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Hi all, I am an graduating undergrad and incoming M1 enrolling at a expensive low-mid tier private medical school next fall (2021) thinking of doing the army or navy HPSP. I went through a BS/MD program in college and decided not to take the MCAT and apply out this past cycle, so I do not have merit scholarships/state school options and am bound to my 90k/yr private school. As my family is strictly middle class (100k/yr), I doubt I'll be receiving any need based grants and be paying med school through all federal loans.

Luckly, my family paid for almost all my undergrad education (currently 15k federal loans which they've agreed to pay off), but now have to save up college money for my younger siblings so I won't be getting a penny for my MD. Thinking about how I will be taking out 360k at ~6.8% interest rate, which will be 450k by match day and easily 500k+ after a 3-5 year residency worries me intensely and I do not know how I'll tackle all the debt. Still, I've been looking at the HPSP scholarship as a possible route, as a current med student at my school is doing it and has recomended it. After doing some research, I've come up with the following pros and cons.

Pros:
- Full tuition + stipend + sign on bonus (Huge if I can save 500k+ by serving for 4 years after residency)
- Interested in primary care, but may specialize.
- Ability to travel.
- Discipline in the army.
- Building physical fitness and endurance.
- No SO currently and am willing to relocate (only 22 so don't know about the future).

Cons:
- May specialize (interested in exploring Anesthsiology, EM, or even Rads). Heard military can dictate match.
- Poorly physically/don't work out routinely (did cross country in HS but can barely finish a 5k lol).
- Non U.S. citizen (but permanent resident living in the U.S. for 10+ years eligible to take citizenship test any time).
- Open to serving but would join more for the scholarship than true interest in becoming a military doc.
- Deployment and combat (Don't want to risk my life unless the country is truly at stake - major conflict like WWII).
- Family and the future (Again, no SO but want to start a family and don't know about the future).

Should I apply for this scholarship and are there any recruiters out there who I can talk to?
 

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I am considering the HPSP scholarship so I've done a lot of research and have talked to current/former physicians who have done it. I am not a current service member, nor have I previously served so this is all coming from a civilian like yourself.

Obviously scholarship has a lot of perks associated with paying off your loans, however, while that is a large sum of money, it is not impossible to tackle on your own. There are other methods such as commissioning after you start practice, instead of making the commitment during medical school, working in research, or rural/underserved communities.

Regarding some of your cons, I do not believe they limit your residency so you will be able to match into whatever specialty you choose. Additionally, as a physician you will be pretty well taken care of since you're an asset and you will likely not see combat (unless our current state deteriorates wildly). You will likely have to move every couple of years, which could be difficult for a future family, but it will only be 4 years.

I talked to a recruiter who was able to connect me with physicians in my area who were either currently in the military (although I live in DC so that was easy) or previously did the scholarship. That really helped me make my decision. Nothing is binding until you sign the final papers so if this is something you are considering, reaching out to a recruiter might get you started and at last provide you with more information.
 
Mar 14, 2019
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Hi all, I am an graduating undergrad and incoming M1 enrolling at a expensive low-mid tier private medical school next fall (2021) thinking of doing the army or navy HPSP. I went through a BS/MD program in college and decided not to take the MCAT and apply out this past cycle, so I do not have merit scholarships/state school options and am bound to my 90k/yr private school. As my family is strictly middle class (100k/yr), I doubt I'll be receiving any need based grants and be paying med school through all federal loans.

Luckly, my family paid for almost all my undergrad education (currently 15k federal loans which they've agreed to pay off), but now have to save up college money for my younger siblings so I won't be getting a penny for my MD. Thinking about how I will be taking out 360k at ~6.8% interest rate, which will be 450k by match day and easily 500k+ after a 3-5 year residency worries me intensely and I do not know how I'll tackle all the debt. Still, I've been looking at the HPSP scholarship as a possible route, as a current med student at my school is doing it and has recomended it. After doing some research, I've come up with the following pros and cons.

Pros:
- Full tuition + stipend + sign on bonus (Huge if I can save 500k+ by serving for 4 years after residency)
- Interested in primary care, but may specialize.
- Ability to travel.
- Discipline in the army.
- Building physical fitness and endurance.
- No SO currently and am willing to relocate (only 22 so don't know about the future).

