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Talking with Sailors


Sailor and Doctor

The Navy is offering a new opportunity to enlisted Sailors interested in becoming a doctor in the Medical Corps. Eligible Sailors may pursue a medical degree through the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program (EMDP2) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland.

EMDP2 is a partnership between USUHS and the armed services. It is comprised of a 24-month, full-time post-baccalaureate academic program that includes intensive coursework, preparation, and mentoring for students' medical school applications. It is the first program of its kind to provide enlisted Sailors a path to medical school and a commission in the Navy Medical Corps while remaining on active duty.

The program began in 2014 with a class of five Soldiers and five Airmen. In 2015 the program announced the first Marine Corps selectees and, in 2016, it welcomed its first cohort of Sailors.

EMDP2 is open to all enlisted Sailors of any rating with less than 10 years of service. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year university and be in good standing with no record of court-martial convictions, non-judicial punishment, or civilian felony charges.

Sailors who are selected remain on active duty while pursuing undergraduate and graduate pre-medical certificates at George Mason University's Science and Technology campus in Manassas, Virginia. Allotted pay and benefits at current pay grade continue and all educational expenses, including tuition and books, are paid for by the program.

Photo collage for EMDP2 story.

The inaugural Sailors include Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Han Liu, Machinist's Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Chrystopher Young and Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Michael Smith.

"George Mason University has been an incredible sponsor of this program," said Smith. "They have given us everything we could have dreamed of having as pre-medical students. I think all of the skills EMDP2 gave me will translate directly into medical school and make me a more successful medical student."

EMDP2 also integrates formal preparation for service members to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is a standardized multiple-choice test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process for more than 80 years. The MCAT exam tests the skills and knowledge that medical educators, physicians, medical students, and residents have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and practicing medicine.

This program is similar to the Navy's Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP), which offers enlisted personnel of all ratings the chance to become ensigns in the Nurse Corps by allowing them to obtain a Bachelor of Science in nursing while continuing to receive support from their command and maintain their active-duty status.

"I think the most beneficial thing about EMDP2 has been the support from the command, as well as the university," said Liu. "The command has given us so much flexibility, in terms of time and resources to accomplish our goals; and from the staff at GMU, they've given us guidance and almost any resource we need to be successful."

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be fully qualified and highly competitive for admission into any medical school in the United States, including USUHS. Once accepted into medical school, students are commissioned as medical officers in their respective branches.

Photo collage for EMDP2 story.

Liu, Young and Smith have successfully completed EMDP2 and have been accepted to F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at USUHS. They commissioned as ensigns into the Navy's Medical Corps May 16.

"Going from enlisted to officer, I feel like it's a big step, but I'm ready for it," said Young. "I feel a lot more prepared than if I hadn't done this program. I'm extremely excited for this transition that I am about to take."

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of over 63,000 personnel that provides health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, families and veterans in high-operational-tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical-treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

For more information on EMDP2 please view BUMEDINST 1500.31.1