Navy reserves to HPSP?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by penguinluvinman, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. penguinluvinman

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    I am currently a junior in college (though I still have 2 years left because I'm a double major), and want to get an MD and PhD to become a medical scientist as well as a practicing trauma surgeon.
    Since you can't apply for the HPSP until after being accepted into med school, I was considering joining the Navy reserves now for my remaining 2 years of undergraduate schooling. I was just wondering how (and if...) the transition here would work. I don't know very much about the reserves in general yet. Can you join the reserves as an officer and go through ODS, or does that only apply for active duty? If so, would I be able to apply for HPSP while already in the reserves after (hopefully) getting accepted into medical school, and if so where would I go from there?
    Another random question....is there much opportunity for medical research in the military? And would I be allowed to go to graduate school before serving back my time (like in an MD-PhD program), or would I be better off doing that after my active duty commitment is over (I do plan to stay in the reserves afterward for a 20 year total).

    Sorry if this topic has been beaten to death, but I haven't been able to find much on going from the reserves to HPSP.
    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member
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    A few things to comment on in your post.

    1) You don't have to be accepted into medical school to apply for HPSP. You need to be currently applying for medical school. That is good enough. You won't get your final selection until you have a letter of acceptance from a medical school, but the paperwork and professional recommendation can already be done.

    2) Reserves in college: I don't see any benefit. Not needed to get into HPSP and can cause you to lose focus on what is really important which is doing well in school.

    3) PhD/MD (My wife reminds me the PhD is the academically higher degree and should go first) The Navy will occasionally allow a student in HPSP complete a PhD, but it is the exception rather than the rule and I have seen them tell multiple students no to trying for a PhD. When they give you the scholarship, they want you to graduate 4 years later. A PhD is not needed for the practice of medicine. If getting a PhD is really important to you, joining in medical school may not (really is not) be your best option. FAP or direct accession would be a better choice. Should you actually go down the trauma surgery road, you would be most welcome at either stage (FAP/DA) and could even just join the reserves vice going active duty (thought that would rule out FAP).
     
  3. MTGas2B

    MTGas2B Cloudy and 50
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    I would echo the above regarding doing PhD with HPSP. Probably a tough sell for the Navy, also most of the MD/PhD MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Programs) are fully funded by NIH. Financially, MD/PhD wouldn't dig you a hole, you just aren't making much in those 8 years. That kind of puts you back in the position of looking at FAP (Financial Assistance Program) or DA route. Also, MD/PhD programs are pretty competitive.

    The other question to ask yourself is do you need a PhD to be a medical scientist? No, not really. If you want to be a hard core bench researcher, then there is some advantage. For certain areas it can give you a huge leg up, but if you want to be a physician scientist you can easily do it with just an MD. There are plenty physician scientists without PhDs.

    If you ultimately decide to do trauma surgery (btw trauma surgery training and research is really more about critical care than about surgery), during your general surgery residency you would have the opportunity to add a research year, and later on in fellowship you would have the chance to add another year and do research, even a masters. With FAP you could probably get an extension for a trauma fellowship (see my comment below about this), but probably couldn't get a funded extension for research time.

    Note: I'm not a surgeon, and not as familiar with their community in regards to things like this. I'm an anesthesiologist who did HPSP followed by NADDS and extended my NADDS time for a critical care fellowship. NADDS is easier to extend, since its not funded time. Although, right now NADDS is probably pretty much shut off, because they need all of the HPSP grads just to fill their own internship spots and GMO billets. I believe the general surgeons are currently understaffed, compared to my community who is currently slightly overstaffed, so my guess is they are trying to get all the newly minted general surgeons into general surgery billets, and offer fellowship later as a retention carrot.

    Unless someone is pretty hardcore about MD/PhD after undergrad I would recommend the MD route with research training later. I've met several MD/PhD who by the time the finish residency are so sick of academics they have no desire to be physician researchers, and they end up in private practice.
     
