Dean’s Reflections: Match Day results reveal new opportunities to learn and do good

News & Events

Dr. Schwenk standing on campus infront of the block N logo sign in his white coat.


At a time when we are experiencing so much disruption and buffeted by chilly economic winds, it is reassuring to recognize the enduring value of medical education.

At the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, we recently celebrated the results of the match process that pairs soon-to-be medical school graduates with the next phase of their medical education – residency training.

The results were released Friday, March 19 – known nationwide as Match Day – and they were spectacular, particularly so in the face of huge pandemic-caused disruptions in the process, which understandably caused great anxiety for our fourth-year students.

The Class of 2021's entire career as medical students has been characterized by dramatic changes, as UNR Med transitioned from a statewide medical school to a fully northern Nevada-based medical school, a "new" medical school with a 50-year history that required new clerkships taught by new community and full-time faculty members, the creation of new clinical departments in surgery and obstetrics and gynecology, and new hospital affiliations.

And then came the pandemic. Clerkships stopped for several months. Classroom teaching became virtual. Students were restricted from exploring residency programs through elective rotations. And in-person residency interviews were prohibited.

While every class of medical students is faced with challenges, this set some sort of record. And students were certain their careers were ruined.

But they were wrong.

By any measure, our students performed as well or better in the Match as any previous class – receiving top choices in highly competitive programs here in Nevada and at prestigious institutions across the country. (You can see the deidentified Match results for yourself)

On Match Day 2021 – one year, one week and one day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic – I believe the advice I give to every class every year is even more true:

"Match results, on the one hand, have everything to do with your future career. The places you'll go – as Dr. Seuss said – and things you will see will be entirely determined by where you match. Where you train has so much to do with what happens next, and next, and next. When most of us track the decision points in our careers backwards, they always lead to where we trained.

"On the other hand, where you match has absolutely nothing to do with your future career, because every path you might take is full of possibilities – all different, all amazing. It all depends on you, how you take advantage of those opportunities, how you raise your hand when volunteers are requested, and how you find the mentors and advisors who will help you find your way through the amazing maze of a medical career."

I have no doubt that the Class of 2021 is going to be extraordinarily successful. Their success will be measured by the patients they will help, the communities they will serve, and the ways medicine and science will be made better by their contributions – a reflection of the many ways an outstanding medical school benefits northern Nevada and contributes to a Healthy Nevada.

In just a few short months, this group of soon-to-be physicians will start the residency programs with which they matched, entering the next phase of their training at a time of enormous disruption in the health care system, disruption that has challenged residents who are among the most front line of all the frontline heroes in the pandemic story.

But challenges are just opportunities in disguise. In the next few years, they will learn more, work harder, sleep less and help their patients more than they can possibly imagine. While it won't be easy, the opportunities to learn, and to do good, and to do both at the same time, are just beyond comprehension.

I wish the Class of 2021 the very best.

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.

Released: Monday March 22, 2021 @ 4:00 PM