Futures Sealed In Envelopes

Match Day pairs School of Medicine students like Jasleen Ghuman with residencies

Jasleen Ghuman opened the white envelope in her hands, took a quick peek at the single-page message inside and screamed with joy. It had been more than a decade-long journey to get to this point.

Her dream was to become a doctor. Living in India, the family finances weren’t available for her to attend medical school, so she earned a nursing degree instead. When the family moved 10 years ago to the United States, she began to support herself working at a nursing home. She later worked as a certified nursing assistant at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle before taking a chance and moving to Kansas City to attend years of medical school clinicals and classrooms.

Her dream took a big step toward reality on Match Day, Friday, March 17, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, known for its innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program. That’s when she learned that she will be headed to Northwestern University in Chicago this summer to begin a residency in internal medicine after graduating in May.

“It’s my No. 1 choice,” Ghuman said. “I got it. I’m very, very pleased and surprised. I never thought I’d go this far. You have those moments when you aim really high and then you start to question your choice. And then it happens. I’m so excited.”

She wasn’t alone. Nearly 100 students in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2017 participated in this year’s National Residency Matching Program. Before receiving their match letters from the education team coordinators, they received an encouraging buildup from Dean Steven L. Kanter.

“I know what you have had to do to get to this day, and how hard you have had to work,” Kanter said. “You’ve done a magnificent job. I know how great a job you’ve done because I get to see the results just a little bit before you do, and I can tell you this is the best match this school has ever had.”

Notable residency programs UMKC students matched into are Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education-Rochester, Stanford, Harvard, Brown, Duke, Emory and Northwestern — where Ghuman is attending.

Nearly 40 percent of this year’s class matched to a primary-care specialty. Internal medicine had the largest number of UMKC student matches with 21, followed by pediatrics with 10 and family medicine with six. Twenty-three students will remain in Missouri for their residencies, 13 of them in the Kansas City area, including nine who matched to UMKC residencies and three who will stay in Kansas City for pediatrics at Children’s Mercy.

As a crowd around her celebrated, a friend held up Ghuman’s cell phone. Her mother was on the other end, watching by Skype back home in Seattle. Half a country apart, the two celebrated together for a few moments.

“It’s been a long, exciting journey,” Ghuman said. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family.”

View the 2017 UMKC School of Medicine Match Day results and photo album

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