Medical Corps

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by MC4, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. MC4

    MC4 New Member

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    I am looking to join the medical corps after college and was wondering if it is possible to recieve a doctarate of medicine from west point
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, West Point is not a graduate institution. There is a pathway to medical school, but it is not at West Point.
     
  3. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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    Each year there are a few...no more than 13...that are able to attend a medical school, where they are accepted/selected by the Army, after graduating West Point:thumb:

    Desires to go to medical school has zero to do with an application/selection for admission to West Point.
     
  4. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Good to "see" you, Scoutpilot. Hope you're back for awhile.
     
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    as MullenLE posted, up to 2% of the graduating class can attend Medical School. Or after few years in the military, a military officer can apply for the Uniformed Health Service Univeristy (?, not sure about the name, but this is the military medical school in DC) or after graduating, 5 year service committement, go to medical school. I know several of my classmates went to Medical school after 5 years of service. More than likely, their West Point degree help them getting into medical school.

    The question one should ask is why West Point than stright to a medical school (other than free college education, being a military doctor for a long time, not being a regular soldier. I mean no disrespect to military doctors. Simply, what they do is different from 99% of what most soldiers do). Does West Point education, with no military experience as going from West Point to medical school than going out the Army as a medical corps officer, provide added value to the Army and tax payers?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  6. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    My father was a career Army doctor (33+ years of Army service in the Medical Corps, after being prior-enlisted during the Korean war). He definitely would disagree with you about not being a "regular soldier." He is Army green to the core.

    I don't think you can compare how Hollywood or the evening news depicts the military with what is reality. In reality, there are Finance Corps officers, Adjutant General Corps officers, Public Affairs Officers, etc. who are not crawling around in the mud like I used to do as an Infantry officer. They are every bit a "regular soldier" as any other officer. And the Army needs them.
     
  7. sprog

    sprog Member

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    You mean it's unwise to use Captains Pierce and McIntyre as the models for the Army Medical Corps?
     
  8. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Hahaha. :) My father tells me that there were a TON of CPTs Pierce and McIntyre running around Vietnam!
     
  9. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    I agree. :thumb:

    The real question is if you want to be a medical officer you must realize how difficult it is to get a slot and be willing to work in another branch should you not get the slot.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    If you want to be a doctor; don't go to West Point.
    If you want to be an Army doctor; consider going to West Point.
    If you go to West Point with the intention of applying to medical school, fully understand you will be a physician in the army for a long long time.

    Here are some links from the definitive source - the West Point website:
    http://www.dean.usma.edu/departments/Chem/Courses/MedicalSchoolOption.htm

    http://www.dean.usma.edu/departments/Chem/Courses/MedicalSchoolQuestions.htm

    West Point is very supportive to cadet with the desire and aptitude for medical school. You will get mentoring support in the chemistry department as well as opportunities available for shadowing. There is a lot of support and guidance along the way.
     
  11. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    "If you want to be a doctor; don't go to West Point."

    I don't think that is correct. Although I'm not a physician, my father was and used to always tell me that if you want to be the best surgeon in the world, there simply is no better surgical training than in a combat zone (he was active in many, many combat zones). The surgeon who operated on Congresswoman Giffords, for example, is a military doctor and credits his skills to his military service. I think he graduated from the DOD medical school.

    I think there is an unfortunate misconception here that doctors are all about easy street and country clubs. Not so. Most physicians are more interested in being the best physician they can be and healing the sick. West Point supports this and, indeed, has one of the best life science departments around.

    One final thing. I looked at the average GPAs for USMA cadets entering med school. It seems to hover around 3.5 or 3.6. At most other civilian schools, the GPAs are 3.8. I would say the odds are better at USMA than other schools of getting into med school.

    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with attending one of the best academic institutions in the country, serving your country honorably, and becoming a physician out of that environment. I think anyone who goes through med school through USMA is definitely not looking for the easy route. That is PRECISELY the type of individual worthy of being a member of the Long Gray Line.
     
  12. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    patentesq, its not an insult to the people that want to go to med school after West Point or Army doctors in general. Through my dad (medical corps), I've got to meet his commanders, and they honestly are some of the most impressive people that I've met (many of whom are doctors) of the servicemembers I've had the privellage of meeting. I don't think there's any of them that I would consider being "all about easy street and country clubs." Many of these people deploy and see the brutality of war through the people they serve (both our people, natives, and others).

