Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Match Day is a pivotal, momentous occasion, and one that deserves to be marked with grand, joyful commemorations for our students and those who have supported them. The COVID-19 pandemic once again made it impossible to hold such a celebration in person; however, our fourth-year students and their friends, families and mentors gathered on Friday to virtually mark this special day.

The Class of 2021 performed exceptionally well in this year’s match. Overall, 94.1% of our graduating students matched into a PGY-1 position prior to the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), close to the national average of 94.8%. After SOAP, more than 99% of our students matched into a PGY-1 position. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to all of you.

COVID-19 also presented unique challenges and opportunities for our VCU Health residency programs. Recruiting was wholly virtual this year. Program directors and program coordinators rose to the occasion and managed the logistical and technical challenges with aplomb. Ninety-nine percent of positions offered through the main match were filled and, of those, 24% were from the VCU School of Medicine. Incoming residents represent 62 different U.S. and 10 international medical schools.

Our success, given this unique year, in attracting such diverse and high-quality residents to VCU reflects much thoughtful preplanning by each department as well as the engagement of residents and faculty in this year’s virtual recruitment process. The availability of contemporary and compelling videos and print materials regarding each program was another important contributor to the success of each department’s residency recruitment.

Our remarkable M4s and our incoming residents deserve to be acknowledged for all they have achieved throughout their medical education endeavors, especially as they were forced to adapt to a worldwide pandemic and the effects of social distancing. The pandemic has provided invaluable lessons and remarkable clinical and human experiences that will stay with them throughout their lives and careers. This surely will be a generation of great doctors as a result.

Being a physician is more than a job – it's a calling. We have chosen this complex, demanding, rewarding field because something deep within ourselves calls us to contribute to the greater good, to be a part of something larger than ourselves. The past 12 months have shown us that we are all working to achieve things that are much bigger than our individual ambitions, and it is our responsibility to lead by example.

We are confident that the Class of 2021 will contribute to their chosen fields with the poise, curiosity, compassion and resilience that have made them the exceptional and promising medical students they have been for the past four years. I hope each of them feels celebrated, appreciated and supported as they prepare for the next step of their careers.

With sincere congratulations and gratitude,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System

Christopher M. Woleben, M.D.
Interim Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs
Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics

Brian M. Aboff, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Medical Education
Professor, Internal Medicine