Cons:
- May specialize (interested in exploring Anesthsiology, EM, or even Rads). Heard military can dictate match.
- Poorly physically/don't work out routinely (did cross country in HS but can barely finish a 5k lol).
- Non U.S. citizen (but permanent resident living in the U.S. for 10+ years eligible to take citizenship test any time).
- Open to serving but would join more for the scholarship than true interest in becoming a military doc.
- Deployment and combat (Don't want to risk my life unless the country is truly at stake - major conflict like WWII).
- Family and the future (Again, no SO but want to start a family and don't know about the future).

Should I apply for this scholarship and are there any recruiters out there who I can talk to?
@Matthew9Thirtyfive is the go-to guy on milmed. I have been thinking about it for the same reasons you are. The advice is to be VERY careful because if you don't do it for the right reasons (genuine desire to serve), you will hate it. It's a ton of money, but, as a MD, you WILL be able to pay it back. Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?

The answer is absolutely yes if you really want to serve, but probably not if graduating debt free means doing something you don't want to do, in a place you don't want to be and risking finding yourself mid career lacking clinical skills if you end up being a paper pusher while serving out your commitment. This is is not a guaranteed outcome, but it's definitely a risk. The SDN milmed forum is a good place to get a ton of experienced perspectives. Good luck!!!
 
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Hi all, I am an graduating undergrad and incoming M1 enrolling at a expensive low-mid tier private medical school next fall (2021) thinking of doing the army or navy HPSP. I went through a BS/MD program in college and decided not to take the MCAT and apply out this past cycle, so I do not have merit scholarships/state school options and am bound to my 90k/yr private school. As my family is strictly middle class (100k/yr), I doubt I'll be receiving any need based grants and be paying med school through all federal loans.

Luckly, my family paid for almost all my undergrad education (currently 15k federal loans which they've agreed to pay off), but now have to save up college money for my younger siblings so I won't be getting a penny for my MD. Thinking about how I will be taking out 360k at ~6.8% interest rate, which will be 450k by match day and easily 500k+ after a 3-5 year residency worries me intensely and I do not know how I'll tackle all the debt. Still, I've been looking at the HPSP scholarship as a possible route, as a current med student at my school is doing it and has recomended it. After doing some research, I've come up with the following pros and cons.
So I’ll try to address some of these. I’m a student at USUHS, but I’ve been in the military for 8 years and can give you a little insight.
Pros:

- Full tuition + stipend + sign on bonus (Huge if I can save 500k+ by serving for 4 years after residency)
- Interested in primary care, but may specialize.
- Ability to travel.
- Discipline in the army.
- Building physical fitness and endurance.
- No SO currently and am willing to relocate (only 22 so don't know about the future).
All these are definitely pros. You have to be willing to relocate. You can generally expect to move every 3 years after residency. But many, many people in the military have a spouse and kids. An interest in primary care is good, but you can specialize in the military.
Cons:
- May specialize (interested in exploring Anesthsiology, EM, or even Rads). Heard military can dictate match.
- Poorly physically/don't work out routinely (did cross country in HS but can barely finish a 5k lol).
- Non U.S. citizen (but permanent resident living in the U.S. for 10+ years eligible to take citizenship test any time).
- Open to serving but would join more for the scholarship than true interest in becoming a military doc.
- Deployment and combat (Don't want to risk my life unless the country is truly at stake - major conflict like WWII).
- Family and the future (Again, no SO but want to start a family and don't know about the future).
Okay so a few things.

1. You can specialize in the military. The military doesn’t dictate your match. The military can decide they don’t want to train certain specialties though, so if you want complete control over being able to apply to any specialty, the military is not the right path. That said, gas, EM, and rads are always safe.

2. Not a big deal. It’s easy to get in the kind of shape you need to be in to pass the ACFT/PRT.

3. This is a non-starter. You need to be a citizen to get a commission.

4. This is a good way to be miserable for four years and to provide crappy care to a great patient population that deserves great care.

5. You will deploy. If that’s not something you’re okay with, don’t join. That said, while deployment is a risk, very, very few docs have died on deployment in the last 20 years.

