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Future Physicians Get Their Hospital Assignments On 'Match Day'

By CBS3's Anita Oh and KYW Newsradio's David Madden

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) -- Thousands of medical school students from coast to coast got their future plans handed to them in envelopes on "Match Day," when residencies lasting from three to five years are assigned.

match day
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The anticipation turned into overwhelming emotion for those at medical schools across the Delaware Valley, including 169 medical students at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

"It's the program I dreamed of getting into," said Jason Han, president of Penn's Medical Student Government, who matched into a cardiac surgery residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. "My family came here from Korea when I was 10. I could not think about entering a profession as humbling and as noble as medicine without thinking about the sacrifice that marked my growth."

Han says he dreamed of entering the field of medicine from a young age.

"For this moment to finally arrive, it feels like I've been building the road blocks for years and years and years," he said. "When you open that envelope and you know what your future entails for at least the next eight years, it's a huge sense of relief."

"It's definitely the culmination of four to five years of really hard work so I'm really, really happy right now," said Leah Seifu, a fourth-year student, who will begin a program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The relief and joy were perhaps even greater for fourth-year students Tyler Rainer and Lauren Sinnenberg, who married in September and hoped to land in the same city.

"Our fates were tied together so we're super excited we're going to be at the same city and it's our first choice," Sinnenberg said.

Sinnenberg is headed to Brigham and Women's Hospital for internal medicine, while Rainer is headed to Boston Children's Hospital for pediatrics.

A few of the 260 students at the Drexel College of Medicine had their envelopes opened before the official noon time event. But none read the assignment until their good luck toast and a prompt from school officials.

Most got their first or second choices. Some are moving across the country. Others, like Rachel Snyder of Center City, can take a bus. She's going to Penn to specialize in primary care.

"My husband actually works in Philadelphia and so I'm really happy to stay in the area," she told KYW Newsradio. "My family's from here. Yeah, it's the best possible."

The students have gotten valuable advice from their mentors, and not just addressing medical concerns. Dr. Amy Fuchs, associate dean for student affairs, notes that they will sometimes deal with patients worried about immigration.

"It's important to recognize that some of your patents maybe have concerns and worries and anxieties and we have to recognize that," Fuchs said.

It should be noted that all of these students are, in fact, U.S. citizens.

According to the NRMP, this is the largest "Match Day" on record, with 31,757 residency positions offered. Students nationwide who did not initially match vied for 1,177 open residency positions through the supplemental offer and acceptance program.

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