Where you train, where you do your residency, has an important impact on how you practice medicine the rest of your career.”

“Although there will be many more, the fact that I still remember mine 42 years later says something. Where you train, where you do your residency, has an important impact on how you practice medicine the rest of your career.”

Opening the envelope

At 10 a.m. on the dot, more than a hundred eager index fingers slid beneath the flaps of white envelopes, the last half-second of anticipation before the tri-folded paper inside told them where they’ll spend the next three to seven years.

For Brissa Mundo-Santacruz, reading what was on that paper brought a wash of relief. She matched at Swedish Medical Center in Denver, her first choice, for her family medicine residency. Her husband, William Mundo, MD, is completing his first year of residency at Denver Health, “and he told me this morning that he already knew I would match at Swedish,” Mundo-Santacruz said. “But that’s what I told him last year about Denver Health.”

Jin Huang, who grew up in Colorado, matched in family medicine at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey and mentioned her excitement to experience a different part of the country “and be so close to New York City!” Her friend, Tram Cao, whom she met during freshman year at UCLA and who flew in from California for Match Day, even made her a “Family Medicine, Match Day 2023” shirt for the occasion.

Jeremy Ansah-Twum, who also grew up in Colorado, beamed over his match in orthopedic surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. He chose orthopedic surgery because “I like being able to be in the operating room and then go down to the ER,” he said. “It’s a field where you can see an intervention making patients almost immediately better.”

Taking the next step

While not every student matched at their first-choice residency, and there might even have been some disappointment when matches were revealed, “all you can do is move forward from today,” said Jeffrey SooHoo, MD, assistant dean of admissions in the CU School of Medicine. “There’s opportunity everywhere, and at the end of the day, this is something that happened in your life that is a part of your journey.”

Brian Dwinnell, MD, associate dean of student life, highlighted the mixed feelings of Match Day – excitement, sorrow, anxiety, trepidation – and said that no matter where the students match, their residencies will be a success if they complete them “as competent and compassionate physicians. There’s nobody that’s more prepared for residency than a graduate from this school.”

As the chosen student speaker at the Match Day ceremony, Nikolai Harroun reflected not only on his internal medicine match at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, but on his classmates’ matches.

“I commend you for taking the leap of choosing your specialty,” Harroun said. “You are ready to step into the world of opportunity contained in your envelope. This time has prepared you for that step, and now you know where to take it.”


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