By Karen Stokes
Each year, the third Friday in March is known as Match Day. Match Day is when the National Resident Matching Program releases results to applicants seeking residency and fellowship training positions.
Morgan Ashley Craft, a fourth-year Medical College of Wisconsin student discovered that she is headed to the obstetrics/gynecology (OB-GYN) program at Kaiser Permanente facility in Oakland, California.
“I think I was first attracted to OB-GYN because I realized you can work with women at the start of puberty all the way to menopause and beyond,” Craft said. “It’s so fascinating all the things a woman’s body can do.”
Residency is usually the next step after medical school. Students in their fourth year begin to apply to residency programs through the Match Program.
“The whole process is, you apply, you spend months interviewing, you rank the programs top to bottom where you want to go and in return the programs that you’re interested in rank you and there’s this algorithm that no one understands that matches you to your program,” Craft said.
The algorithm, however it works, must work well. Craft landed her first choice, relocating to Oakland California.
Craft, a Chicago native is the former co-president of Student National Medical Association, and is active in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee.
She works with students, especially those from underrepresented communities who would be interested in a career in medicine. She is paying it forward.
“I had people who reached back and brought me into the medical field,” Craft said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018, about 13% of the U.S. population was Black, but only 5.4% of physicians were Black. Of those 2.6% were men and 2.8% were women.
“I know a lot of people coming from the background I come from,” Craft said. “Being a young Black woman from the South Side of Chicago we don’t see doctors who look like us or come from the same background unless we actively seek them out, so I just wanted to make sure I did that for others. MCW would hold events like mini medical school day where we worked with high school and undergrad students and show them that the path I went through was obtainable for them as well.”
Craft along with 227 other students across MCW’s three campuses had their matches revealed at ceremonies on Friday.
Only Craft wasn’t in attendance.
The Thursday before Match Day, Craft tested positive for COVID. She had a party planned, decorations and cakes with family and friends but she had to celebrate with them via Zoom.
“People came to my apartment window and dropped off flowers and gifts,” Craft said. “I had to make it my own special occasion.”
Reflecting on her journey, the challenges, the imposter syndrome, questioning if this is what she is supposed to be doing, comparing herself to others, Craft believes it all comes down to the patients that see her and will need her background, her personality and her commitment.
“One time I walked into a young African American woman’s hospital room, she saw me and said, ‘My God, I feel safe now.’ That one moment made me feel that this is where I’m supposed to be, I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing right now,” Craft said. “Hold on to those special moments. My mother used to tell me if being a doctor was easy, everyone would do it.”