6. I’ve had a wife and kids for almost the entire time I’ve been in the military. It’s totally possible to do both. Most people in the military end up having a family.
Should I apply for this scholarship and are there any recruiters out there who I can talk to?
Well, considering you’re not a citizen, it’s not really an option. But even if it were, I would say it’s not the right choice for you.
 
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@Matthew9Thirtyfive is the go-to guy on milmed. I have been thinking about it for the same reasons you are. The advice is to be VERY careful because if you don't do it for the right reasons (genuine desire to serve), you will hate it. It's a ton of money, but, as a MD, you WILL be able to pay it back. Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?

The answer is absolutely yes if you really want to serve, but probably not if graduating debt free means doing something you don't want to do, in a place you don't want to be and risking finding yourself mid career lacking clinical skills if you end up being a paper pusher while serving out your commitment. This is is not a guaranteed outcome, but it's definitely a risk. The SDN milmed forum is a good place to get a ton of experienced perspectives. Good luck!!!

To add to this, if you know what you're doing and live like a resident for a few years after medical school (don't let your lifestyle inflate) you will be able to pay off your loans fairly quickly. There are a lot of physician financial blogs that cover these kinds of topics. I know the White Coat Investor did HPSP.
 
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Thanks for the responses guys and particularly @Matthew9Thirtyfive.

Don't get me wrong about #4 in cons, as I may have come across a little standoffish suggesting that I would join more for the scholarship than for willingness to serve. I would be more than honored to treat veterans who have experienced combat, and greatly appreciate how much they've dedicating to serving the country. I just wanted to be honest and clear that I am not sure if I am passionate enough to join or would be as willing to join if no scholarship was offered due to needing to give up civilian life and risk of deployment into a dangerous area. Also, I am not looking to join entirely for the scholarship (I highly value the discipline, honor of serving such an important patient population, and am fine with travel/relocation right now), so don't think I would be 100% miserable. Of course, it would depend on where I am deployed and etc. While I am not a citizen, I'm eligible to take my citizenship test any time so don't know if I can get a comission as soon as I take it. However, if it's not the best choice for me, I thank you for your feedback!
 

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Thanks for the responses guys and particularly @Matthew9Thirtyfive.

Don't get me wrong about #4 in cons, as I may have come across a little standoffish suggesting that I would join more for the scholarship than for willingness to serve. I would be more than honored to treat veterans who have experienced combat, and greatly appreciate how much they've dedicating to serving the country. I just wanted to be honest and clear that I am not sure if I am passionate enough to join or would be as willing to join if no scholarship was offered due to needing to give up civilian life and risk of deployment into a dangerous area. Also, I am not looking to join entirely for the scholarship (I highly value the discipline, honor of serving such an important patient population, and am fine with travel/relocation right now), so don't think I would be 100% miserable. Of course, it would depend on where I am deployed and etc. While I am not a citizen, I'm eligible to take my citizenship test any time so don't know if I can get a comission as soon after I take it. However, if it's not the best choice for me, I thank you for your feedback!

Yeah, IMO you probably would just end up regretting it. I could be wrong, and you might end up loving it. But my money would be on you not liking it. But tbh I don’t know how anyone enjoys being in the Army. The Navy and AF are so much better.
 
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Only do military if it’s been your life long goal to be in the military. Do not do it for money.
 
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I have also been told by several people (practicing physicians) to take up USUHS or HPSP only if we truly intend to serve and not for the money. Told by at least one HPSP physician that s/he could not get the specialty/residency s/he wanted because it was not in the military's preference.
 
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I have also been told by several people (practicing physicians) to take up USUHS or HPSP only if we truly intend to serve and not for the money. Told by at least one HPSP physician that s/he could not get the specialty/residency s/he wanted because it was not in the military's preference.

This will depend on what you want. The military does not tell you what you will specialize in. But for example, the Navy does not currently train PMR or rad onc. So if you end up liking PMR, you will not be able to get that because the Navy has allotted zero spots for it.

But say you really like surgery. You list ortho as your primary and gen surg as your backup. They aren’t going to tell you, sorry we don’t want you to be a surgeon, you’re going to be an IM doc because that’s what we need you to do.
 
