leadership-NeilsonHarrisonSpring is a season of great excitement and expectation for academic medicine. Annually, on the third Thursday in March, fourth-year medical students across the country tear open envelopes to discover where they have matched for the next three to seven years of residency training. It’s a life-changing moment many Northwestern alumni remember fondly.

For Feinberg students and their mentors, Match Day represents the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Again this year, our students performed exceedingly well: more than 60 percent of Feinberg students matched at hospitals affiliated with top 25 medical schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

This stellar graduating class of medical students was the first to spend all four years in our innovative and redesigned curriculum, first introduced in 2012. Meeting the needs of the ever-changing healthcare landscape, our approach to medical education emphasizes active learning in small groups, early and regular exposure to clinical activities, including our groundbreaking Education-Centered Medical Home clinic, and mentored research activities for all students.

For our academic health system, the opportunity to welcome new residents from across the country invigorates, particularly as Northwestern Medicine expands and offers new postgraduate training opportunities. Through the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, more than 1,100 physicians complete their graduate medical education as residents annually. Of our incoming 2016 residents, 35 percent graduated from a top 25 medical school, and 20 percent are members of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society.

These talented residents will work at Northwestern Memorial Hospital or one of seven other affiliated institutions. The most recent addition to that list is Lake Forest Hospital, in Northwestern Medicine’s North Region, where this year, the first round of residents took part in the North Region’s family residency program. A major benefit of the continued expansion of our academic health system is that we can continue to offer unmatched education and training activities to our students and trainees in a variety of settings.

A strong and diverse residency system is essential to ensuring there are enough physicians available to meet future needs of the population. As our nation faces an increasingly difficult funding environment for physician training, we are advocating to preserve current at-risk residency funding levels and to increase the total number of residency spots nationwide. We are also doing our part to support graduate medical education above the 20-year old federal funding cap on Medicare-funded residency positions. Supporting these unfunded positions comes at enormous cost, but we know the communities we serve depend on the exceptional care provided by our residents.

As an integrated academic health system, outstanding educational and research opportunities abound alongside world-class clinical care provided by Northwestern Medicine’s dedicated physicians, nurses, and staff. It’s no wonder that U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Feinberg 17th in the list of the nation’s best medical schools, and three Northwestern Medicine hospitals were included on the U.S. News list of America’s Best Hospitals.

Whether it’s the brilliant minds in our MD, Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy programs, the hard-working trainees in our residency and fellowship programs or our innovative graduate students pushing the boundaries of science and medicine in our basic science departments, it’s clear Northwestern Medicine continues to be a destination for the future leaders of medicine.

With warm regards,

Eric G. Neilson, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Lewis Landsberg Dean          

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare