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On March 15, medical students across the country celebrated Match Day as they learned where they will spend their residency training as they continue in their physician journey. Locally, all 79 students in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University Class of 2024 matched, including 14 who will stay in eastern North Carolina to continue their training at ECU Health Medical Center.

Dr. Jason Higginson, chief health officer of ECU Health and executive dean at Brody, said the match statistics of this class reflect Brody’s commitment to leading the way in training primary care providers for the state, as more than half of the medical students matched in North Carolina and 43 of the 78 matched into primary care residencies.

“We have a 100% match rate, well above the national rate, which is also a testament to our faculty and staff,” Higginson said. “About 50% of our graduates are staying in North Carolina, which is our primary mission, and about 20% are staying locally. They are great kids. It’s one of our best classes ever.”

Nolan Davis, who matched at ECU Health Medical Center, poses for a photo with his family during Match Day 2024.
Nolan Davis, who matched at ECU Health Medical Center, poses for a photo with his family during Match Day 2024.

William Taylor matched with ECU Health’s Family Medicine Residency. Taylor is also an ECU alumnus in both undergraduate and soon-to-be medical school. He said growing up in a smaller town made him connect with the needs of eastern North Carolina.

“It has grown a lot now, but when I was growing up, Garner didn’t have as many resources as a big city like Raleigh, and I wanted to impact people in small communities like where I grew up,” said Taylor. “Greenville is my second home, and I want to learn to treat people in North Carolina and eastern North Carolina and make an impact on this area.”

Taylor is excited to continue in Greenville and complete his residency in family medicine and continue to build relationships with patients across the region.

“I want to do family medicine because it gets you closest to the patient where you can build those relationships and interactions over long periods of time and make a real impact on patients and their lives and their families,” said Taylor.

Growing up in eastern North Carolina made the Match Day moment of opening their envelopes even more exciting for a couple of ECU Health matches from Brody.

Nolan Davis is from Duplin County and has fond memories growing up in a small town being close to his family. His mother, Bernice, said Davis made a poster in the second grade that showed he wanted to attend Brody and become a doctor in eastern North Carolina. Davis is one step closer to that goal after matching with his number one choice, internal medicine – pediatrics at ECU Health.

“Eastern North Carolina is a wonderful region, and it’s underserved,” said Davis. “My family lives here, good people live here that all deserve high-quality health care, and Brody is good at getting us to do that. I have seen how hard it is to get a doctor in a small town, and I want to be part of the solution. I was born and raised in eastern North Carolina, and I plan to practice here after residency.”

Marsha Hairr is from Sampson County and matched to ECU Health’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency program.

She said her personal experience with physical therapy growing up drove her interest in that area of medicine and her upbringing makes it a joy to serve the region.

“I grew up in a very small town and rural area,” Hairr said. “Even though Greenville and ECU Health is a bit bigger than where I grew up, it still has a rural vibe. It feels like home and I feel so honored that I can continue my training here and meet the mission of fellow eastern North Carolinians.”

For Julia Horiates, who matched into ECU Health’s Emergency Medicine Residency program, the opportunity to continue serving eastern North Carolina in the fast-paced world of the Emergency Department was a dream come true.

She spent most of her childhood in eastern North Carolina and has worked and volunteered as an EMS in Pitt and Greene counties for about 10 years. As a 2017 graduate from ECU and an upcoming Brody graduate, Horiates is proud to be a “triple Pirate.”

Marsha Hairr, who matched to ECU Health’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency program, celebrates during Match Day 2024.
Marsha Hairr, center, who matched to ECU Health’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency program, celebrates during Match Day 2024.

“I’ve hit the trifecta now, undergrad, medical school and residency,” Horiates said. “Giving back to a rural community and being involved here still is so special to me. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to stay. I’ve been able to see how much this community has grown and how much of an impact ECU and ECU Health have had on this community. Being able to be a part of this, and a physician in this community is so important to me.”

Keeping bright minds in eastern North Carolina has long been a priority for ECU Health CEO and Brody Dean Dr. Michael Waldrum. He said a Brody education uniquely prepares future physicians to provide high-quality rural health care, and the training they receive can have an immense impact across the rural region ECU Health serves.

Dr. Waldrum said he’s not surprised that so many Brody graduates find their calling in eastern North Carolina.

“I like to think that all physicians share a common passion for wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of the people they serve,” said Dr. Waldrum. “Brody students get to spend four years here in eastern North Carolina learning about medicine, connecting with our community and experiencing first-hand the immense impact they can have on rural populations. We’re proud to know that many of our Brody students go on to make a difference in communities across the country, but we’re especially proud when we get to see it happen right here in eastern North Carolina at ECU Health.”

Learn more about Match Day for the Class of 2024 here.