Time-honored ritual meets online technology at USF Match Day 2011

Medical School Matching Ceremony Connects Global Community to Students
One Envelope Releases Medical Students’ Residency Program Offer and Plans their Future

TAMPA, Fla. (March 17, 2011) – Social media channels have transformed emotional Match Day festivities at University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine into a global event that extends into virtual online worlds via avatar.

Each March, graduating medical students at the College gather at a roadhouse bar for a tearful ritual: the public opening of an envelope that tells them where they will spend the next three to 11 years of their lives.

The same ritual is repeated in some fashion on the same day – Match Day – at medical schools across the country. It’s the day when students find out where they have “matched” to do their graduate medical education, or residency, and it can be a pivotal point in determining the future direction of a young doctor’s career.

But at the USF Health College of Medicine, Match Day 2011 will have a special twist.  Medical students’ family members and friends will be able to share the emotion of the moment – even if they can’t be there in Tampa for the March 17 ceremony starting at noon ET.  That’s because the USF Health College of Medicine will harness several digital channels to broadcast the Match Day event online, including on Facebook, the virtual world of Second Life and Twitter.

USF Health College of Medicine last year became one of the first medical schools in the country to livestream Match Day. Doing so changed the event. Family members watched from as far away as India and Dubai. They were able to send congratulatory messages online to the students. And many students, as they came on stage to open their envelope, first recognized their loved ones watching from far away.

“We’re delighted that we can help our students share this turning point in their lives and future careers,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health. “It’s also a meaningful way to show them how using technology creatively can lead us in new directions.”

USF Health is known both for its innovative use of technology and its concern for its students’ emotional well-being, founded upon a belief that students who develop their emotional intelligence skills become better doctors. By livestreaming Match Day, USF Health blends both strengths.

WHAT:  USF Health College of Medicine Match Day 2011
WHEN:  Thursday, March 17, 2011 at Noon ET
WHERE:  Skippers’ Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, Fla. 33613 … and on computers around the world!

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:  Graduating medical students and family members, both those present at the event and those in distant cities who witness Match Day events online; Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health

ALSO AVAILABLE: Video from Match Day 2010 is archived here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/5537327

Facebook: USF Health-University of South Florida (Ustream)
Second Life:
Twitter: @usfhealth

More information about Match Day from the American Association of Medical Colleges is available here:  https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/2010/95414/100318.html

                                                                                             – USF Health –

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School Physical of Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group.  With more than $394.1 million in research grants and contracts in FY2009/2010, the University of South Florida is a high impact global research university.

Media contact:
Lisa Greene, USF Health Communications
(813) 974-4312, or lgreene@health.usf.edu