  4. CorpsmanToMO

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    I did almost exactly what you are speaking of. Myjr year of college I joined the navy reserves as a HM. However, my reasoningbehind it was to make sure the military was a good fit for me and to also getsome hands on practical experience which I could use to help aid me in mymedical school applications. Also it helped me out with my HPSP application,having three recommendations from O-6 medical officers was a big help in myschool apps and HPSP. Also I would recommend starting your HPSP application assoon as possible, even if you don’t submit your application till the year youapply for medical schools it will help having all the information handy andready to be submitted. After all it is rolling admissions, so get your app infirst.

    You do run a couple risks going into the reserveswhile in school i.e. deployments. If you do join and choose to be an HM theymight make you go 8404 with the MC, then your odds of deployment are prettyhigh. Keep that in mind, it might mean longer time in undergrad. If they say you can join as a 0000 HM makesure you read your contract and 8404 does not appear anywhere on it. It’salways a roll of the dice.
     
  5. Wheelwash

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    Wow, I have been lurking in this forum for a few weeks now, and I feel like I need to say thank you for this information. I am going to be a sophomore this fall and my plan is Navy HPSP, and was thinking that going into the reserves would help for app to Navy and medical school...on top of just being a good way to get my feet wet in the military. I hope I'm not hijacking the thread by asking this question, but for you personally how much time do you spend actually doing you HM rate? Is it still realistic to be doing 18 hour semesters? One bonus I think for me is that I live in Corpus Christi Texas and my school is literally right next to NAS CC.

    Thanks again for your post!
     
  6. CorpsmanToMO

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    I’m not sure how long HM A school is anymore or what the curriculum is likebut let’s say its 4 months of very good basic medical skills and knowledge.Similar to the training of an EMT. From there I think they are making all malesgo to Field Med School (8404). There you will learn how to operate with the MarineCorps (MC), some more general medical knowledge and skills (a little morespecific to combat), and also pretend to train like a jar head. Now in betweenCorps school and Field Med they were having the HM's work in the VA Hospital.Not doing anything more than a nurse’s assistant would do, however you get tolearn how to operate in the hospital work environment.

    During a drill weekend most of the time I would do vitals for physicals, abunch of blood draws, immunizations, electronic medical record data entry, andusually some training. It all depends on how the unit is setup and whatresources they have. I was with a navy reserve unit not a MC unit but the MCunits usually went out in the field, so the HM's placed a lot of IV's fordehydration, rapped ankles, and gave out 800 mg ibuprofen.

    The best hands on medical training and practice occurred when I went on myannual training (AT). For about 2 weeks a year you go to a navy medicalfacility and work in one of the departments. Sometimes there are opportunitiesto do medical relief missions, floats on the USS Comfort, or other specialmedical missions/training. This is the best time to get your hands dirty andactually practice medicine.

    One of the best things that you will be able to get out of being in thereserves is interactions with the Navy Docs you work with. Learn from them, ask for advice, ask whatthey like and dislike about practicing medicine in the Navy. Make contacts and keep them for later whenyou need recommendations for med school.

    Taking 18 hrs wouldn’t be a problem, if you plan on going to medical schoolyou have to learn how to balance your time and stay on top of a crazy schedule.If there is a weekend where you can’t make it to drill because you have 5 teststhe following week then you can arrange to do a makeup drill later on with yourunit.

    My only words of warning is realize you do have a chance of being deployedand therefore increase the time it would take to complete undergrad and get intomedical school. Make sure you do yourresearch before deciding what you want to do. Call your local unit up and ask if you could see what the medical unitdoes on a typical drill weekend and talk to some of the people in theirunit.
     
  7. Wheelwash

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    Thanks a lot for this ^!!
    I'm definitely still in the deciding process as my goal thus
    far has been to sail through undergrad as quickly as possible.
    Although being delayed a little wouldn't be so bad in this case as
    I am not only serving in the Navy but getting invaluable experience for
    my career, thanks again for the information you provided.:)

    If you don't mind, could you PM me your email address in case I have anymore
    quite lengthy questions about your experiences?

    Thanks!!
     

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