Even for those most interested in medicine as a career path beyond military service, the time, energy, and financial burden of the medical school application process is daunting. It is arguably enough to prevent many fully qualified candidates from pursuing the medical profession in favor of something more attainable in the short term. It was for this reason that the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York created its partnership with the Department of the Navy—which now includes all branches of service!–to allow a select group of applicants early admission to the school.
This program is the product of the school’s philosophy that the best doctors don’t always arrive through traditional channels. The school began its FlexMed program (formerly known as Humanities and Medicine) decades ago for this reason and initially used it to attract humanities majors by offering early acceptance to college sophomores in non-scientific fields. Some years later, they expanded to include partnerships with various companies and industries to offer admission to promising candidates–which has now expanded to include the armed forces.
Applicants to the program must currently be on active duty and have completed an undergraduate degree, but are not required to take the MCAT and are allowed to complete an abbreviated list of prerequisites after they are accepted. Those prerequisites may also be completed however one sees fit–for instance, one could separate from the service and enroll in a post-bacc program or stay on active duty and complete prerequisite courses at a local university, all while knowing that they have a seat waiting for them at Mount Sinai. Without the added pressure of searching for medical schools, applying, interviewing, and taking the MCAT, students are allowed the freedom to complete coursework at their own pace and transition more seamlessly from service to life as a medical student.
Read: even if you’re not right about to separate from service, you can apply.
Read: even if you have only completed one year (two semesters or equivalent) of college science in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, you can apply. As part of your application, you outline your course plan to complete the remaining pre-requisites.
Read: once accepted, you can defer matriculation until the completion of your active duty service and any outstanding coursework.
Read: if you get accepted, you don’t have to spend months and thousands of dollars applying to schools all over the country.
The application cycle for the program opened August 1 and will remain open through November 15th. There is no cap on the number of candidates who may be selected–the school is genuinely interested in leveraging the unique background and experiences that veterans have to offer and will seriously consider any and all who are competitive. And, once again, though the initial press release indicates that the program is open to the Department of the Navy, all branches of service are eligible as of this month.
Any further questions can be directed to Chris Bellaire, the program’s inaugural candidate. Also feel free to direct any more general queries about the medical school application process to us here.