Faculty Application for Operation Bushmaster Spring 2021

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Here is the e-mail for those interested:

Good afternoon everyone – and happy new year!

It is finally time to recruit faculty for Spring Bushmaster at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania – this pandemic-friendly version will replace our postponed October 2020 activity.  Things will look very different this year – please keep reading to see what is new, what we need and learn how you can participate.  Please reply before 20 January 2021.

Concept for 2021:

This year, our students will be in the field for 48 hours in small squads (~ 8 students/squad).  They will remain in the field for 9 total leadership cycles, each serving as the Platoon Leader, Surgeon and Ambulance Team Leader.  The assigned faculty will remain with the students for the entire 48 hour period. A small group of first year medical students (~7 students) will be attached to each squad and role play all of the patients for the 48 hour period.  This version is designed to isolate each group of students and avoid mixing of students and faculty between groups. There will be 6 squads in the field during each iteration, for a total of 24 student squads during Bushmaster.

Dates:  Students will begin at 1200 on Day 1 (faculty must arrive by 1000) and will finish at 1200 on Day 3.

Iteration 1: 28 April – 30 April

Iteration 2: 30 April – 2 May

Iteration 3: 2 May – 4 May

Iteration 4: 4 May – 6 May

**Because there is limited downtime in this schedule, I do not recommend that any faculty work consecutive iterations. The schedule allows off-time from 2230 until operations begin at 0600 the following morning.  I am happy to have folks work Iteration 1 & 3 or Iteration 2 & 4 with a rest day in between

New this year:

– 4 faculty members per student squad (Leadership, Surgeon, Ambulance Team Leader, Casualty Coach)

– Faculty will sleep in the field, MREs, latrines, no faculty turnover/off-time

– Iterations will last for 48 hours (with sleep time built in for 2 nights)

– Iterations will begin on Day 1 at noon and end on Day 3 at noon.  Faculty will report to Fort Indiantown Gap by 1000 on Day 1.

– 1 faculty member will support the MS1 role players (7-8 students portraying all patients)

– There will be no in-person village visit, vehicle movements, large MASCAL

– There will be no moulage tent – role players will apply small amounts of moulage to themselves; no shared application equipment

– No dedicated student roles of Preventive Medicine Officer or Behavioral Health Officer – these roles will be integrated into the Surgeon role- Faculty Training will occur remotely on 21 April 2021 using online videos and live discussions.  It will last for one half day.  Please plan to attend.  Indicate your preference for timing on the Google Form when you apply.

COVID Mitigation Strategies:

– Student/faculty teams will remain intact – no new personnel in or out of the cohort

– All personnel will undergo COVID testing (at USU) before arrival at the field setting – details TBD

– All personnel will wear PPE during interactions within 6 feet of one another (gloves, face masks, eye protection)

– All shared equipment will be sanitized during each leadership cycle (3-4 hour period).  Students will sanitize and reset their equipment for the next group.

– Personnel who are at high risk of complications from COVID should consider skipping Bushmaster this spring

– To reduce the need for commercial travel, we prefer faculty who can travel from driving distance of Pennsylvania.  If you reside outside of this area but would still like to participate, please apply anyway (I do not know if we have enough faculty in the local area)

– While we are hopeful that the majority of participants and support personnel at Spring Bushmaster will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before April 2021, vaccination status will not change the COVID mitigation strategies outlined above.  

If you are interested in applying to serve as a faculty member this year – please sign up via this Google Form: 

Operation Bushmaster Faculty Application Spring 2021

Please respond before 20 January 2021.

Finally – mark your calendars for our regularly scheduled Bushmaster in October (9-13 October 2021 and 18-22 October 2021).  Please feel free to forward this email to your colleagues who would serve well as Bushmaster faculty.  Also, if you would like me to remove you from my mailing list, please let me know. 
Thank you all for your support of Operation Bushmaster – particularly in our new format.
Wishing you all well in 2021,


Leslie Vojta, MD, FACEP

Lt Col, USAF, MC

Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director

Operation Bushmaster (MFP202) Academic Director

Department of Military and Emergency Medicine

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Chapter 2 – Pathways to Becoming a Naval Physician

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Note: The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

Special Thanks to Drs. Jami Peterson and Brett Chamberlin for their revisions of this chapter.