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This will depend on what you want. The military does not tell you what you will specialize in. But for example, the Navy does not currently train PMR or rad onc. So if you end up liking PMR, you will not be able to get that because the Navy has allotted zero spots for it.

But say you really like surgery. You list ortho as your primary and gen surg as your backup. They aren’t going to tell you, sorry we don’t want you to be a surgeon, you’re going to be an IM doc because that’s what we need you to do.
Again, I am just an applicant, but I am told that requirements change from time to time, so there may be no ortho (or no Sx) spots at all, so though they may not tell you sorry, you automatically don't get into one.
 

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Again, I am just an applicant, but I am told that requirements change from time to time, so there may be no ortho (or no Sx) spots at all, so though they may not tell you sorry, you automatically don't get into one.

There are only a handful of specialties with very few spots. The majority of specialties that are very popular are also needed in the military. There are always plenty of spots in ortho, gen surg, EM, primary care, psych, gas, etc.

So yes, like I said in my original reply, you have to be okay with the military not training the specialty you are interested in, but that is only a few specialties (eg, in the Navy that’s PMR and rad onc right now). It also varies by service. For example, the Navy doesn’t train PMR docs, but the Army does.
 
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This website seems to have a lot of really great info on mil med - it's what sold me on it when I was first interested in this set of medical careers, along with many phone calls and chats with HPSP physicians and USUHS students. Here is a list of branch-specific specialties. I feel like it's pretty transparent.
 
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This website seems to have a lot of really great info on mil med - it's what sold me on it when I was first interested in this set of medical careers, along with many phone calls and chats with HPSP physicians and USUHS students. Here is a list of branch-specific specialties. I feel like it's pretty transparent.
Thanks, but do we know how often this is updated? For example, the previous post said Navy is not doing PMR, but this website shows otherwise.
 
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Thanks, but do we know how often this is updated? For example, the previous post said Navy is not doing PMR, but this website shows otherwise.
The bottom of the page says 2020.

From what I understood from my readings, HPSP and even USUHS students can still get approval to train at a civilian residency if there are no military residency slots for the specialty of choice. So the previous post is correct and there is another level of nuance to this question I think.

So if I'm not mistaken, if a student wants to do PMR but there are no military residency slots available for PMR that year, they can participate in the civ residency match program assuming they receive permission to do so. I think the number of slots for each specialty in mil med varies from year-to-year as well. Matthew can probably fact-check me on all of this lol. At any rate, here is direct diction from their FAQ:

Will I participate in the same Match Day as civilian residents?
Military medical students in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) must participate in a military match, and they will apply to the military Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board. The military match takes place in December, before the civilian match. Military residency programs are just as competitive as civilian programs. If you do not match with a military residency or there are not enough residency slots for your specialty, the Military may grant permission for you to participate in the civilian match.
 
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The bottom of the page says 2020.

From what I understood from my readings, HPSP and even USUHS students can still get approval to train at a civilian residency if there are no military residency slots for the specialty of choice. So the previous post is correct and there is another level of nuance to this question I think.

So if I'm not mistaken, if a student wants to do PMR but there are no military residency slots available for PMR that year, they can participate in the civ residency match program assuming they receive permission to do so. I think the number of slots for each specialty in mil med varies from year-to-year as well. Matthew can probably fact-check me on all of this lol. At any rate, here is direct diction from their FAQ:

Will I participate in the same Match Day as civilian residents?
Military medical students in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) must participate in a military match, and they will apply to the military Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board. The military match takes place in December, before the civilian match. Military residency programs are just as competitive as civilian programs. If you do not match with a military residency or there are not enough residency slots for your specialty, the Military may grant permission for you to participate in the civilian match.
Thanks. Would you suggest people not really keen on serving to apply for HPSP for the sake of scholarship?
 
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Thanks. Would you suggest people not really keen on serving to apply for HPSP for the sake of scholarship?
Probably not.

FWIW, I'm a civilian right now and I'm set on mil med but it's because I'm quite alright with (and excited by) all of the moving around, the rigid discipline, the physical requirements, the leadership, and the risks associated with military professions. The relatively lower salary is not a big deal for me since my only financial goals in life are to not be in debt and to own my own house one day lol.

