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I have come to a fork in the road...yet again. MSU, PCOM, UNT-TCOM--Comments?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by RDJ, Nov 1, 2000.

  1. RDJ


    Ok, I am going to throw this one out there and see if there is anything I have not thought about. My question is:

    Should I attend 1) Michigan State, 2) Philadelphia COM or 3) UNT-TCOM (this is my current ranking and I have been accepted to MSU and PCOM)?

    I am asking for opinions from current students/docs at these schools (why should I pick your school?), as well as any interested and informed third parties.

    Before you answer, here is a little about me and my interests:

    I am 29 years old, from Virginia (all my family is still there) and I am a first generation college student. I joined the Army after high school for the educational benefits. After a short stint as a Military Policeman, I was recruited into Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) where I served six years as a Special Operations Medic/Physician Extender (lots of cool worldwide experience with people/doctors of all sorts). Hence, my interest in medicine was born. I left the Active Duty Army to finish my bachelor's in biology and a minor in community health education at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I graduate this coming December.

    I had a number of D.O. mentors in the military and that is what sparked my interest in Osteopathic Medicine. Moreover, I am a supervisor in the U.S. Army Reserve; the attending physicians I worked with at Brooke Army Medical Center further fostered my D.O. interests, not to mention a good friend of mine who is a D.O. here in San Antonio. My goal is to attend a DO/MPH program and go on to a career in Family/Community Medicine. I plan to use the NHSC scholarship, or something similar, to finance medical school. In addition, I will transfer to the Army National Guard while in Medical School (no, there is no chance of being deployed as a medical student). Ergo, I am not using tuition as a big factor in choosing schools (if you have not noticed I am rather service oriented). I interviewed, in sequence, at UNT-TCOM, UT-Houston (MD/MPH), UT-San Antonio (MD/MPH), LECOM, UHS, PCOM (DO/MPH), AZCOM, Michigan State (DO/MPH) and NSU (DO/MPH). I am in love with MSU and PCOM. I will not list the reasons; most of you know that these two schools are comparable in reputation and quality.
    One last thing, I know what residency I would like to do (I?d better if I am going to sign that NHSC contract...if selected). My goal is to get into a FP/EM or IM/EM residency (there are a good number of IM/EM residencies, but the only FP/EM ones are at MSU, OSU and NYCOM). Most people ask, ?what the heck are these good for?? Well, I think they make incredibly well rounded physicians, especially for someone desiring to work in underserved areas, or in part-time military service. I think there is no better way to prepare. By the way, I have run this by all my mentors and it was in my personal statements, it seems everyone thinks it is a good plan.

    Anyway, that is me in a nut-shell. Thanks beforehand for any positive or CONSTRUCTIVELY critical comments.


    Oh yea, I have not been accepted to UNT. They do not release acceptances until 15 January. Texas has a horrible habit of interviewing people in August and then making them wait five months to find out the outcome.

    [This message has been edited by RDJ (edited 11-01-2000).]

    [This message has been edited by RDJ (edited 11-02-2000).]
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  3. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    This is just somewhat vaguely related to your post but you mention the NHSC scholarship route and your interest in IM/EM or FP/EM. A few years ago, you could only do joint residency programs while on the NHSC if both fields were "primary care". Have they changed their rules since? If so, could you direct me to some material stating so. I have a friend who is interested in EM (in any kind of combination) and thought about applying to the NHSC, but was told by a current scholarship recipient that they don't take people who want to do EM. Thanks
  4. RDJ


    I have been in contact with them a great deal. The rule is, "after your residency you must be board eligible for a primary care specialty." As you know, they insist on primary care and do not allow most to do fellowships. They have been known to make acceptations if someone is accepted to a fellowship in OB/GYN designed for the rural family physician, or something similar. The FP/EM or IM/EM is not excluded. However, you must obtain the FP or IM Board Certification. The EM to them is mute.

    Hope this helps. If anybody has been told anything different, let me know. I did call on three separate occasions and talked to three different "advisors/counselors" and that is what they al told me.

    In addition, another question that comes up often. What happens if my DO/MPH program is five years long? The answer is, they will ONLY pay for four years. You will be on your own, for either the first year or the fifth.
  5. Pikevillemedstudent

    Pikevillemedstudent Bengals Fan 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2000
    Being from Virginia, you should definitely apply to Pikeville. We recently added a DO/MPH program with the University of Kentucky. There is some kind of tution reduction for those interested in the program. We just found this out here about two weeks ago. I assume most out there don't know about this. Thought you might be interested.
  6. smme

    smme Junior Member

    Oct 30, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    MSU! If you are sure you can obtain a scholarship then I would definitely go to MSU (MSU as out of state is 35,000). If not, than go to the cheapest school. MSU was ranked in the top 10 for primary care and it is a huge honor that you were interviewed as a non-Michigan resident.

    I have a question for you... when do you apply for National Health Scholarships? Also, do you remember if PCOM sent you a letter telling you that your application was complete?
  7. RDJ


    1) Applications for the NHSC scholarship will be available in December. Unfortunately, they will not mail one to you unless you have received an acceptance. However, if you expect to recieve one, I was told to tell a white lie and say that you have. That way, you can get started and mail it out the day you get your letter. Their application is quite lengthy. However, it is all fill-in-the-blank. The purpose is to see if you match their "profile" and are the type who will do well in underserved areas. The next big step is doing well in the interview. They only have a limited number per year, good applicants get turned down all the time. Time is important; try to apply early. One happy note though, their budget for fiscal year 2001 was approved and it is quite fat.