    When they say "If you want to be a doctor, don't go to West Point" its more in relation to the fact that like any assignment for after graduation, you will be competing with your classmates for your top choice. I believe someone said it was like 2% are allowed to go on to med school after graduation (something like 12 cadets) out of the entire class (1200+ people). The odds are slim when you look at it that way. While its an admirable goal, if a person is heart set on becoming an Army doctor, there are more sure routes that they will be able to go to med school. Otherwise, they better be very content with their backup plan if they don't get into that 2% that is able to go. After all, its the needs of the Army that dictate what anyone gets to do after graduation. You can go in thinking that you will be one of those people, but you have to realize the people that attend West Point are just as bright if not brighter then you and will not make it easy for you at all. If it doesn't happen immediately after graduation, you always have a shot later in service time as well but you have to be willing to wait until that opportunity arises.

    There are also other factors that play into this. One would be that unless you validate a class, you are still required to take all the core cirriculum classes which are very heavy in math and science/engineering that will take time away from studying classes that are more concentrated towards biology/classes that will make you competitive and give you the background for med school.

    On a side note, I would be interested to know if that GPA for the cadets was theirs based on solely academic or on all parts that are counted towards the cumulative GPA (military, physical, academic I believe are the three parts). USMA is not know for weighting classes like some universities which partially explains the dip in grades that plebes tend to see that they may not be used to. That being said, a West Point diploma by many people I've talked to that graduated West Point can be useful in opening doors to higher education that with a similar GPA at another university wouldn't have been so easy to achieve.
     
  13. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Wow, Casey. Thank you so much for that very thoughtful post. You raise some very good points.

    I am really getting a second education here learning about how things operate. I know that many colleges, like USMA, restrict the number of people they support for medical school, just so they can advertise that their med school admission rate is high. I don't think USMA's motivation is the same, but the effect of the 2% limit is similar. The fact remains that competition for med school is excruciatingly tough.

    If there are any USMA pre-med cadets out there following this thread, my DS would love to meet you when he visits USMA in the spring.
     
  14. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Absolutely there is a positive gain in this route. I'm definitely not advocating for an expansion of the limitations on the number of people going medical corps, and I agree with JustAMom's post above in regards to when to consider any Service Academy if your ultimate goal is doctor and nothing else.

    In the end Service Academy Graduates who go on to medical school tend to stay on active duty longer (vast majority will stay until retirement), they have a better sense of what the line units do, have a better understanding of military decorum and how things work, and ultimately act as mentors to those physicians who come in with little to no military background. Some of these qualities eventually even out between the various accession sources, but having military physicians who come from the Service Academies is very important in my opinion.
     
  15. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    You took my quote out of context without including the second part....

    "If you want to be an Army doctor; consider going to West Point."

    My point was (apologies for not making it clear) if you go to West Point AND then to Medical School you will be an Army doctor for a very very long time. I think you will end up serving something like 16 years beyond West Point depending on specialty. This is over and above medical school and residency.

    Now, if you want to be a physician and receive military training but not make it your career - that is noble as well and their are plenty of other options available.
     
  16. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    kp2001: If you want to take advantage of the DOD medical school, do you have to be prior military (i.e., commissioned from either SA or ROTC)? Or can anyone who hasn't served a day in his/her life apply to that medical school?

    Just_A_Mom: Apologies are mine. I was just trying to make a point that there are quality kids out there pursuing military options for medical school who are not simply motivated by a free ride. I understand the time commitment, but the road to attending physician is long, whichever route one takes: college --> med school --> residency --> attending, etc. I think the military extends an enormous benefit to those seeking the med school option and the beneficiary returns the favor with an extended time commitment. Ultimately, the benefit/bargain arrangement is balanced when you factor everything in.
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    patentesq - no problem. we agree!

    You can indeed apply from the civilian world! In fact, the way I understand it - if you are not already associated with a branch of service you are able to choose - Army, Navy or Air Force.

    kp can elaborate but I *think* civilians need to also go to OCS at some point.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    They used to send them over to USNA their second summer for an abbreviated "charm school". I think my second class summer, since I was always late, I was hurrying somewhere and saw a formation of Ensigns standing at parade rest with every single one of them having their shoulder boards on backwards. I regret to this day that I did not hang around to see the look on the platoon leader's face when he walked up and noticed it. The incident has permanently scarred me with Navy doctors.
     
  19. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    GPA=GPA...you are thinking of the score that contributes to class rank. These are two separate entities. My friend's son is planning on med school after WP. That was his goal from the outset. He has followed a track with summers devoted to shadowing doctors and other training related to his future. He is currently ranked #2 overall in his class. He has a 4.0 GPA. He did validate a few classes. He studies constantly, but his hard work is paying off.
     
  20. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I agree, kp is the best to talk to about this.

    While I don't have experience myself, it is my understanding that the OCS/OTS attended by physicians is not the same as the one line officers attend. In the USAF, it is called Commissioned Officer Training (COT), and the doctors (with lawyers and clergy) who attend have already been commissioned directly prior to attending. It's considerably shorter than the OTS program for line officer candidates.

    I think USUHS people are commissioned as med students, so they maybe go through a similar program? KP should chime in here.
     

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