I would really like an answer to this question too. I really want to get into Walter Reed but I'm not sure I'm competative enough. I know it depends on your rotation and what kind of impression you make, but that's obviously not all of it. I've seen the points system they grade you with posted in various places, but again that doesn't really help me know if I could get in. I guess I'm asking for average board scores, class rank, and similar things that I'm used to using.
Competitiveness varies from year to year. Likely there is a correlation if HPSP fills that year - the more openings, the lesser percentage of internist selects.
There is a lot of variance as to what 'competitive' consists of. During my med school years, there were a significant portion of folks who definitely wanted Reed, those who definitely wanted BAMC, those who definitely wanted Madigan, or Tripler, even those who wanted El Paso (a smaller lesser known Medcen, but actually has great training potential- quality has really stepped up in past 5-6 years- they had an amazing IM program director. I did not train there, but did serve a few yrs ago as teaching faculty for IM program). I also have colleages who thought their Eisenhower training was excellent.
Training is similar - you could check the board passage rate
My opinion for the MedCens:
Reed - historically solid, some staff personality difficulty per report, has fellows, building is old. Be careful, Reed is slated for closure in the BRAC when it will combine with Bethesda Naval.
BAMC - known solid, excellent building/facilities, friendly folks. Has cards/GI,HemeOnc/PulmCritCare fellows (extra teaching faculty, also good so you can meet the fellowship program directors and they know about your abilities). It is a larger program which has its pluses/minuses.
Tripler - good faculty, excellent waves per report. Folks tend to either love it there, or hate it due to island fever - can't easily go visit family, etc off island.
Madigan - solid faculty, excellent building/facilties. Cloudy for a sig portion of the winter. Close to Seattle. Housing more spendy than you would think.
El Paso - friendly, won in the BRAC- to get 40,000 military and dependents in next few yrs, nicer summer climate than San Antonio, middle of nowhere but you can easily driive to Carlsbad, Roswell, Albequerque, etc. Solid training. The hospital contracts with the VA clinic to provide inpatient care of veterans- excellent folks/great pathology. Lesser competitive than most.
Eisenhower - can't comment accurately, but have not heard anything weak about program.
1. Any Army IM program will give you solid training.
2. DEFINITELY go and rotate at your first choice (as a MS4 rotating at Madigan, one of the other MS4's tried to call Reed for a phone interview and was told that if he did not rotate there, they would not interview him. And they were not particularly polite about it either.)
3. At least go and visit your second and maybe third choice, check out the facilities, talk with the residents, and interview with the program director. You are planning to invest 3 yrs with them - at least go and see what the place is like. I did that with one of the other medcens as a 4th yr - stayed there for 2 days - spent time with an IM team, met the chief resident, program director, chief of medicine, etc.
4. Go full speed for the program you want. If your grades are somewhat less, so what. Rotate there and impress them with a positive, enthusiastic, hard working ethic. A hardworking solid average doc beats a lazy academic punk.
Sorry, this post ran long, but there are a lot of variables.
My opinion of army IM comes from my interview trail that was a few years ago so things have certainly changed, but here goes.
Brooke: Nice facility and faculty. I did not sense malignancy at all at this place. When I interviewed there, I was told outrigth that Brooke and Reed are always ranked 1&2 on IM applicants rank order list. Now, I am told that recently this has changed. Heard some rumors of malignancy at Brooke as of late and a lot of residents quitting. Again, I warn, this is just rumors.
Beaumont: I think this program never got the credit it deserved. A few faculty came on board that really beefed this place up. The downside was the physical plant of the building. Back then, all paper charts and nursing was awful! Overall though a solid program. As of late though, this great program director everybody speaks of has left on to bigger things. I have heard bad things about her replacement.
MAMC: Nice building. Not any real malignant faculty, but a few quarky ones. Large population of patients and busy service. Education is solid
EAMC: Solid program with solid didactics. I thought all the residents I worked with there were solid. Unfortunately, of all the places I rotated at as an HPSP student, this was the most malignant and I really don't think the residents there were given minimal respect from their faculty.
I never rotated at Reed or Tripler so can't comment. I can tell you from hear say that Reed is certainly not as malignant as it once was known to be.
Overall, the didactics and the structure of learning was similar at all places I rotated at. Keep in mind that your faculty has training at various facilities, put them all at one place, at one time, they do education the same format. You will be a solid internist if you graduate from ANY of the army programs. The question you have to ask yourself is, which one will you be happiest at?
Also, keep in mind that my opinions are based on my experiences a few years ago. Because Army medicine is small, faculy members are always changing, so what might have been a program full of dinguses years ago might be a program full of great faculty now, and vice versa. Bottom line, go there, rotate there, and look closely. Do not be blinded by faculty that really want to recruit you, talk to the residents already there, they know best.