Prospective USAF/Navy HPSP Pre-Med

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by DrBrizzle, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. DrBrizzle

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    Hello everyone, and thanks in advance for your help. I am currently a senior applying to medical schools (3.6, 31P). I have no acceptance in hand, but I am very interested in the HPSP scholarship. A few questions for you all (and sorry in advance if I am beating a dead horse here). I have allergic asthma (non- excercise: i run around 20 miles a week w/o inhaler). It is completely controlled by periodic allergy shots. Do I have any chance of obtaining a waiver from either the USAF or the Navy? Secondly, If I post stellar board scores, what are the odds that I will be placed into GMO/FS? I really like the idea of surgery (any kind, ortho, trauma, thoracic etc...). The commitment to the military has no bearing on me, and is something that actually excites me, but how realistic is it the think that if I do well in school and boards that I could place into some type of surgical residency? If I dont match, how long before I can reapply? Thank you again for your input, and I apologize again If this has been beaten to death.
     
  2. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    The military doesn't publish the match data so it's difficult to answer your question.

    If you have stellar board scores and are competing against another applicant who completed a GMO tour with mediocre scores who would win? My experience is the latter applicant would almost always come out on top.

    I'd say you have a 25-50% shot of being forced into a GMO tour. If you are patient enough in the military a lot of times you can get what you want.

    Have you thought about the FAP program? It's like HPSP but the DoD gives you money during residency so you get the specialty you want without risk of GMO.
     
  3. psychbender

    psychbender Cynical Member
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    You can get nearly anything waivered in the military. You might initially get medically DQed for allergic asthma, but follow it up the chain, and you can get your waiver. I got a waiver for asthma, and I've never even had it (stupid MEPS doctor).

    As IgD already stated, none of the branches published true match data, so there really is no way to adequately answer your question without a lot of guess work. Anything surgical is generally competitive, and you probably will have to do a GMO tour in the Navy (talk to Tired about his experiences there). I don't know any current AF HPSP students going for surgical fields, so I can't answer for them. For most surgical programs in the military, I believe you still have to apply during your PGY-1 year (General Surgery, I believe, is not a continual contract specialty for any of the branches). If you don't match, then you will probably do a 2 or 3 year GMO tour, and be allowed to reapply during your last year.

    One question for you: Why not Army? You specifically mention trying for the Air Force and Navy, so what is turning you away from the Army?
     
  4. DrBrizzle

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    thank you both very much for your help, its been great. Psychbender: My decision for USAF/Navy lies mostly with family history (AF, USMC grandparents). Though I suppose not a strong argument, I figure I would be able to get the HPSP for atleast one of them, from the average stats I have seen. Also, I've been told the navy has nice base locations. Are you associated with Army medicine? If so, how do you like it?
     
  5. psychbender

    psychbender Cynical Member
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    My father was a career Naval officer, my grandfather was career Air Force...and I'm in the Army. My dad still jokingly gives me crap for joining the Army. I only vaguely remember being asked about family in the military when I was applying for HPSP, and don't think it directly helps. Considering how noncompetitive the scholarships are right now, I don't think it truly matters whether or not family members were in the military.

    The Navy does have some nice base locations, and the Army does have some really crappy ones, so I can buy that as an argument. I'm a 4th year HPSPer with the Army, and so far have few pertinent negatives to relate. However, since I have not been active duty for anything other than my brief ADTs, its hard to accrue negative experiences. I'd have to say that so far, Army medicine has been good to me. Like many of my friends, I managed to match at my number 1 location and specialty this cycle, so will get to train without interruption. That is more than I can say for some of my compatriots in the Air Force and Navy. Initially, I leaned heavily toward the Navy for family reasons, but was turned away by the idea of an almost mandatory GMO tour for anything remotely competitive.

    Judging from some of my attendings literally counting down the days until their committments were up, I am sure that I will accumulate my fair share of horror stories and frustrations. For now, though, I am fairly positive with regards to the Army and milmed.
     
