As the Class of 2016 approaches Match Day on March 18, there is a palpable energy on campus with soon to be graduates getting more excited and nervous with each passing day. Match Day is the day that all medical students across the nation learn where they will spend the next several years as residents — the next critical hurdle in their lifelong journey as a physician.

Reflecting on this important day for our graduates, all should take a moment to enjoy what we collectively have accomplished in the 10 short years we have been a four-year campus:

  • We have matched 100 percent of our students every year. We are extraordinarily proud of where our students have matched by specialty and institution.
  • We have placed 50 percent of our graduates in primary care disciplines — a major need for Arizona.
  • Around 50 percent of our students have placed into sought-after Arizona residency programs, reflecting one of the primary goals of our medical school, to address Arizona’s shortage of medical professionals and ensure the foundation for excellence in health care for all Arizonans.
  • We are equally proud that we have placed students in prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth.
  • Our students have placed in some of the most competitive disciplines, including radiation oncology, orthopaedic surgery, ENT surgery and dermatology.

These successes are a wonderful reflection on our students, but also on our exceptional faculty and staff. The achievements validate the superb distributed teaching model we value, allowing our students to learn in an enriched, diverse environment.

We feel very fortunate that our students and faculty are able to learn and teach in the Health Sciences Education Building (featuring the Center for Simulation and Innovation), an educational facility that is nationally recognized as an exemplar for training health care students.

Dynamic programs, like Rural Health and Global Health, offer our students unbridled exposure to medicine that reaches far beyond Phoenix, ensuring we train a subset of the next generation of physicians to deliver excellent care in rural Arizona, as well as worldwide.

The interprofessional Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) community initiative, in partnership with Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, is just one of many examples that distinguish this medical school from others. SHOW is a service learning program that brings together more than 150 students and faculty mentors from the three state universities to provide free health care and health education for individuals experiencing homelessness.

It is with immense pride that we reflect on our school’s more than 200 graduates to date, all of whom have completed their four-year Scholarly Projects. Transitioning from medical students now to practicing physicians, they have embraced their role as lifelong learners, many of whom will continue to drive discovery and improvements in medicine, advancing the vast fields of medicine to improve health and health care for all.

As our next graduating class awaits their placement on Match Day, I trust that after all of the excitement abates, our students will reflect on the immense effort and caring so many have shared to mentor them to this moment early in their career. We are very fortunate that these students placed their trust in our College to facilitate their growth into exceptionally trained, newly minted physicians. I also would share that I believe these students are equally fortunate to have been at a medical school that is so passionate about their education and well-being, both as students, but also as young adults and our future leaders.

Class of 2016, we are excited to see where Match Day takes you and to celebrate your day and success with you. In addition and on behalf of our alumni and the Class of 2016, I extend heartfelt respect and genuine appreciation to all of our phenomenal faculty, staff and community partners. Because of all of you, our medical school is something very special.

Warmest regards,

Stuart D. Flynn, MD
Dean, UA College of Medicine - Phoenix