Jovanna Figueroa poses in front of the Match Day map
Jovanna Figueroa poses in front of the Match Day map

From Uncertainty to Elation, the Class of 2024 Matches

Thomas Kelly
Thomas Kelly
Jovanna Figueroa poses in front of the Match Day map
Jovanna Figueroa poses in front of the Match Day map
Despite entering medical school during a global pandemic, the Class of 2024 persevered, matching into prestigious programs across the country

When the Class of 2024 entered medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, they did so with an unclear vision of how their four years would unfold.

Varun Sharma proudly displays his Match Day letter
Varun Sharma proudly displays his Match Day letter

The COVID-19 pandemic upended the first year of their studies, forcing most of their learning to be conducted virtually and even postponing their White Coat Ceremony more than a year. Ultimately, though, they endured and prospered.

That perseverance paid off Friday, March 15, at their Match Day. Surrounded by family and friends at the Arizona Science Center, the Class of 2024 soaked in the joyous moment, eagerly ripping open custom award-style envelopes to reveal where the next step in their medical journey would take them.

Stephanie Briney, DO, associate dean of Student Affairs, spoke to their resilience and power of spirit. “This class walked in virtually and didn’t let change or uncertainty hold them back from their aspirations and commitment to medicine,” she said. “The Class of 2024 are fighters, in the best possible way, and they will make excellent future physicians in their chosen specialties.”

And they matched into exceptional programs — such as UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, UCLA Medical Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, Walter Reed Medical Center, Yale and USC. They excelled in securing positions in competitive specialties — including dermatology, psychiatry, diagnostic radiology, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and more.

As they prepared to announce where they would be headed for residency, an overwhelming sense of happiness swept the room. It was soon to be accompanied by raucous cheers and applause as they shared their matches with the crowd.

Maxine Yang joyously hugs a fellow medical student during Match Day
Maxine Yang joyously hugs a fellow medical student during Match Day

Their jubilation was well earned, and in his remarks, Dean Fred Wondisford, MD, MS, MBA, took time to remind them to soak it all in. “There are moments in life that you never forget — when you meet the love of your life, when, or if, you have children,” he said. “I guarantee you: This Match Day will become one of those moments. So, take a breath. Savor the moment.”

The more than 90 medical students from the college were among 50,413 applicants from around the country who registered in the 2024 Main Residency Match. That number was a record high — 2,257 more than last year, a 4.7% increase. U.S. allopathic seniors, osteopathic students, Canadian students, U.S. citizens who studied abroad to obtain their education, as well as non-U.S. citizens vying for residency slots in the U.S. comprised the impressive total.

As the pool of applicants has grown, so have the residency openings they vie for. The additional residency positions afforded applicants access to 125 more programs and 1,128 positions, 2.8% more than the 2023 Main Residency Match.

Lily Sandblom revels in the moment after announcing her match
Lily Sandblom revels in the moment after announcing her match

The UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix is a central part of that Graduate Medical Education growth, expanding three of its existing programs in 2024. By 2027, 16 new programs will be launched in specialties including anesthesiology, dermatology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and otolaryngology, among others.

This ensures more of the college’s students will stay in-state to serve Arizonans, and it will also attract more outstanding physicians from around the country to help provide health care to the state’s growing population.

The culmination of a complex, year-long process, the Match is about finding the right fit. Future physicians seek the specialty, residency program and mentors who will help them complete their professional training. Residency programs search for talented physicians who will advance the specialty and improve patient outcomes.

Match results are released nationally by the National Resident Matching Program™ and announced at Match Day ceremonies coordinated to occur each year on the same date (the third Friday in March) at the same time.

Photos and Video

Class of 2024 Fast Facts

  • Thirty-six students will complete at least one year of training in Arizona.
  • Thirty-three students will complete all years of their residency training in Arizona.
  • Of the students staying in Arizona for some, or all, of their training:
    • Twenty matched at UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
    • Three matched at UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson.
    • Eight matched at Creighton University-affiliated hospitals.
    • Four matched at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education.
    • One matched at another training site in the state.
  • The other students will be spread out across the U.S., spanning 23 states in total.
  • Almost 32% of the graduates are entering primary care specialties — areas of immense need — including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and Med-Peds.

Class of 2024 Match Day Profiles

About the College

Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated more than 800 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,700 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Bioscience Core, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.