I need advice badly

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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10
Alright guys. I'm writing this message because I need some advice and even with extensive research I'm still confused on a lot of things I see on Internet forums and navy recruiting sites because I have no military personnel in my family who can explain things to me. I'm Indian and I'm the only Indian in my entire family who is so intent on going military. I'm planning to apply to USNA and then take either the HPSP or head to USUHS where I'll go to Med school and then complete a military residency (my choice residency would probably be in my home state of Washington.... so either Madigan or Lewis Mcchord). After I'm done with my residency, assuming all of that goes as planned, would I be given the option to be a doctor for the navy or the marines, or would I be assigned to a specific branch? Can any military medicine personnel speak to whether or not it is a good job. I want to join the military because I want to get out of the whole tech support stereotype and actually help people who are oppressed, not just to show off a uniform. Was your experience in either branch rewarding? Any army doctors out there who want to stake their claim why the army is better or West Point is a better school overall? Thanks for all your guys' help, I really appreciate any useful advice you vets can give me.
P:S: Vascular surgery would be my choice specialty, this would enable me to be an emergency surgeon for wounded soldiers
 

Cerberi

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The USMC does not have doctors. They rely on the Navy for corpsmen and doctors

What is your question? Is it Which service to practice medicine ?

As a general rule each SA gets 10-15 med school slots per class. The most recent number seems to be 12

The military certainly provides a lot of opportunities to help the oppressed but the military is not oppressed and the military would be your first constituency

Are you an American citizen? Usna has that as a requirement for entry
 

DrMom

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Good Evening Vikram. So, you are of South Asian descent but you are a US citizen, right?

It appears that you have one goal--become a Navy physician--with many pathways that require two different approaches timeline-wise. First: pathway to commissioning: Go to USNA, do Naval ROTC, or pay your own way through a bachelor's degree. If you apply to USNA-- only do so if you want to go to USNA. There are less than 20 students in the graduating class who have the opportunity to go straight to medical school. You could also go NROTC to a civilian university of your choice (again, only a limited number can get a graduate school waiver to go straight to medical school). Or you could just go to a college of your choice without ROTC (you'd have to pay for it). Second pathway: Becoming a physician in the Navy...as you approach the end of your undergraduate education, you are right--you can apply for HPSP and USU (which is what we are calling USUHS for short these days). When you apply to these program, you select your service but if the Navy paid for your undergraduate education (USNA or NROTC) then you will be on the path to become a physician in the Navy.

The Marine Corps does not have its own medical corps...it receives providers from the Navy--sometimes they even dress like Marines and work closely with Marines (we call this Blue in Support of Green--and it includes physicians, dentists, chaplains, and a few other specialties)--other times the Navy physicians/nurses/etc are based on Marine installations but work in Naval hospitals and clinics--and wear their normal Navy uniforms. The culmination of Blue in Support of Green are the Medical Officer of the Marine Corps (TMO) and the Chaplain of the Marine Corps.

In a way that is different from the other services, the Navy will often send new MDs out on a "GMO Tour" so that you complete your 4 years of med school and then a year of internship and then are sent out to a unit to serve as their doctor. Only after that do you have the opportunity to match for a residency. Your residency will depend up on the needs of the service at the time you are applying.

Last, there is an article that came out this week called "Borrow or Serve: An Economic Analysis of Financing a Medical Education" the authors include Kellerman and Hunter--search for it. You might wish to show it to your parents. The best way to break even as a physician is to 1) have wealthy parents that pay your way through school or 2) attend USU.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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Are you an American citizen? Usna has that as a requirement for entry[/QUOTE]
Yes! Parents are immigrants from India but I'm born and raised in Washington.
 

DrMom

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One last thing...you do not get a lot of choice of where you go. When you sign up to serve, it is called 'selfless service'--because the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy get to pick where you go--and to some extent what sort of doctor you become based on what they want not on what you want to do. There is risk but there is great reward in learning how to lead people, not just practice medicine. Also, in our business, EVERYONE saves the lives of soldiers on the battlefield. Everyone deploys. Everyone operates. There is a new book coming out: Into the Crucible. There was a 60 Minutes segment on it a few months ago. You should find the link on YouTube and watch it. Combat casualty care is everybody's business.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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The USMC does not have doctors. They rely on the Navy for corpsmen and doctors

What is your question? Is it Which service to practice medicine ?