The military has two programs that provide financial support for medical students and one that supports residents. The Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) are used to attend a civilian medical school. The Financial Assistance Program (FAP) provides financial assistance to current residents. Each program provides various benefits in return for a contract serve as an active duty physician following completion of medical school or residency. Additionally, students accepted to the military’s medical school, the Uniformed Services University (USU) can earn their medical degree while serving on active duty. Alternatively, board certified physicians can apply to be a Direct Commission Officer (DCO) and begin service immediately upon commissioning.

Uniformed Services University (USU)

Established in 1972, USU trains future physicians in the unique aspects of military medicine while meeting all requirements for general medical licensure in the United States. Application to USU is through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). In addition, applicants must also meet all requirements for active military service, including a medical screening examination and background security investigation prior to being unconditionally accepted into USU. Detailed information is available at

Each of the four uniformed services is represented at USU – Army, Navy, Air Force, and Public Health Service (PHS). While attending USU, Navy students are commissioned on active duty as an Ensign and receive military pay for that rank. All tuition, fees, medical supplies, and books are provided.

In addition to meeting all the requirements for medical education, a USU student is exposed to both life in the military and military medicine. Classes are given in military medical history, chemical and biological warfare, wound ballistics, deployment medicine, as well as many other military topics. At least two field exercises are conducted over the 4-year curriculum, giving the student a concentrated and intense introduction to medical support during simulated combat operations.

Following graduation, the new Navy physician is obligated to serve in the Navy for seven years in a non-training status following completion of the PGY1 (internship) year. Any commitment previously incurred through either the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) or any of the military academies is added to this obligated service and served consecutively.

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

As a recipient of a HPSP scholarship, the military pays full tuition, all fees, reimbursement for required books and equipment, and a stipend of approximately $2300 per month. Participants get 45 days of active duty for training each year and are paid full entry-level officer pay and allowances during that time. At the present time, a signing bonus of $20,000 is offered. Time in the program does not count for retirement or pay purposes.

In exchange for financing the participant’s medical school education, an obligation to serve on active duty for the number of years of scholarship benefit or a minimum of three years (whichever is greater) is generated. HPSP eligibility requires that the applicant be a U.S. citizen (dual citizenship is not permitted), physically qualified for a commission in the military, and accepted into an accredited school in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. The minimum undergraduate GPA required is 3.2 and the minimum MCAT score is 500. Applicants must not have reached the age of 42 at the time of commissioning on active duty. Here is a link to the Navy HPSP website.

Periods in which officers are in a training status (such as internship, residency, or fellowship) do not count towards fulfillment of the military contract but count towards military retirement.

Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP)

HSCP is very similar to HPSP, but with a different benefits package. Rather than commissioning into the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR), students receive pay and benefits (including health insurance, basic allowance for housing, etc.). Medical school tuition is not reimbursed, however the time spent in HSCP does count towards the 20-year requirement for retirement eligibility. This pathway is most often used by prior enlisted students with families who attend a relatively inexpensive medical school, although having previously served is not a program requirement.

Financial Assistance Program (FAP)

FAP is similar in concept to HPSP, with the exception that it applies to residency. Individuals can apply once they have been accepted to an accredited US residency program. The only caveat is that the types of residencies for which scholarships are offered may vary. Not all residencies and specialties will have a recruiting goal, so it is possible that the Navy does not offer the FAP scholarship to applicants in certain specialties.

Officer Preparedness Training

All medical officers attend 4 to 6 weeks of “Officer Development School” (ODS) located in Newport, Rhode Island. For USU students, this occurs prior to the first year of medical school. For HPSP students, this can occur at any time prior to graduation or immediately upon graduation. These courses are designed to give the new medical officer an orientation to military life as well as military customs and courtesies.

Graduate Medical Education

The typical pathways to residency training in the military are inservice programs at military treatment facilities (MTFs) or deferment and outservice programs that are completed at civilian residency training programs. For any given specialty, a graduate medical selection board is convened either in late November or early December to determine the program selection and the number of years of training for every applicant. Selection board results are normally published in mid-December.

Inservice Residency Training Programs at Military Treatment Facilities

Various Army, Navy, and Air Force MTFs around the country sponsor inservice residency training programs. They are all fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). While in a dedicated post-graduate training program (internship, residency, or fellowship), payback towards the initial service obligation is on “hold.” The service commitment resumes upon graduation from training. Inservice training counts toward retirement, but generally incurs additional obligated service time that may be served concurrently with medical school and undergraduate educational obligations.

