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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEWORLEANS - At the exact same time, at every medical school in the country, graduating seniors got an envelope announcing where they will spend the next five years of their lives training in an internship and residency program.

On Friday, graduates from LSU Medical School and Tulane Medical School each gathered at locations near the Morial Convention Center with their families to see if they got their first choices for the hospital and specialty they want to train in.

Amidst cheers from all the medical students, faculty doctors called out each student name by name.

One senior opened his envelope in front of our cameras, and saw he was going to Oregon.

'That was my first choice. I got my first choice for everything. So I've got to go talk to my family,' he said running off in excitement.

At the LSU Medical School match, 108 out of 171 graduating seniors will stay in Louisiana to get their residency training. LSU doctors say the promise of a new teaching hospital is critical.

'It's just like a carpenter. You need a hammer and a nails to build a house. I need a first class hospital so these students can train and become the doctors that are going to take care of you and me,' said Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of the LSU Medical School.

And those graduates staying keep rising since Hurricane Katrina.

What's so important about the match is the doctors who end up doing their residency in the New Orleans area usually end up staying here to practice and that helps to train the next generation providing the state with the doctors for the future.

Over at the Tulane Medical School match, 35 of 177 students are staying in the area . Doctors there said, like LSU, other students leaving the state are going to prestigious programs at a time when the competition is tough.

'We need more doctors. And actually there is a national shortage, but the government is not increasing the number of graduate medical education spots and they've been fixed since 1997 and yet the classes and more medical schools are coming on line, ' said Dr. Benjamin Sachs, Dean of the Tulane School of Medicine.

He says this is especially troubling at a time when the baby boomer population is aging and will need more doctors.

The events were full of cheering and celebrating with friends and family.

The new doctors start their training here and across the country on July 1.

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