My main question is the best pathway to take, assuming that I get into USNA and follow the plan I have above in my first post. Since I don't have any military in my family I was wondering if I could get advice on my pathway and if it is feasible or not. If all goes smoothly and I become a doctor would I get to ask to serve with marines or would it just be midshipmen.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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The military certainly provides a lot of opportunities to help the oppressed but the military is not oppressed and the military would be your first constituency
Haha didn't mean to imply the military were oppressed, I meant to say I wanted to treat people who are being oppressed. Maybe some villager who got his hand cut off by an Isis member or something, I just want to help people.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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One last thing...you do not get a lot of choice of where you go. When you sign up to serve, it is called 'selfless service'--because the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy get to pick where you go--and to some extent what sort of doctor you become based on what they want not on what you want to do. There is risk but there is great reward in learning how to lead people, not just practice medicine. Also, in our business, EVERYONE saves the lives of soldiers on the battlefield. Everyone deploys. Everyone operates. There is a new book coming out: Into the Crucible. There was a 60 Minutes segment on it a few months ago. You should find the link on YouTube and watch it. Combat casualty care is everybody's business.
So I can tell them I want to be a vascular surgeon for a specific branch and they can stick me with becoming an orthopedic surgeon for the coast guard? Yikes, if that's what you mean that honestly scares me. What are the odds of something like that happening?
 

VikramT

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2017
Messages
10
One last thing...you do not get a lot of choice of where you go. When you sign up to serve, it is called 'selfless service'--because the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy get to pick where you go--and to some extent what sort of doctor you become based on what they want not on what you want to do. There is risk but there is great reward in learning how to lead people, not just practice medicine. Also, in our business, EVERYONE saves the lives of soldiers on the battlefield. Everyone deploys. Everyone operates. There is a new book coming out: Into the Crucible. There was a 60 Minutes segment on it a few months ago. You should find the link on YouTube and watch it. Combat casualty care is everybody's business.
Do TMO's deploy?
 

DrMom

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Vikram, you become a military officer because you want to serve our Nation and lead people. It is not the Peace Corps...which also has physicians. There is a ramp up in terms of Global Health Engagement--but you will spend a great deal of time in the military treating military members, their families and retirees at clinics. You will definitely have opportunities to serve down range--but it is not MSF where after training you spend most of your time engaged with the oppressed or disadvantaged.
 

DrMom

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Why don't you call admissions at USU and ask them all of your questions? The Coast Guard's physicians are from the Public Health Service (you can also train to be a Public Health Service officer at USU.) But yes, you can want to be a vascular surgeon and match for a pediatric residency. However, that could happen in any pathway to residency.
 

VikramT

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Vikram, you become a military officer because you want to serve our Nation and lead people. It is not the Peace Corps...which also has physicians. There is a ramp up in terms of Global Health Engagement--but you will spend a great deal of time in the military treating military members, their families and retirees at clinics. You will definitely have opportunities to serve down range--but it is not MSF where after training you spend most of your time engaged with the oppressed or disadvantaged.
Gotcha, well I'm still cool with that.
 

Capt MJ

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Wow - there's a lot here. I will respond to some of the quicker ones. Others will respond too.

Good for you at already diving into research about HPSP and USUHS.

Browse the many, many medical school threads here on SAF - suggest checking USMA, USNA and USAFA forums.

The mission of SAs is to train and produce junior officers for the warfare communities/branches in their services. Medical doctors are staff officers, Medical Corps. A handful are allowed to go to medical school each year from SAs - read about it on SA websites. No guarantee. If you want to be a doctor above all, and have no interest in serving in a non-medical combat warfare specialty, the SA route may not be for you.

The military gets the majority of its healthcare officers via direct commission programs (the ones you are looking at), not via SA.

You will want to research the required years of obligated service associated with each path.

All military people are subject to the needs of their service. This can and will impact everything from duty stations to residency choices. While military people can express preferences, there is no guarantee.