  6. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Chances of a GMO tour in the Air Force are about 20-25% overall, and up to 50% depending on some specialties. If you go through a two-year tour and re-apply, you'll have a much better shot of matching the second time around. I can't give you any numbers as the Air Force will not release any stats. However, since you're not concerned with time, the GMO tour would be a good way to beef up your application, albeit it's a delay in doing so.
     
  7. DrBrizzle

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    Thanks for the great help everyone!
     
  8. sethco

    sethco Senior Member
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    Also, a GMO tour is no guarantee of getting your residency of choice. I have 2 Flight Surgeons in my office that applied to the JSGME this year. One was given an alternate in EM and the other was denied for Derm. I also knew of others at other bases that were given alternates/denied for Rads and Anesthesia
     
  9. atomi

    atomi Member
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    When you all are saying GMO/FS tour, do you all mean that the HPSP student gets sent on a tour right after graduation, then after 1-2 years has a better shot of matching into any residency? Do those 1-2 years of GMO/FS count towards your 4-year payback or are they considered a residency?

    How can you be a GMO/FS without any residency training? Do you do an intern year first? I guess my question is, what is the worst case in terms of time for the amount of time I would have to remain in the AF to get the residency of my choice (ortho surg.)??
     
  10. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    The HPSP student gets sent out on a GMO/FS tour after graduating internship (1 year of training post medical school).

    That's the big question: How can you be a GMO/FS without residency training? The proponents would argue that you don't need residency training (only internship) to do the job. You are never guaranteed your choice of training. Even if you complete a GMO/FS tour, you still have to apply for a position. The odds would be very well in your favor but if you had some serious red flags on your record you might not be able to match.
     
  11. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar
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    In order to do a GMO/FS tour, you must complete an internship year. So, med school +1 year intern +2 years GMO +4 (or 5) years residency. After residency, since you build up a commitment for each year of your residency, you would still owe the military 5-6 years. (1 from your original med school contract and one for each year of residency.)

    I believe that's the math.
     
  12. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    Yes, but what does a better shot mean is difficult to predict based on each services needs at that time. There are people who have had to do 4 years of being an untrained physician, GMO/FS, then get out.

    They count towards payback

    It is illegal to practice medicine in the US and I'm sure many other countries without having formal training, except in the US MILITARY!! So yes, you'll be practicing medicine without formal training. I'm sure the GMO's who post on this board can tell you exactly what they are doing.


    Not if you are doing GMO/FS.

    Worst case, you do 4 yrs GMO/FS, then commit yourself to a military ortho residency during which you acrue more commitment yr per yr.

    Although these questions come up weekly on this forum, it still surprises me how enthusiastic people can be without really knowing the facts. This enthusiasm is what the military thrives off. Then people hook into the system to find out they've been lied to, and become miserable.

    Unless your goal is to be a military officer first and foremost, I would avoid HPSP scholarships like a disease. If you cant get being in the military out of your system, at least get trained in what you really want to do, and the military will always take you. Two to Four years of interupted training with a potentially mediocre GME, followed by a place where your skills may wither, (surgical subspecialties), is no way to start a career in medicine.
     
  13. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor Practicing Doc and Blogger
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    What is it that excites you about being a military doctor? Forget about getting the scholarship, or getting the match. You need to first determine if your idea of what a military doctor does on a daily basis is accurate. If the "commitment to the military has no bearing on you" that I have to say I suspect you don't actually understand what that means.

    It means the military determines where you live. The military determines how much time you spend away from your family. The military determines where and when you train in your chosen specialty. It determines what your practice will be. You may want a practice that is predominantly trauma surgery for instance, but end up doing mostly diagnostic colonoscopies with an occasional appy thrown in for kicks. It determines how much admin work you will do instead of clinical medicine. It determines how and when you will work out. It determines what days you will come in early for commander's calls and which of your days off you'll lose just to come in and sign an OPR that suddenly became an emergency.

    It is a noble thing to serve in our nation's military, because the sacrifice is GREAT. If you are not prepared to sacrifice time, pay, effort, your family, and your medical skills, be very wary about joining the military as a physician.
     
