Here is an excerpt from the Nov 2003 US Medicine newsletter by a retired Navy Admiral physician that reveals an area of concern among the "higher-ups" regarding the quality of incoming HPSP/USUHS students: "...tomorrow I will gather with several other members of the Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Services (SMCAF) to discuss a matter of concern in military medicine. At the meeting are about two dozen senior physicians including a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD (HA)), the president of USU, three former Surgeons General (SG), many other retired Flag and General Officer physicians and several prominent civilian medical school academic faculty SMCAF members. No current senior leaders are present from the Office of the ASD (HA) or the military services. Each of the services sends a staff officer to present a brief. Here is a consolidation of the information from the briefs about the matter of concern: * USU has experienced a 50 per cent drop in applications over the last five years. MCAT scores have held steady at the average for most state schools, but are below the average of top-tier schools. USU accounts for about 12 per cent of current accessions but because its graduates have longer obligated service they make up 24 per cent of today's military physicians. * HPSP provides three-quarters of military physician accessions. Applications for HPSP have declined over the last five years from more than four to less than two per scholarship. Five years ago many scholarships went to students attending top-tier schools. This year there are none. Now HPSP students' mean MCAT scores are at the minimum for acceptance to allopathic medical schools. Over half of this year's scholarships went to osteopathic students, although there are only twenty osteopathic schools and 125 allopathic schools in the nation." The full link: http://www.usmedicine.com/column.cfm?columnID=147&issueID=56 To compound the problem of decreasing numbers and quality of applicants is the reality that the military is losing its best staff physicians to the civilian sector. This leaves the less-stellar staff physicians to train a pool of less-than-stellar incoming HPSP/USUHS graduates. This poses a major challenge for the future of military medicine.