Marine Corps does not have a Med Corps. They get their care from military treatment facilities (MTF) closest to their duty station, usually Navy. They can be single service or joint MTF, staffed by military healthcare providers from Navy, Army, Air Force.

Since you are interested in service, explore the Public Health Service, USPHS. They are one of the 7 uniformed services, but not one of the 5 armed services. They wear Navy-type uniforms, have ranks, have same pay and benefits. They can also attend USUHS. They are professionals and well-regarded. A small Corps but dedicated!
See:
https://www.usphs.gov/student/

Ensure you are talking to officer recruiters, not enlisted recruiters, preferably officer recruiters knowledgeable about the MD programs.
 

DrMom

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And last...You say you need advice badly...is that because you are trying to make the USNA application deadline on the 31st? Are you a senior in high school this year?
 

Milly

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Feb 16, 2016
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It can be difficult to go from Navy to medical school. It is super competitive and it could happen that you do well in school but still just don't quite make the cut. Don't mean to be negative - just want you to be aware that some high school students who are certain they want to go to medical school choose to not attend a service academy for that very reason. But if you do choose to go that route, absolutely BEST of luck to you!
 

Pima

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Concur with others. Service before Self.

If you want to be a doctor 1st and an officer 2nd than this might not be the path for you.

Do you know what they officially call a doctor in the military? It will not be Dr. Vikram. It will be your rank. IE Lt. Vikram.
 

usna1985

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Ask yourself the following: If I'm not selected for med school out of USNA, what will I do for service selection? Will I be happy doing that for at least the next 5 years?

As others have said, if you can't see yourself as anything other than an MD -- and aren't willing to wait a few years to pursue that dream -- USNA probably isn't the right place for you.

Finally, to give you some perspective, usually no more than 12 mids are permitted to select med school out of USNA. Of the 10 candidates I interviewed this cycle, 3 wanted to go Medical Corps. They were all highly qualified candidates, and one already has an appt. That's 3, just from my group of 10. And I'm one BGO out of ~3400.

Not saying you can't become one of those 12 mids who make it each year, but the odds are not in your favor. So, if this is your passion, find a path that makes it more likely than USNA.
 

dakine

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OP. One of the first things you will be told at CVW is the needs of the Navy come first. What this means is that the Navy needs unrestricted line officers for ships, subs, aviation and marines. At USNA, you will spend a lot of time studying subjects that have nothing to do with medicine.

If medicine is your true calling, I recommend taking the most direct route and then consider joining the Navy after you get in to med school.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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Concur with others. Service before Self.

If you want to be a doctor 1st and an officer 2nd than this might not be the path for you.

Do you know what they officially call a doctor in the military? It will not be Dr. Vikram. It will be your rank. IE Lt. Vikram.
im cool with that.... so what I'm hearing is that if I want to serve/deploy as a surgeon then going to one of the armed forces colleges for undergraduate isn't the best for me. If not, what should I do instead, do ROTC at a civilian college and then apply to USUHS or for a HPSP grant? Long as I get to serve/deploy as a surgeon I'll be happy. Any explanations/ options you could tell me would be awesome.
 

VikramT

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Jan 29, 2017
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Ask yourself the following: If I'm not selected for med school out of USNA, what will I do for service selection? Will I be happy doing that for at least the next 5 years?

As others have said, if you can't see yourself as anything other than an MD -- and aren't willing to wait a few years to pursue that dream -- USNA probably isn't the right place for you.

Finally, to give you some perspective, usually no more than 12 mids are permitted to select med school out of USNA. Of the 10 candidates I interviewed this cycle, 3 wanted to go Medical Corps. They were all highly qualified candidates, and one already has an appt. That's 3, just from my group of 10. And I'm one BGO out of ~3400.

Not saying you can't become one of those 12 mids who make it each year, but the odds are not in your favor. So, if this is your passion, find a path that makes it more likely than USNA.
If I'm not selected for USUHS straight out of USNA, what are the odds of going to a good civilian med school like Baylor or something and getting an HPSP grant. Question: if I get an HPSP grant would I still be able to do a military residency?
 
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