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Civilian and Military...couples match even possible?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by JDArmyDoc, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. JDArmyDoc

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    I am military and have been dating a girl who's not (both second year medical students). She has no interest in joining, but I've started thinking further down the road. What are the options? I've read past forum posts that say find out what city you're going to be in (the military match being earlier) and just apply to slots in that city. If I were to try to defer out of the military match and get a civilian spot, would couples matching even be a possibility, or do the dates just not match up (for instance would applications for civilian couples match be before I even found out if I had matched military or deferred)? Would it screw her if I ended up matching military and we had planned on a couples match? If I was navy or air force, would the answer be any different?

    JD
     
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  3. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD
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    Tough boat to be in. If you get a deferral in the military match, you could couples match in the civilian match. If you do not, she can do a regular old match and hope to score a program in the same city as your military program. By that time, you'll know where the 2 or 3 programs in your branch and your specialty are, so just be sure she applies to all the programs in those cities. There is a good chance you could be screwed over in this whole delicate process, so study hard to keep more options open for both of you!
     
  4. JDArmyDoc

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    Thanks for the info. Around what date will I know if a deferral has been granted? I've read various threads about my chances of getting a deferral...I want to do OBGYN or peds. I've heard chances of getting deferred are worse for primary care specialties such as FM, peds, OB, etc. Is that pretty accurate?
     
  5. 46&2

    46&2 Member
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    Military match list comes out in mid-December for all services. Maybe you could find out earlier if you know someone in high places.

    The Army does not make their match list as accessible as the Air Force or Navy's. But for a comparison, only 3 out of 27 received a deferment for pediatrics in the AF (and the AF is supposedly more liberal in giving deferments). Six who matched are supposed to go to Kessler, which may not even receive RRC approval (i.e. they may go to the local civilian program). For Ob/Gyn, 3 out of 13 got deferred. Family medicine was a little better, something like 17/52 were deferred. Surprisingly, ortho and pathology were the best bets for deferment this year (if you could even get in the former).

    Also, realize those who've done a GMO tour and aren't USUHS have a better chance of getting a deferment; they may take 1 of those precious spots. Getting into Army peds or Ob/Gyn itself isn't a guarantee either (although I bet family med is a safe call).

    My girlfriend is a class year behind me, so I thought about the options quite a bit myself. A possibility is for one of you (most likely your gf) to take a year off to do research or something and then match later. She'll then know for sure where you'll be, and can then apply strategically and do away rotations at whatever institutions are in close proximity.

    Getting the deferment is tough, so I'd also be wary that if I didn't get a deferment, I'd match into an area with lots of residency programs. San Antonio (BAMC) only has the University of Texas within an hour's drive. El Paso and Tacoma also don't sound like good options. Washington DC/Bethesda, though, would be great. You also have the slight possibility of going to an AF program if there are extenuating circumstances.

    Worst case scenario, you have to do 2-3 years of GMO. In the AF, it's easy to get a deferred transitional year before becoming a flight surgeon. But where you go after that is tough to say.

    And, of course, the couples match is tough enough. You'd probably be interviewing way before mid-December to ensure you and your gf have enough places to rank together.
     
  6. West Side

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    I would caution against thinking that the deferral is some sort of competitive situation, unless you're gunning hard for mediocrity. From the unenlightened observer's perspective, deferments seems to be handed out as such:
    • The best candidates are kept in house, to replenish a system already shorthanded. They're given military residencies.
    • The worst are kept around to avoid scramble nightmares; they're shunted into GMO tours.
    • The very middle of the pack are lucky enough to pursue a deferment spot. Lucky them for not studying TOO too hard!
     
  7. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD
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    This is a gross generalization. I asked for a deferral and was granted it despite being extremely competitive in the civilian match. I may not have been "the best candidate" by military match standards since I had no prior service, but I think saying the best candidates are kept in house is a bit far-fetched.

    Of course, I actually went to the trouble to interview at every program in my specialty in my branch of service just to tell the program directors I really, really wanted a deferment. I think that may have had something to do with it.
     
  8. JDArmyDoc

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    My question then is if I won't find out until mid December if I can actually get a deferrment, how does it affect the civilian member of the couples match since we would apply much earlier than that (like early/mid september)? Does it just ruin her chances of matching at any program, much less a program close to me? What happens to her application if I match military? I may be confused on the dates...

    Thanks to all who have offered advice btw.
     
  9. 46&2

    46&2 Member
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    It doesn't affect the civilian member at all.

    With couples match, your gf can rank any program she interviews at, even if you're no longer in the match. The NMRP will automatically withdraw you from the civilian match if the military chooses you. Even if things are really bad, they'll try to match at least one person. For example, with a couple I know, one matched into a residency and the other had to scramble (and no, he didn't choose to scramble). As a couple, you can have any combination of residencies; you could put two different programs in two different states as a possibility. You don't even have to interview at the same programs.

    So, at the start of the year, you both apply to a boatload of programs in similar areas. You'll probably be interviewing in late Nov-early Dec. You find out mid-December if you're deferred or not. If so, great. If not, you're no longer in the match, but your gf is fine. As long as she interviews at a program, she can put it on her rank list. If you match military, then she should just put the programs close to your base high on her rank list. Hence, it would be wise to apply to civilian programs near a base. You're automatically in the running for the Army programs, whether you like it or not. You must rank at least one military program (in the Air Force), and if you do that you're in jeopardy of being a GMO.

    I'm not saying this is an optimal solution, but it may be easier for both of you if you ranked Army bases near a major metropolitan area ahead of a deferment. You're more likely to get the Army program of your choosing. Even if you rank deferment #1, it's still a good idea for your gf to apply to programs around Bethesda and such. Then, if you get deferred and never liked the civilian programs around the military bases, your gf can simply decline any interview offers there.

    And I would echo the sentiment of the previous poster. If you want a deferment, fight for it, don't hide.
     
  10. West Side

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    That's great advice. All the HPSP people I've met are scared s-less that by doing so, they'll tick off someone in the wrong catbird seat and be shipped to Craptown, USA...or worse.
     
  11. alpha62

    alpha62 Membership Revoked
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    The very best get sent to, or ask for, unplesant duty in far way hostile places... then they get killed.

    Reverse Darwinism is the lifes blood of the military medical officer retirement scheme.
     

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