Reflections from the Dean

News & Events

UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Not long ago, in a galaxy far, far away—more commonly known as the Joe Crowley Student Union—the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine Class of 2018 celebrated a pivotal moment in the careers of all medical students—Match Day.

You may recall my comments from last year’s Match Day, in which I admitted my pop cultural incompetence in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But I recovered with this year’s Star Wars theme; familiar with the Force, I am! Following my very brief comments and congratulations, our students, their family members and friends were amazed to see that Yoda himself made an appearance to offer his galactic wisdom and congratulations (you had to be there for the full effect!).

Match Day is a national event; all fourth-year students learn where they will spend the next several years of training all at the same time on the same day. The countdown occurs at precisely noon EST, 9 a.m. here in the west. But this year Mother Nature had other plans.

A snowstorm caused a delayed opening for the entire University campus until 10:00 a.m., a full hour of anxious waiting beyond the usual Match reveal time. On top of that, the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) sends emails to all students at 10:00 a.m. PST with their individual match results, irrespective of whatever ceremony may have occurred. Our students chose to forego that option and made a pact as a class to keep their phones off and find out where they matched together in the unique way our UNR Med teams designed specifically for them.

After what must have felt like light-years of waiting, the doors to the Joe Crowley Student Union ballroom finally opened. Students and family members were transported to another world, with faculty and staff members appropriately dressed, photoshopped faces in Star Wars characters and themed snacks including Princess Leia cinnamon buns and Wookiee doughnuts.

But the best part was how the results were revealed: lightsabers and invisible ink. The lights were turned off, the countdown commenced, and students turned on their lightsabers, with black light revealing their Match results. After about three seconds of absolute silence, the room erupted with shrieks, screams, tears and joyful embraces.

Our results were excellent in several ways. Eight students are staying in northern Nevada, and 22 students have matched to residency programs throughout the state (slightly over a third of all students). Having so many students stay in Nevada speaks to the caliber of our programs—including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery—and supports our goal of closing the physician shortage gap.

Our students also found homes in prestigious programs throughout the country such as Stanford University, UCLA Medical Center, Mount Sinai and the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Arizona. We are proud of these students who matched in such outstanding out-of-state programs, and equally hopeful that these bright minds will eventually find their way back to our state.

I am incredibly proud of all our students and want to thank everyone who helped them get here. I am confident they will serve as ambassadors for the School of Medicine, demonstrating the quality of a UNR Med education to our colleagues across the nation.

Based on these results, it is clear that the Force is strong with UNR Med.

Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen, MPA
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.