Update at 3:15 p.m. on March 20, 2020
There was a 100 percent match rate, Berk said in an interview with The Daily Toreador. Fifty percent of students matched into a primary care field, family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics.
"We're pleased with that because that's much higher than the average medical school with respect to producing primary care physicians," he said. "We're also proud of the fact that 50 percent of the students are staying somewhere in Texas to do their residency program. Eighteen percent of them are staying right here in Texas Tech in one of our residency programs."
Regardless, students matched with institutions across the country, Berk said.
"Also, as many have stayed with us, so many have gone on to some of the top places in the country also," he said.
Declan Kirk, a fourth-year Tech HSC medical student from Prosper, said he was matched with the ophthalmology program at the Tech HSC.
"It was my number one program, so I'm very thankful, privileged to be able to serve the Lubbock community here," he said.
Regarding the virtual Match Day, Kirk said a lot of work must have went into making accommodations for students to take part in the event.
"I really appreciated it and enjoyed the opportunity they provided," he said, "whereas other medical schools, I think, just provided the list of where people matched."
Matt Heinrich, a fourth-year School of Medicine student from Amarillo, said matching with Mayo Clinic was a dream come true.
"I think given how quickly things changed, how fast we had to react to the news, I think the school really did a fantastic job to put together a really nice video right before we received our matches."
Match Day can be a prominent event in the life of a medical student finishing their education. Even though the risk of COVID-19 has caused multiple event cancellations, the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center provided the Match Day experience in a different way.
Match Day is an event where fourth-year medical students across the nation open a letter at 11 a.m. CST revealing what medical institution they will serve in for their residency.
As a way to give medical students the opportunity to take part in this event with COVID-19 continuing to spread across the nation, the Tech HSC School of Medicine hosted a virtual Match Day that consisted of opening an email with residency information.
Students who opened their email at 11 a.m. got the chance to post their outcomes on the Tech HSC School of Medicine Facebook page. On the Facebook page, people can view a video of Tech HSC School of Medicine Dean Steven Berk, Tech HSC Permian Basin Regional Dean Gary Ventolini, Covenant Branch Assistant Vice Dean Brian Pomeroy and Tech HSC Amarillo Regional Dean Richard Jordan congratulating students.
Berk, in a virtual interview provided by the Tech HSC Office of Communications and Marketing, said they tried to bring students from all Tech HSC campuses together for the virtual Match Day. About 20 to 25 percent of the students taking part in Match Day will do their residency at the Tech HSC.
"This isn't how we wanted to do the match, and we tried in so many ways" he said in a video on the Tech HSC School of Medicine Facebook page. "We're as disappointed as you all are. But this is our virtual Match, and we are happy to celebrate with you today."
Graduates from the school will be working in institutions across West Texas along with institutions in other parts of the nation, Berk said in the virtual interview.
"I think it's important for the community to know that we're graduating 170 new physicians, and that most of those physicians will practice in West Texas," he said in the virtual interview, "and especially in this time of importance of appreciating our physicians during this pandemic."
Months ago, students applied to residency programs and ranked the programs in which they applied, according to a Tech HSC news release. The National Resident Matching Program selected the final match.
During Match Day, which is celebrated by 141 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, students from Tech HSC campuses, the Lubbock Covenant Branch and Lubbock University Medical Center will be matched to residencies at the Tech HSC, Vanderbilt University, Mayo Clinic, Duke University and more, according to the news release.
"So, this is a very special time where, at the same time, we're celebrating the success of our students," Berk said in the virtual interview. "We're also clearly recognizing the tremendous sacrifice and professional commitment that medical students make to this profession, which actually can be very challenging and dangerous to them."