For those who want to take or are trying to apply for AMDOC (see the leadership course catalog for FY 20 for dates), the website for application is currently down. To apply, please fill out these forms and send to Ms. Edna Smith (contact info is in the global address book):
Here’s a link to the NAVADMIN:
When discussing why they failed to promote, one of the more common reasons that officers give is that they were unable to get a leadership position. When I ask them how they prepared themselves for these positions and what they did to improve their chances of getting one, they often don’t have much to say. Frankly, they didn’t do anything “extra” or above and beyond their normal duties to prepare for and get a leadership position.
Don’t be one of those officers.
The recipe for promotion is fairly simple. Superior performance in leadership positions leads to early promote (EP) fitreps, which leads to promotion. As promotion gets more difficult, the competition for leadership positions is likely to increase, and officers need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the crowd, increasing the chance they’ll get leadership positions. Obtaining a master’s degree can be one of the things that will distinguish you from other physicians and can dramatically increase the chances that you are competitive for career advancing positions.
What Kind of Degree Should You Consider Getting?
This depends on your career goals. If you want to become a leader in research or global health engagement, an area of increased focus in the Navy, you probably want to get a Master in Public Health (MPH) or similar degree. If you want to become a residency or fellowship director, a master’s degree in adult or medical education would fit the bill. If you want to become an operational leader, attending a war college would make sense. And if you want to become a clinical administrator or pursue executive medicine, obtaining a management degree, such as a Master in Business Administration (MBA), Master in Medical Management (MMM), or Master in Healthcare Administration (MHA), would make sense to me.
How Can You Get a Master’s Degree While on Active Duty?
There are many ways you can do this, but the most common include:
- Complete a fellowship that includes a master’s degree. Some fellowships either include or have the option of obtaining a MPH, such as the Global Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Fellowship. I also know of multiple officers who asked the Graduate Medical Education Selection Board for an additional year of fellowship to obtain a degree or simply for permission to obtain a degree alone. What are the chances this will be granted? Well I’m sure the chances change from year to year, but they are zero if you don’t ask.
- Complete the distance learning Executive MBA from the Naval Postgraduate School. This is how I got my MBA for the cost of books alone, and I think the program is excellent. You have to go to Monterey for 1 week at the beginning of the 2-year program, but after that all classes are held on-line.
- Apply for the Navy Career Intermission Program and take time off to get a degree.
- Attend a war college. Intermediate colleges are for officers who are O4 or below, while senior college is for O5 and above. If you’re interested, contact your Detailer.
- USUHS offers a Master in Health Professions Education.
- Pay for it yourself and do it in your free time on-line or in person. One program to look into is offered by the American Association for Physician Leadership (https://www.physicianleaders.org/education/physicians/masters). By taking some CME you can then enroll in various patient safety and management degrees that are all physician focused. The on-line University of Massachusetts healthcare focused MBA that they offer is the most reasonably priced MBA that I could find that is accredited by the top business school accreditation body. If you want a fast MBA (but pricey), look into the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA program (http://pemba.utk.edu).
While committing to a master’s degree program will take major time and effort, that is the point. It is a well-recognized way to demonstrate to the Navy that you’ve made a serious commitment to your professional development and could go a long way toward giving your next interview for a leadership position.
I’ve participated in the last four Graduate Medical Education Selection Boards (GMESBs) and would like to offer tips for people looking to match for GME in the future. We’ll cover general tips and those specific for internship and residency/fellowship:
- Money is getting tight for permanent change of station (PCS) moves at BUPERS. I think you can increase your chances of matching in GME by being local, or at least on the same coast, as the GME program where you want to train. Keep this in mind when you are picking your Flight Surgery (FS), Undersea Medical Officer (UMO), General Medical Officer (GMO), or post-residency assignments.
- If you want to give yourself the best chance of matching, you need multiple peer-reviewed publications. Any publications or scholarly activity have the chance to help, but having multiple peer-reviewed publications is the goal you should be trying to reach. Anything that is peer-reviewed counts, including case studies in Military Medicine which are, in general, pretty easy to get accepted for publication.
