Primary care prevails again at ECU’s physician residency match event

Brody School of Medicine student Jennifer Okpala reacts to finding out that they she will be completing her family medicine residency at Cabarrus Family Medicine in Concord. (ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)

After years of studies, clinics and rounds at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, 75 medical students learned Friday, during the school’s annual Match Day ceremony, where they will be completing their residency training.

In keeping with Brody’s mission to tackle North Carolina’s need for more primary care physicians, especially in rural and underserved areas, nearly 60 percent of the graduates will be entering primary care residencies.

“A lot of what I learned at Brody teaches about leadership qualities and innovative thinking that goes beyond the traditional medical school education,” said Elizabeth Ferruzzi, who matched with the family medicine program at Novant Health in Charlotte. “And because the program I was matched with is new and they want us to be innovators and think in terms of where medicine is heading in the future, Brody really prepared me for that.”

A total of 44 Brody graduates – approximately 59 percent of the class – will be entering primary care residencies. Their primary care fields break down as follows:

  • 15 in family medicine
  • 13 in pediatrics
  • 9 in internal medicine
  • 5 in internal medicine/pediatrics
  • 2 in obstetrics/gynecology

Nearly half the graduates – 47 percent – matched to residency programs in North Carolina. This is up from 36 percent in 2017. Brody only accepts medical student applicants who are North Carolina residents.

“A student who does their medical school training in North Carolina and stays in state to do their residency has a very high likelihood – upwards of 70 percent – of practicing in North Carolina when they finish all of their medical training,” said Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs at Brody.

“When the State of North Carolina is investing in the training of medical students, they’re getting a return on investment at Brody in meeting the health care needs of people living in North Carolina, especially in rural and underserved areas,” Baxley added.

Approximately 15 percent of the graduates will remain at Vidant Medical Center, Brody’s affiliated teaching hospital, for their residency training.

A small group of students were matched to the same residency program at Cabarrus Family Medicine in Concord.

“It’s a huge relief that a support system is going to be already built in and we already know how to work together as a team, so we can kind of just continue the learning process side-by-side and carry on the Brody tradition,” said Taylor Sandberg, one of the students matched with the family medicine program at Cabarrus. “And I’m from North Carolina, I’m training here and to ultimately practice in North Carolina is the biggest blessing I can ask for.”

Before they can independently provide direct patient care, U.S. medical school graduates must complete a three- to seven-year residency program accredited in a recognized medical specialty. The National Resident Matching Program places applicants for postgraduate medical training positions into the various residency programs at teaching hospitals across the nation. Thousands of graduating medical students nationwide learned their destinations today.

The 2018 Main Residency Match was the largest in NRMP history, as 37,103 applicants submitted program choices for 33,167 positions.

For more information on the National Resident Matching Program visit:


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Contact: Amy A. Ellis, director, health sciences communication,

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