Navy Active Duty Delay for Specialist (NADDS) Programs for Residency Training Programs in Civilian Institutions

Some graduating medical students are selected for deferment for their entire residency, called the Navy Active Duty Delay for Specialist (NADDS) program. This means that the student can match as a civilian intern/resident and complete his/her training in a civilian program. Upon such completion, he/she then enters or returns to military service as a civilian residency-trained physician. In some cases, a similar deferment of service obligation is permitted for Medical Corps officers who are already in the process of completing or have completed an internship, called Release from Active Duty to NADDS or “RAD to NADDS.”

Other graduating students are, however, granted only a one-year deferment to complete an internship in a civilian program. They are then expected to serve in general medical practice as General Medical Officers (GMOs), Flight Surgeons, or Undersea/Diving Medical Officers (UMOs/DMOs) for 1-3 years before applying for further in-service, out-service, or deferred training. Once completing this tour, they can apply for residency training through the military or finish their military obligation in this role and separate from the Navy.

Application to this program follows the normal civilian “match” guidelines after approval from the Navy. Using the NADDS route to post-graduate training incurs no further obligation but it does not count toward payback for the initial obligation. USU students are now eligible for deferment training programs.

Full-Time Outservice (FTOS) Programs for Residency Training at Civilian Programs

Full-time outservice (FTOS) training allows Medical Corps officers already on active duty the opportunity to train at a civilian institution while remaining on full-time active duty status. Unlike members in a deferment program, FTOS trainees continue to draw their military pay. In addition, like inservice training, time served in FTOS training counts toward retirement.

The number of FTOS training slots awarded each year varies depending on the particular need for residency or fellowship trained specialists. Graduating medical students are generally not eligible for FTOS training.

Summary of Graduate Medical Education Options

As detailed above, there are many different options available for GME. The following chart summarizes the programs available to the different programs:


Inservice GME





Eligible Not eligible

Not eligible

USU student


Eligible but rare Not eligible

Not eligible

GMO/UMO/Flight Surgeon


Not eligible Eligible

Eligible but rare

Unique Opportunities in Military Medicine

The military offers unique opportunities not normally available in civilian medical practice and training. There is the opportunity to practice medicine in a variety of geographic locations spanning the globe. Military physicians can readily take part in both combat and humanitarian medical missions. In addition, the military offers unique training for physicians in undersea/hyperbaric, flight, tactical and wilderness medicine and other non-traditional fields. The practice environment is vastly different from civilian medicine, with near universal healthcare coverage of the patients you treat as well as significant protections of the individual physician from malpractice and litigation. Finally, there is a significant financial benefit and security to be gained from a military retirement pension with an automatic annual cost-of-living adjustment.

USU Faculty Development Fall 2020 Newsletter

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Here’s the newsletter, which includes the info on how to get a faculty appointment:

Two USU Chair Positions – IM and Psych – CAPT(s)/CAPT

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Anyone interested in applying for these positions needs to send their CV, military bio, and letter of intent to me at < at > by COB 15 SEP 2020. Here are the calls for nominations:

Navy Rep on the USUHS Admissions Committee – O5/O6

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If you are in the DC area (local to USUHS) and would like to be considered for the Navy Rep position on the Admissions Committee, send your CV/bio to me at < at > by 24 JUL 2020. Further details are in this document:

Admissions Committee Navy SG Rep request 2020.2021

New Operation BUSHMASTER Dates

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USU has released the updated dates for Operation Bushmaster. We will have two iterations, back-to-back. Travel will be on the day prior to starting. I will host a faculty training day on 27 April and 2 May.

Iteration 1: 27 April 2021 – 1 May 2021

Iteration 2: 2 May 2021 – 6 May 2021

I will send out another call for volunteers in October 2020 and then release the faculty list in January 2021. Hopefully, you have enough advanced notice to block your calendar and join us in the Spring.

I look forward to seeing you all in April/May.


Leslie Vojta, MD, FACEP

Lt Col, USAF, MC

Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director

Operation Bushmaster (MFP202) Academic Director

Department of Military and Emergency Medicine

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences