UCSF Fresno Celebrates Match Day for Medical Students and Residents

FRESNO – On March 15, medical school graduates in Fresno and across the nation will simultaneously open envelopes that reveal where they will spend the next several years conducting the postgraduate training necessary to practice medicine in the United States. The event is called Match Day and occurs every year in March.

“Match Day is a rite of passage for medical school graduates as they learn where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives living, working and caring for patients and fine tuning the skills necessary to be excellent patient care providers and advocates,” said Michael W. Peterson, MD, associate dean at UCSF Fresno. “This year, we will watch proudly as the UC San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical students who we trained participate in the Match. And at lunch, we will learn the identities of the medical school graduates who will join us later this summer.”

UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program will celebrate Match Day with two events on Friday, March 15, at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research, 155 N. Fresno Street.

  • 8 to 10 a.m., Room 136: Celebration of the conclusion of clinical training for the fifth graduating class of medical students from SJV PRIME as they await their residency notifications. Match Day envelopes will be presented to the medical students promptly at 9 a.m. Fresno City Council member Nelson Esparza will join the celebration.
  • Noon to 1 p.m., Amphitheater (weather permitting): UCSF Fresno program directors will announce the incoming residents and fellows who matched with UCSF Fresno and who will begin their training this coming summer.

“On Match Day, we celebrate the medical students we have trained and the residents and fellows who will begin their training with us in June,” said Lori Weichenthal, MD, assistant dean for graduate medical education at UCSF Fresno. “As a branch campus of UCSF and the largest physician training program between Sacramento and Los Angeles, our focus is on training 21st

Century physician leaders. Our aim is to provide them with training and experiences that inspire them to stay in the San Joaquin Valley to provide high-quality, culturally competent care.”  

Five UC Davis SJV PRIME medical students will be pursuing residency programs this year. The students include:

  • Monique Atwal is from Selma and a graduate of the UCSF Fresno Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy and UCLA. She will be pursuing psychiatry.  
  • Kenneth Job is from Fresno and a graduate of Buchanan High School and UC Davis. He will be pursuing family medicine.
  • Neetu Malhi is from Fresno and a graduate of Central High School’s East Campus and Fresno State. She will be pursuing internal medicine.
  • Stephanie Melchor is from Visalia and a graduate of El Diamante High School and UCLA. She will be pursuing obstetrics and gynecology.
  • Kristine “KC” Ongaigui is from Fresno and a graduate of the UCSF Fresno Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy and Stanford. She also is an alumna of the UCSF Fresno Summer Biomedical Internship Program. She will be pursuing pediatrics.

“An aim of San Joaquin Valley PRIME is to train physicians for our underserved region and to increase the diversity of the physician workforce,” said Kenny Banh, MD, assistant dean for undergraduate medical education at UCSF Fresno. “These graduating students are from the region and have an ultimate interest in practicing medicine in the Valley or working with underserved populations. We are incredibly proud of them and we’re excited to celebrate their future.”  

As part of the Match Day process, medical school graduates typically register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The NRMP utilizes a mathematical algorithm to place applicants into residency and fellowship positions. Medical school graduates then begin residency training, usually in June or July, at the hospital or program where they “matched.” A similar “match” occurs for fellows and sub-specialty training each year in December.

The UCSF Fresno residency programs that participated in the NRMP match received 5,654 applications and conducted 1,092 interviews for 91 positions. UCSF Fresno fellowship programs that took part in the October/December NRMP match received 1,097 applications and conducted 200 interviews for 18 positions. The remaining programs filled available positions through another matching service or through interviews.

UCSF Fresno currently offers residency training in eight medical specialties, one oral and maxillofacial surgery dental residency, fellowship training in 18 medical sub-specialties and three residency programs for physician assistants.

SJV PRIME BACKGROUND: The San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME) represents the sixth program in the University of California’s programs in medical education. The program prepares medical students to be excellent clinicians and patient advocates for underserved communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. The training program is designed to prepare medical students to address the unique health needs of the region’s diverse and underserved populations.  It was established in 2010 as a partnership among the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Merced, UCSF Fresno and the UCSF School of Medicine. The first class of students started in 2011.

Currently, there are 31 students in SJV PRIME, with the majority coming from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. All of the SJV PRIME students call the Valley home. Including this year’s graduating class, SJV PRIME will have graduated five cohorts for a total of 31 graduates who are currently conducting residency training or will be starting residency.

In July 2018, the UCSF School of Medicine received approval from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education to establish UCSF Fresno as a branch medical campus to lead SJV PRIME. Up to six students will start in the fall of 2019, with the goal of admitting 12 SJV PRIME students in 2020. Students enrolled in the program will spend 18 months at UCSF in San Francisco and then move to Fresno for the remainder of their medical school training. Acceptance offer letters are being extended now to students who will represent the incoming cohort and who will start training as part of the new UCSF SJV PRIME in August.