Army Infectious Diseases?!?! NEED ADVICE!!!

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Bobman479, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Bobman479

    Bobman479 New Member

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    Here is my situation….

    I am currently applying to schools. I am a strong candidate who might…just might get into a place like UPENN or Hopkins. As of now I am interested in international/ public policy medicine. I.e., I see myself getting a MD/MPH then getting into infectious diseases. I would love to work with the federal government in bio-defense, work with the CDC, or work with the WHO.

    Now of course things might change but above is loosely my 'dream career' in medicine. Now, since the kind of path I am describing is probably not the best paying path in medicine, I am a little worried about money. This is where HPSP comes into play.

    I have been told by many people to succeed in my above-described idea; it would be best if I went to a super-nice private med school. This would put me massively in debt. I am willing to bet that the Army has awesome infectious disease programs. I can imagine myself doing a fellowship at Tripler, seeing ever-weird disease that every soldier contracts in the pacific basin. Moreover, God only knows the crazy stuff I would get into on active duty. The Army has places like Fort Detrick where all they do is bio-terrorism/ bio-defense. The Army is moreover the militant branch of the CDC. If there is any ever serious public health threat, the host country routinely invites in the Army who will work with organizations such as the CDC and WHO.

    Not only am I beginning to think that the Army will be my solution financially, I am thinking that my time spent in it would help the career I envision for myself. Please correct me if I am wrong? Am I totally wrong about the kind of possibilities I would be hoping for in the army? Would all being an infectious disease person mean is that I am stationed in Germany treating soldiers with VD from their trips to Amsterdam? Or would I get deployed into essentially the front line of public health issues in the world today?

    Oh yeah it's worth saying that I would love to be in the military. I am athletic and would be proud to be part of the defense of our country….

    Thanks…I really need some advice….
     
  2. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member
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    Dont be worried about money. There are plenty of loans out there and the Military has repayment programs as well. I say this because HPSP will not fund you to get a dual degree. You are better off getting your MD and MPH or PHD if you want it and getting into the best civilian residency for IM and the ID fellowship. Then approach the military after you are in your residency.

    Others may have varying opinions but it really sounds like you want an academic/research life and the best bet is to maintain control until you have what you want then approach the military.
     
  3. kwiggo

    kwiggo Junior Member
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    You need to consider waiting on signing up for the military. Engineering the combined MD/MPH is difficult as an HPSP student unless you go to Brown Medical School where you can finish both degrees in four years. At most other med schools you'll need a fifth year to complete the MPH. HPSP expects you to spend four years earning your MD, and then doing an army residency and going on active duty. You would need special permission to pursue the exta degree. Additionally, there are no guarantees that you will be able to pursue an ID fellowship straight out of your medicine residency. If the army needs internists to deploy, you will be deployed and have to wait on pursuing a fellowship. Your imagined dream career might be compatible with the life of an army physician, but there also exists a vast array of alternative routes to practicing interesting international infectious disease work and emergency epidemic response. I would suggest to you that when you get to med school you ought to take some time researching all of the different tuition-for-service progams that exist. Did you know that the CDC offers loan-repayment postions to infectious disease officers? You might still get the chance to work with people from the dept. of defense and the various military branches. In medical school you will be exposed to so many new opportunities you never imagined. Hold off on commitments that might limit your options. The army offers three year scholarships if you want to join HPSP after being in med school for 9 months or so.

    PS: I am an HPSP student at Dartmouth med school. I'd be happy to tell you more about the program and how it works.
     
  4. Leviathanius

    Leviathanius Junior Member
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    Consider serving as a 'regional medical officer' with the State Dept. This could offer a vast array of ID cases, especially in Tropical Medicine.
     
  5. Bobman479

    Bobman479 New Member

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    Thanks so far for the great advice. Just the thought of going sooooo in debt at a place like UPENN gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach. Esp. when I will go into a field that is not great paying.

    The impression that i get is that an Army fellowship in infectious diseases would be a great education. The gray area comes in when we start talking about if I can go straight from a residency to a fellowship and what my active duty obligation would be. I think an ideal scenerio in the Army would work perfectly for me.

    So here is another suggestiion for you military medicine vets.... Lets say for arguements sakes that I do good at a place like UPENN. I do great at OBC, keep my uniform nice and neat...salute smartly and all that BS. I get into a good IM residency.... what are the odds that I can go straight through and get to infectious diseases? After my fellowship, what are the odds that I could get into the more coveted areas associated with infectious diseases. I.e. I am station at Fort Detrick and fly into Zaire because of a possible bad disease outbreak? Or like I said earlier.... VD in an Army hospital in South Korea?

    I looked around for CDC loan repayment and I couldn't find anything. Does anybody have a weblink?

    Is this envisioned stint with the Army possible or just an unlikely best case scenerio? I am willing to bet that being stationed at a place like Detrick is coveted and super competitive....

    Thanks again,
    -Bob
     
  6. bobbyseal

    bobbyseal Boat boy
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    It is possible to do HPSP and get both an MD/MPH. You just need to attend a program where you can get both degrees in 4 years. Also, you're always allowed to take a leave of absence. You could use that year to get the mph.
     
  7. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Search and read my posts from dec 2003 forward.....when I started posting.

    Read them carefully....

    PM me if you have questions.
     
  8. hosskp1

    hosskp1 Senior Member
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    It might be a but early for you to start deciding which specialty you want. Check out all the services and other scholarship programs out there. Talk to everybody and any body- then make up your own mind.

    I am applying for Army IM progrmas right now (while serving as GMO). I have met a few Army ID Physicians- and let me tell you some of them are really squared away. I met one that did his Fellowship at Walter Reed and is now at USAMRIID doing full time research.

    There is a down side to being in the Army- but if you are determined, you can shape the career you want- including research. There is always the possibility of deployment- I met a cardiologist, and Nephrologist and a Pulmonologist who all deployed as BN surgeons (and backfilled as BDE surgeons). IF you are not opposed to deployment- the rest of Army medicine is not that bad. If you do become an ID guy, then you will probably wind up in one of the large MEDCENs and just doing ID.
     
  9. NJEMT1

    NJEMT1 Member
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    I go to Tufts where we have a great 4 yr MD/MPH program. I know an Army HPSP student who graduated last year and did this. The Army paid her med school tuition and everything they would ordinarily pay, and she just had to pay the MPH part on her own (which is around $5k/yr)
     
  10. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    This is what admissions at Penn will tell you if you ask their opinion. I'm a current student, and I have before. When you get to medical school you'll be expected to do ADTs, so you won't even be able to get involved with the great opportunities we have here for research. Remember, you'll have to ask permission to take a year off for research or an MPH, and with the current war with no end in sight who knows if you'll get it? When you're finished, you'll go into a military residency and not into top-tier places like Penn's IM residency. In essence, why would you have to go to a top school like Penn if you're doing HPSP? You won't be able to take advantage of the resources if you do.

    Eat the loans, it looks like alot of money from where you're sitting now, but it's not in the long run. If you do get into Penn in the first round, there's a good chance you could get some level of scholarship as well. Don't forget, that measly $1,000/mo is not enough to live on in Philadelphia. You'll be taking out some loans on top of the HPSP stipend anyway.
     

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