  14. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    Very nicely said. Should put this on a sticky somewhere.
     
  15. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Woah, this is very different from what others have posted on the forum.

    My understanding is that all military physicians were required to do a one year internship piror to ANY kind of GMO/DMO/FS tour. It is a requirement because you must get a license to practice in at least one state prior to your first tour.

    Can someone confirm this? I understood the possibility of a GMO tour with only internship training, which was a deal-killer for me for HPSP. But if there is the possibility of taking folks directly out of medical school and send them direction on GMO tours? That is literally criminal.

    Confirmation would be appreciated.
     
  16. DrMetal

    DrMetal To shred or not shred?
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    Yes, you do need to have completed an intern year prior to GMO. nobody is taken directly out of school.

    I think by "formal training" Galo meant residency training.
     
  17. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    You are very right to want confirmation. I thought this was the case, but its possible I am wrong, and I'll be the first to admit it. However, even if you have to do one year of internship, where in this country would you be able to work as a physician?
     
  18. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member
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    NO medical student goes from medical school straight to a GMO. ALL must complete a PGY-1 year. NO EXCEPTIONS.
     
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I agree with you there, but I make a big distinction between the military requiring physicians to have the absolute bare minimum of training by law, even if they would be pretty much unemployable in the civilian sector (intern-level training) versus the military violating national law by having GMO's function as physicians despite being unlicensed.

    Big difference in my book. The GMO philosophy was enough to keep me out; folks practicing medicine straight out of med school would be enough for me to be convinced no one should join.
     
  20. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    Thank you for the correct information.

    So, after that year, is there a minimum of two additional years that they serve as GMO/FS?? And at the end of those two years do they still owe 2 more years, (for a typical 4 yr hpsp)??

    Thanks again for the clarification.
     
  21. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    14 states require 3 years of GME. You cannot legally practice medicine in these states. I think that Galo was referring to these areas.
     
  22. sethco

    sethco Senior Member
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    Isn't this a little bit of exageration?

    I have seen docs with only an internship year under their belt practice in the civilian world. It is not illegal. If it were, there would be no way for GMOs to get a state medical license.

    I will say, however, that somebody who has not completed a residency will have a very hard time finding a clinical job in the civilian world
     
  23. sethco

    sethco Senior Member
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    All GMO tours are minimum 2 year tours. I have heard of 1 year remote tours, then being "allowed to reapply" to residency, but have not seen anybody do this, or the logistics of this.

    At the end of the 2 years, you can either apply to residency, or you can finish the remaining 2 years as a GMO and then GTFO. Say you do a 3 year military residency (ex. Anesthesia) after the initial 2 year GMO tour, you would then owe 3 more years of active duty after completing residency. If you do a 4 year residency (ex. Ortho), you owe 4 years of active duty after finishing residency. And so on...
     
  24. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member
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    Going on the assumption that the individual is not going straight through:

    GMO - typically 2 years, so they would still owe 2 more
    FS/UMO - typically a 3 year evolution (6 mon train, 2 year tour, 6 mon to get back on the academic year.) They owe just one more year.

    Obligated service is a pain in the backside.
     
  25. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    OK, so the first year of INTERNSHIP does not count for payback. So does that mean that a prospective hpsp who wants to do X, gets a GMO slot, does a year of INTERNSHIP, then 2 yrs payback as GMO, and then can either go back into the GME selection, or do another 2 yrs as GMO, and GTFO.

    If that is correct, that person has now spent 5 yrs on active duty. Is that correct??
     
  26. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending
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    You are wrong. No surprise there.

    Hmm. you mean like Kentucky, and most of the 50 states which allow docs (stupidly) to hand up a shingle with just an internship? I can't tell you how many GMO's in the Army moonlight as "ER" docs in rural ER's. Ugly, but unfortunately sadly the standard in some rural ares of America.
     
  27. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending
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    Please don't point out his hyperbole and inaccuracies as he will get ugly.
     

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