- Be realistic about your chances of matching. If you are applying to a competitive specialty and you’ve failed a board exam or had to repeat a year in medical school, you are probably not going to match in that specialty. There are some specialties where you can overcome a major blight on your record, but there are some where you can’t. If this is applicable to you, the residency director or specialty leader should be able to give you some idea of your chances. Will they be honest and direct with you? I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt to ask.
- If you are having trouble matching in the Navy for GME, you may have a better chance as a civilian. By the time you pay back your commitment to the Navy, you are a wiser, more mature applicant that some civilian residency programs might prefer over an inexperienced medical student. You’ll also find some fairly patriotic residency programs, usually with faculty who are prior military, that may take you despite your academic struggles.
Tips for Medical Students Applying for Internship
- Do everything you can to do a rotation with the GME program you want to match at. You want them to know who you are.
- When you are applying for internship, make sure your 2nd choice is not a popular internship (Emergency Medicine, Orthopedics, etc.). If you don’t match in your 1st choice and your 2nd choice is a popular internship, then it will likely have filled during the initial match. This means you get put in the “intern scramble” and you’ll likely wind up in an internship you didn’t even list on your application.
- Your backup plan if you don’t match should be an alternative program at the same site where you eventually want to match for residency. For example, in my specialty (Emergency Medicine or EM) we only have residencies at NMCP and NMCSD. If someone doesn’t match for an EM internship at NMCP or NMCSD, they will have a better chance of eventually matching for EM residency if they do an internship locally, like a transitional internship. Internships at Walter Reed or any other hospital without an EM program are quality programs, but it is much easier to pledge the fraternity if you are physically present and can get to know people, attending conferences and journal clubs when you can.
- You need to think about what you will do in your worst-case scenario, a 1-year civilian deferment for internship. Many of the medical students I interview do not have a plan if they get a 1-year deferment. I think every medical student needs to do one of two things. Either they should pick 10-15 civilian transitional year internships (or whatever internship they want) and apply to those just in case they get a 1-year deferment, or they should just plan to apply to internships late or scramble if this unlikely event happens to you. Most medical students do not grasp the concept that this could happen to them and have no plan to deal with it if it does. It is an unlikely event, especially if you are a strong applicant, and you can always just scramble at the last minute, but this is an issue that every medical student should think through. If you are going to just scramble at the last minute, that is fine, but it should be an informed choice.
Tips for Officers Applying for Residency or Fellowship
- You should show up whenever you can for conferences and journal clubs. Again, you want them to know who you are and by attending these events when you can you demonstrate your commitment to the specialty and their program.
- Always get a warfare device (if one is available) during your FS, UMO, or GMO tour. Not having it is a red flag.
Here are the links where you can get them:
Fully Funded Occupational and Environmental Medicine Fundamentals Course – Portsmouth, VA – 9-13 SEPT 2019
The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center OEM Division is excited to announce the next offering of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Fundamentals course September 9-13 2019 in Portsmouth, VA!
The course is intended for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners that do not have formal Occupational Medicine training (i.e. Occupational Medicine residency or experience) who will be practicing in an Occupational Medicine clinic or have significant Occupational Medicine-related workload. The course will cover history of Occupational Medicine, workplace hazards, risk communication, Navy Occupational Health programs, worksite visits, available resources, and will include clinical case break-out sessions.
Non-local students will be FULLY FUNDED BY NMCPHC for travel. There is no fee for the course itself.
We are applying for CME/CNE and anticipate the course will be approved for 31 credit hours as it has been in the past.
NMCPHC will coordinate with the Regional Program Managers & OEM Specialty Leader to ensure course seats are given to those according to clinic needs, responsibilities, and assigned job requirements.
Please visit the NMCPHC Occupational Medicine Fundamentals Course webpage
for more detailed information and student registration request:
For future planning purposes, we will be offering 2 OEM Fundamentals courses in FY20- dates TBD.
(Also, there will be an Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) Fundamentals Course in FY20- date TBD)
Please read the above webpage carefully to answer your questions.