But I feel like anyone who isn't okay with those arguably negative prospects is going to end up regretting their decision especially since they'll make up the money with a civilian attending's salary
 
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The bottom of the page says 2020.

From what I understood from my readings, HPSP and even USUHS students can still get approval to train at a civilian residency if there are no military residency slots for the specialty of choice. So the previous post is correct and there is another level of nuance to this question I think.

So if I'm not mistaken, if a student wants to do PMR but there are no military residency slots available for PMR that year, they can participate in the civ residency match program assuming they receive permission to do so. I think the number of slots for each specialty in mil med varies from year-to-year as well. Matthew can probably fact-check me on all of this lol. At any rate, here is direct diction from their FAQ:

Will I participate in the same Match Day as civilian residents?
Military medical students in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) must participate in a military match, and they will apply to the military Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board. The military match takes place in December, before the civilian match. Military residency programs are just as competitive as civilian programs. If you do not match with a military residency or there are not enough residency slots for your specialty, the Military may grant permission for you to participate in the civilian match.

This isn’t really correct. The services put out a notice every year with the number of slots for each specialty, both for in-service, out-service, and deferred spots. You can only get permission to apply to civilian programs for a specialty if the service is allowing it.

So for example, right now the only specialties authorized for deferment in the Navy for PGY-1 (deferred means you are in IRR and not on active duty for residency) are gas, EM, gen surg, neurosurg, ortho, and psych. So if you want to do one of those, they may grant you permission to go to a civilian program. If you wanted to do PMR, you’d be out of luck because they have zero PGY-2 FTIS and FTOS spots and no availability for deferment.

There are some FTOS spots for those specialties above as well, where you effectively get your military salary and benefits while going to a civilian program, but there are not many of those spots.
 
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Thanks. Would you suggest people not really keen on serving to apply for HPSP for the sake of scholarship?

My anecdotal experience with HPSP students shows a success rate of about 50:50. When it works out it's a thing of beauty. When it doesn't, well, it can be incredibly sad and painful to watch. The key determinant from my limited data set appears to be the student's inherent desire/willingness to serve. If that isn't part of your equation then be prepared to accept years of misery.
 
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@Matthew9Thirtyfive is the go-to guy on milmed. I have been thinking about it for the same reasons you are. The advice is to be VERY careful because if you don't do it for the right reasons (genuine desire to serve), you will hate it. It's a ton of money, but, as a MD, you WILL be able to pay it back. Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?

The answer is absolutely yes if you really want to serve, but probably not if graduating debt free means doing something you don't want to do, in a place you don't want to be and risking finding yourself mid career lacking clinical skills if you end up being a paper pusher while serving out your commitment. This is is not a guaranteed outcome, but it's definitely a risk. The SDN milmed forum is a good place to get a ton of experienced perspectives. Good luck!!!
Hi. What do you mean by "Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?" Thank you!
 

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Hi. What do you mean by "Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?" Thank you!

Is not having the debt worth potentially having your specialty options limited because the Army/Navy/Air Force decided they don't really need any active duty radiation oncologists or PMR docs, or having to move every 3 years, or not getting to spend your entire career in academics or research? You can have a lot of control over your career in the military, but you also give up a lot.
 
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Hi. What do you mean by "Is the money worth maybe losing control of the course of your career?" Thank you!
Is not having the debt worth potentially having your specialty options limited because the Army/Navy/Air Force decided they don't really need any active duty radiation oncologists or PMR docs, or having to move every 3 years, or not getting to spend your entire career in academics or research? You can have a lot of control over your career in the military, but you also give up a lot.
@Matthew9Thirtyfive is really the expert on this. He is ex-military and now attends USUHS. He captured most of what I was trying to say, but keep in mind my info comes from the SDN milmed forums, not first hand experience.

The other huge potential drawback is that, depending on where you end up being assigned, you could end up not only not practicing the specialty you wanted, but also maybe having clinical skills either atrophy or never properly develop. No problem if you really want to serve and expect to spend 20+ years in the military. Big problem if you expect to leave after 4 years and your clinical skills end up sucking compared to your civilian peers when you are looking for a job.

