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USUHS, do you need to do MD/PHD program?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by xmsr3, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. xmsr3

    5+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    So I am very much interested in a career in the Navy Medical Corp and after finding out about USUHS I am intrigued but also a bit confused.

    On their website I clicked on the medical school link under faq and it took me to a section talking about the combined MD/PHD program.

    I am not interested in a PHD and would prefer a regular MD program but I am not sure that is available.

    When I read that you must be accepted by both the Medical school and graduate school, but if you get accepted by the medical but not the graduate, then you can still do the medical program I got even more confused.

    Could someone please let me know if there is a regular MD program at USUHS?

    Does it give you the same responsibilities and benefits as a regular student? Or are you considered in a separate program?

    Speaking of benefits, I would appreciate some clarification about those. Could someone who knows something about USUHS let me know if I have my facts straight?

    From what I understand USUHS is the military's medical school, designed to train doctors to serve military needs.

    Students study medicine while receiving military pay and benefits, (insurance) and once done with med school must fulfill a certain time working for the military.

    Am I correct in that?

    Now some more questions, (sorry for the verbosity of this post).

    1. Is USUHS like HPSP in that they let you finish school and can't drag you off to the front lines before you graduate?

    2. Does the pay they talk about, (I believe its $45,000) include tuition and housing, living costs? In other words, do they pay you $45k as a student and expect that to cover books, lab fees, tuition, housing, food, ect.

    From what I understand tuition and books are covered and you get $45k on top of that for living expenses, housing and walking around money, but I may be wrong.

    3. Does someone who graduates an MD from USUHS get to pick their branch of the service or do they place you where ever they need you? If the latter, is that a permanent assignment or can you try to get transferred later?

    4. For those planning a long career in military medicine what exactly are the benefits of going USUHS?

    I understand that you are considered an active duty officer from day 1 of med school, which is why you have the benefits of full medical and dental for you and yours and also the pay, (I may be wrong about that).

    This would mean you have 4 years under your belt before 3 more years residency and then 4 years service, (I couldn't find the commitment length on their website, but HPSP its 4 years).

    So basically, after finishing USUHS, 3 years residency, (I am thinking IM or FP so I should be able to do residency with the Navy no problem) and 4 years service I would have 11 years of service?

    From talking to a Happy Navy FP, (yes they exist :) I understand that almost everyone gets promoted from O-3 (lieutenant) to 0-4 lieutenant commander and it takes 6 years.

    From O-4 its less certain to keep getting promoted though I understand that most do make it to 0-5, which takes place after 12 years.

    So, if I understand things correctly, the benefit of USUHS, for those who want to do at least 20 years of military med, is that by the time your commitment is up, you are at 11 years and 1 year away from being an O-5 making $76k annually plus all the bonuses and perks and only 9 years away from potential retirement.

    Could someone who knows how USUHS works please either confirm this or shoot it full of holes for me and anyone else reading this who is thinking of taking the same route?

    Any facts you could impart would be most appreciated as a commitment to military medicine is not one to be taken lightly and requires full information.

    Thank you for your time, patience and consideration.
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  2. DrMetal

    DrMetal To shred or not shred?
    Physician PhD Lifetime Donor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2008
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    Resident [Any Field]
    no, i think that link is broken, or you clicked in the wrong place. USUHS is predominantly an MD program, with a handful of MDPHd spots. see the USUHS thread on this forum, lotta great info. Also the course catalog will answer much of your questions, it's a good read:
  3. DeadCactus

    DeadCactus SDN Lifetime Donor
    Lifetime Donor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2006
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    Resident [Any Field]
    USUHS is a medical school. They graduate MDs and have a few slots for those who want o do an MD/PhD.

    Whether you do MD or MD/PhD (and there program is unusual in that you do your entire PhD first), you go through four years of medical schools with a military twist.

    School costs are free and you paid your salary to live on.

    No, you will not be deployed. The military is not going to dump two years of medical education into you and then toss you into Iraq to trounce around with a rifle. If you're going to commit to military medicine, however, I hope you are damn well open to the idea of deployment once you finish school.

    You pick the branches you are willing to join and rank them when you apply. Your branch assignment is given with your acceptance.

    Benefits are a free MD with a rather large income for a medical student. While your time in school does not count toward your 20 years for retirement, once you are eligible for retirement it is factored into your retirement pa (ie you retire after 20 years, but get credit for 24). You also enjoy the benefits of the large concentration of USUHS grads in the military (ie you have "the hookup").

    The drawback is that you have a 7 year active duty commitment of which time in residency has no net impact on. You are also stuck with the military residency system and military style of practice and life.

    If you're certain you want a military career, it's a good way to go. If you just want a free ride, it's a horrible way to go...
  4. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
    Moderator Verified Expert 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
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    Attending Physician
    Very sound advice.

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