West Virginia University School of Medicine’s class of 2016 learned where they will continue training at the Match Day celebration Friday, March 18, on all three medical school campus locations in MorgantownCharleston and Martinsburg.

Ninety-one students in the class of 2016 matched coast to coast in 20 different states training in 17 different specialties. A third of the class will continue training in West Virginia after graduation, many at training sites affiliated with WVU. They join more than 4,700 WVU School of Medicine alumni practicing or living around the world.

Nearly half the class, 47 percent, will train in internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, or obstetrics/gynecology, fields that typically represent primary care. The most popular fields this year were the specialties of pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine. Some selected training opportunities are not offered anywhere in West Virginia, such as neurodevelopmental disabilities.

“We have seen more students choosing to stay in the state or nearby for the start of their residency training, despite being heavily recruited by programs all over the country,”Norman Ferrari, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of the WVU Department of Medical Education. “Research has shown that resident-physicians tend to establish their practices close to where they train. One third of our graduating medical students will begin their residency training in West Virginia this July.”

This particular class set a school record with the highest mean score on the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 2CK test, which is required for graduation and licensure.

“It is gratifying that so many WVU students decided to pursue training in areas of medicine that directly deliver care to patients,” Clay Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences, said. “Improving the health of our citizens and communities is our mission, and with these talented and bright young doctors dedicating themselves to caring for patients, the future status of American medicine is much brighter.”

The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) couples prospective applicants with residency programs. Each applicant makes a list ranking the residency program in their order of desirability. The residency programs do the same with the applicants, and theNRMP matches them up. More than 18,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors, a 10 percent increase since 2012, and 17,000 other applicants vied for over 30,000 positions at 4,800 residency programs across the United States.

Residency training typically takes three to five years. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of experienced physicians before being certified in a specialty.

WVU has the largest number of graduate medical education offerings in the state, with more than 50 specialty training programs, all of which are fully accredited. One-half of the training programs are the only such specialty programs offered in the entire state.

Residency training begins at WVU in July for more than 100 new residents from medical schools across the country.

The School of Medicine’s commencement ceremonies will be held on Sunday, May 15 at the Morgantown Event Center at Waterfront Place.