THAT'S losing control of your career. It certainly doesn't happen to everyone, but, it's a real possibility and it's totally beyond your control once you are in.
:cool:

Just read a few years' worth of posts on the relevant SDN forum for various first hand accounts of the pros and cons of HPSP. It's worth keeping in mind that there really is no free lunch. As competitive as HPSP is, it's nowhere near as competitive as just getting into med school, or getting into a top school, or as one would think a full ride med school scholarship with a guaranteed job on the back end would be. There is a reason for this! :cool:
 
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The other huge potential drawback is that, depending on where you end up being assigned, you could end up not only not practicing the specialty you wanted, but also maybe having clinical skills either atrophy or never properly develop. No problem if you really want to serve and expect to spend 20+ years in the military. Big problem if you expect to leave after 4 years and your clinical skills end up sucking compared to your civilian peers when you are looking for a job.

Skill atrophy can be a real problem. It will also depend on the specialty. Family medicine in the Navy is super busy and practices full scope FM doing a lot more than most civilian FPs. Some surgical specialties have trouble keeping their skills up because the majority of patients are healthy and young, and on deployment they may not operate very much or at all.

You are not likely to not get the specialty you want. Most specialties have at least a few spots, and unlike the civilian world, not matching the first time doesn’t count against you. So if you want to be a cardiologist for example, you might have to do a tour as an internist first for a few years, but that won’t hurt you when trying to match to fellowship—to the contrary it will help you.

Most people get their first choice specialty, though part of that is self selection because if they aren’t training rad oncs, then no one is selecting that as their first choice.

Also, just to clarify, I’m prior enlisted but like all my classmates at USUHS, I’m active duty. So I’m not ex-military, I’m current military. ;)
 
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Skill atrophy can be a real problem. It will also depend on the specialty. Family medicine in the Navy is super busy and practices full scope FM doing a lot more than most civilian FPs. Some surgical specialties have trouble keeping their skills up because the majority of patients are healthy and young, and on deployment they may not operate very much or at all.

You are not likely to not get the specialty you want. Most specialties have at least a few spots, and unlike the civilian world, not matching the first time doesn’t count against you. So if you want to be a cardiologist for example, you might have to do a tour as an internist first for a few years, but that won’t hurt you when trying to match to fellowship—to the contrary it will help you.

Most people get their first choice specialty, though part of that is self selection because if they aren’t training rad oncs, then no one is selecting that as their first choice.

Also, just to clarify, I’m prior enlisted but like all my classmates at USUHS, I’m active duty. So I’m not ex-military, I’m current military. ;)
Sorry for the misclassification. Prior military is what I meant. I know better -- my bad!!! :cool: My point simply that you know way more than a typical USUHS M1 by virtue of your prior service.

Bottom line -- my knowledge is not first hand, but I HAVE been looking into it (spoke to a recruiter at new student orientation a few years ago, talked to premed advisor and have been diligently reading the forums and the military websites) because I do have some interest in serving and would love to graduate debt free. My problem is, reading all the negativity on the milmed forum, I realize my level of commitment is nowhere near yours, and it seems like that is necessary in order for it to work. Otherwise, while it could very well work out fine, Murphy's Law dictates that regrets will overwhelm financial benefits.
 
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Nov 21, 2019
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Is not having the debt worth potentially having your specialty options limited because the Army/Navy/Air Force decided they don't really need any active duty radiation oncologists or PMR docs, or having to move every 3 years, or not getting to spend your entire career in academics or research? You can have a lot of control over your career in the military, but you also give up a lot.
You only have to move around during your four years of service right? Could be wrong though, thank you!
 
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Skill atrophy can be a real problem. It will also depend on the specialty. Family medicine in the Navy is super busy and practices full scope FM doing a lot more than most civilian FPs. Some surgical specialties have trouble keeping their skills up because the majority of patients are healthy and young, and on deployment they may not operate very much or at all.

You are not likely to not get the specialty you want. Most specialties have at least a few spots, and unlike the civilian world, not matching the first time doesn’t count against you. So if you want to be a cardiologist for example, you might have to do a tour as an internist first for a few years, but that won’t hurt you when trying to match to fellowship—to the contrary it will help you.