    2) I did receive a letter from P.C.O.M. that confirmed my application was complete. You can also call, they are pretty nice about helping you.

    Good Luck

    [This message has been edited by RDJ (edited 11-02-2000).]
  8. Doc Oc

    Doc Oc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Does this NHSC (I think I mixed the letters up) have a website? My husband and I plan to live in rural Maine after I finish med school, residency, etc. and I'm pretty sure that wherever we live and I end up practicing will be an underserved area. I would be very interested in learning more about it.
  9. RDJ


  10. jdg



    I'm a first year at PCOM. From what you've listed, it sounds like you would fit in very well at our school. I'm an older student (30) like yourself. You can't beat PCOM for the quality of education, especially 3rd and 4th year clinical rotations. Good luck with your decision making!

    PCOM 2004
  11. glands75

    glands75 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2000
    Do you find that PCOM's class size is too big? I interviewed there early this year and rcvd. my acceptance recently. It is a nice campus and the admissions office was helpful, but the size of the two lecture halls is daunting. Do you feel lost in the crowd there?

  12. RDJ


    I would be lying if I told you that I did not favor a class size of around 120. PCOM does have a large number of students, but their facilities hide the fact rather well. The structuring of their labs is in a manner, which to me, showed no signs of overcrowding. Maybe it is their facilities as a whole. They are second to none! The new buildings, as well as the remodeled, older ones are rather formidable. They handle the number of students (medical, PA, etc) well.
    It is hard to find a single thing bad to say about PCOM. Their instruction, clinicals, facilities, GME offerings, and reputation are outstanding. If I had to be ?picky? and find one thing to complain about, I guess I would say class size. ...but that would definitely qualify as being extremely picky. PCOM Rocks!
  13. DCD

    DCD Junior Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    I had to register just to reply to you.

    I am currently a 2nd year student at PCOM and I am on a NHSC scholarship AND I am very interested in public health.
    First of all, I think you should come to PCOM. While our class size is large, you are constantly broken down into smaller groups. I don't think there is anyone in my class I don't know. Plus the faculty really try to get to know everyone and are always available.
    PCOM has the largest number of students on military scholarships out of any med school in the country so even if you are not going that route there will be many people to share your experiences with. This year we have 15 students on NHSC scholarships, which is a huge number considering there are only 300 given in the country each year and that includes RNs,PAs, MSWs, etc.
    As for our MPH program, it is a 5 year program with Temple that has a community focus. NHSC will not defer you for the extra year to complete the program, however. But there are residency programs where you can complete your residency and gain your MPH at the same time. if you have any questions just let me know.

  14. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow
    As a 4th-year DO/MPH student at UNTHSC-TCOM I can only say good things about the program. The school of public health (only one of two in Texas) is definitely on the rise. TCOM is also very primary-care oriented. I think that you'll find your interests well supported and nurtured as a DO/MPH student at TCOM should you decide to attend. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line.

  15. kidterrific

    kidterrific Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Detroit, MI
    Hey, RDJ - love the posts you give on here.

    Since I'm from Michigan, and have friends @ MSU, I hear a lot of good things about MSU DO. Of course, the number one thing they talk about is the tie ranking with John Hopkins in regards to Primary care. Also, MSU has great teaching hospitals since it is affiliated with the allopathic school. Many of their classes are actually taken with the allopathic students.

    Of course, the one thing you should definately look at is the clinicals. If you aim to go back home, see which schools can send you back to local hospitals. As far as MSU goes, I have no clue (since everyone stays at the better MI hospitals). I strongly suggest you look into this more.

    Also, and I don't know if you care, but MSU DO's anatomy lab is kinda wierd from what I hear. If I'm wrong, people, let me know, but the anatomy lab for DO is pretty much the leftovers from the MSU MD school, and you don't get to dissect, but look at mostly prosected body parts. This, I feel, takes away from the learning, as you don't get a feel for the third dimension as most of the tissue is removed and/or destroyed by other people. This might be a big deal for you. I must say this, however, that people who go there are generally happy and extremely knowledgeable. This includes anatomy.

    I wish you luck, and congratulate you on having such good options. Let me know what you choose.

    [email protected]
  16. Doc Oc

    Doc Oc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 2000

    MSU's DO and MD students share the same, prosected anatomy lab. You are correct, the students do not do the dissecting, at BOTH schools. There is an elective course that med students can take to do some dissecting. I took the course as a senior at MSU, and after taking the course have decided that I definitely want to be able to dissect when I go to medical school. This was part of my reason for turning down my acceptance to MSUCOM. I have both taken and taught gross anatomy at MSU and had the dissecting class, so I'm pretty familiar with the anatomy lab. There are a good number of bodies (~50 on the floor at any one time, not counting the ones being dissected adn the ones in the back), but some of them are old (over 5 years). They have been getting more and more new bodies though, and when I taught the class the lab's condition was much better than when I took it myself. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that nothing about the DO school at MSU is "leftovers" from the MD school, and the students use the same anatomy lab. If there is a lab in the Life Sciences building (which is where the MD school is located) , I am unaware of it.
  17. docflanny

    docflanny Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    cut myself off there: [email protected]

    Matt Flannigan
    MSUCOM Class of 2004

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