Most people get their first choice specialty, though part of that is self selection because if they aren’t training rad oncs, then no one is selecting that as their first choice.

Also, just to clarify, I’m prior enlisted but like all my classmates at USUHS, I’m active duty. So I’m not ex-military, I’m current military. ;)
how common is skill atrophy? is it pretty common for all specialities?
 
Nov 21, 2019
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Probably not.

FWIW, I'm a civilian right now and I'm set on mil med but it's because I'm quite alright with (and excited by) all of the moving around, the rigid discipline, the physical requirements, the leadership, and the risks associated with military professions. The relatively lower salary is not a big deal for me since my only financial goals in life are to not be in debt and to own my own house one day lol.

But I feel like anyone who isn't okay with those arguably negative prospects is going to end up regretting their decision especially since they'll make up the money with a civilian attending's salary
about how much lower are military salaries?
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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You only have to move around during your four years of service right? Could be wrong though, thank you!

Yes, you are in one place usually for residency. If you do HPSP you might not have to move while you’re doing your 4 year payback, depending on your specialty and how much your specialty leader likes you.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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how common is skill atrophy? is it pretty common for all specialities?

Depends on the specialty, where you’re stationed, etc. Some specialties get plenty of patients and don’t have this problem. Some mostly see a few types of pathologies and have to moonlight to keep up their other skills.
 
Oct 22, 2020
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Its worth mentioning that mil med may be changing significantly with a greater emphasis on combat-oriented specialties. The military is less interested in retaing peds over surgeons, and is looking to outsource a lot of it's civilian oriented care. However, this has been a push that people have been trying to make since my mom was doing Navy manpower planning in the early 2000s and nothing has come of it yet. Defense Health Agency has a plan to do this and it was authorized in the National Defense Authorization but its also meeting some poltical resistance and I'm sure COVID will juice arguments to slow or reverse this movement.

In terms of serving, I did 5 years in the Marines (infantry) as lower enlisted and it is what you make of it. I don't support the argument that you should *only* serve if your initial interest are idealistic and unrelated to the financial benefits. Those perks exist for a reason... to get people's foot in the door. I know plenty of people who didn't exactly have a higher calling to military service and yet found it rewarding and fulfilling nonetheless. More importantly than your motivation is to understand what you are getting into, decide whether it's worth it to you for whatever reason, and make the best of it. Even the most idealistic youngsters have to confront the realities of the military and your success depends a lot more on your character and a positive mental attitude, and a lot less on what your motivations are for joining. The military can be hard to love for anyone.

That said, I don't know how competitive HPSP is but I do have confidence that USUHS actively screens for whether you actually want to be in the military or not. If anyone is seeking to join purely because of the benefits pretty much every interviewer will know. Obviously the military wants doctors who want to actually be in the military over those looking to get out as soon as their obligation is up. And they want Officers who will actually be Officers as opposed to physicians merely wearing rank insignia. Apply for whatever reason you want but understand their are applicants out there who have military experience or connections to genuine desires to serve, and you will be competing against them for boatspaces.

This is more for anyone else thinking of going in. Not being a citizen is a non-starter. I don't know how quickly you could become a citizen but if you can't do it in a year or two then HPSP is definitely not worth it. There are other financial incentives for joining afterwards though that you could explore if you gained citizenship.

As for life in the military itself, it really isn't *that* bad and its probably much better as an Officer / Doctor than it is for junior enlisted rifleman. You will not be a combatant and I wouldn't worry about the prospects of combat at all. Even in a wartime military, as support, you are probably going to have to actively seek out billets closer to combat. Even if you were forward deployed to a major base in like Afghanistan, those places have air conditioned hooches and pizza hut, and almost nothing goes on there. Moving all the time is whatever. Two of my close friends are an Officer couple and they have essentially been able to stay in SoCal for going on 8 years now. Its not guaranteed that you won't have to move but there are plenty of people who manage to stay in a certain geographic region, maybe they get stuck going to Yokosuka or something for a tour but whatever, there are worse things than going to Japan or Naples for two years. Growing up, my parents were career Navy and outside a 2 year stint overseas we managed to stay in one place after I was like 5 or something.
 
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