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Enlisted-to-Physician Program Enters Fifth Year

 Students sit at a long table in a lecture room. Students in USU’s EMDP2 program come from all disciplines within the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps enlisted ranks.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)
By Sharon Holland

The 12 students -- seven Soldiers, three Airmen, and two Marines -- completed their EMDP2 studies at George Mason University’s Prince William Campus in Virginia, as part of the two-year USU program designed to  give a pathway to medical school to promising enlisted service members interested in careers as military physicians.  

Kristan Baird, Matthew Duff, Samuel Eads, Katherine McCroary, Steven Mowen, Drew Raboy, Joshua Sullivan, Laura Stull, and Alexander Villahermosa -- now all commissioned Second Lieutenants in the Army or Air Force – took their seats Tuesday morning in USU’s first-year medical student lecture hall alongside their other 164 classmates for orientation.  

Their EMDP2 colleagues Lovepreet Singh, Cody Harrington, and Landin Sorenson are attending The Ohio State University School of Medicine, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University, respectively.

“Attending USU has been one of my primary goals throughout my nine-year enlistment, and I have assiduously pursued my education to get here. Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program, offered as a partnership between USU and George Mason University. I held high hopes for both EMDP2 and the joint service members that would become my classmates. All of my expectations were vastly exceeded. The faculty and staff at GMU were phenomenal, and the curriculum prepared me for the MCAT and subsequent interviews,” said Air Force 2nd Lt. Drew Raboy.  

“Now that I am starting medical school at USU, I am amazed that my dream has become a reality. I am also honored and humbled by the tireless efforts of so many people who have helped me achieve this goal,” Raboy continued.  “Over the years, I have experienced the service-oriented culture of military medicine, and I am thrilled to contribute in my new role as a future physician. The members of my EMDP2 cohort challenged me and offered friendship, support, amusement, and inspiration…and I am a better person and professional because of them. I look forward to collaborating and establishing lifelong ties with my new USU colleagues.”

Students in the EMDP2 program are posed for a group photo in dress uniform
The fourth Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program (EMDP2) class started at USU this week.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)

Meanwhile, the third group of EMDP2 students are starting their second year at GMU-PWC and are already putting their applications together for medical school next fall.  According to Dr. Donna Fox, associate dean in the GMU College of Science, who oversees their academic program there, the class of 17 students, including five Army, four Navy, six Air Force, and one Marine, has a 3.83 grade point average, including two students, Air Force Staff Sgts. Andrew Mellen and Austin Kolbe, who finished their first year with a 4.0 GPA.   

"The first year, despite being somewhat taxing, went quite well; due, in no small part, to the efforts of our exceptionally knowledgeable and dedicated professors and teaching assistants, as well as the attentive support from the program administrators at both the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and George Mason University,” said Mellen.  “Now that the cohort has fully transitioned from our respective operational roles to academia, and (short of attending interviews) have completed the medical school application process, we anxiously await the second, graduate, year of the program, wherein we will build a foundation of knowledge that will prove indispensable when we matriculate as medical students in the Fall semester of 2018."

Students is dress uniform are lined up for a ceremony with flags in the background
Students in USU’s third EMDP2 class receive awards during a ceremony at George Mason University Prince William Campus last year.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)

Next week, incoming EMDP2 students, Navy Hospital Corpsmen first class Ezechiel Fenalon and Alexis Albright, Hospital Corpsman second class Tania Roderio, Hospital Corpsman third class Joseph Lemond, Gunners Mate second class Michael Goldstein, Air Force Staff Sergeants Michael Pane, Kristin Bishop, Seth Holmquist, Evan Tweed, Ethan Wolk, Nina Porter, and Tech Sergeant Richard Luna, along with Army Sergeants First Class Philip Aubrey-Johnson, Wesley Norlin, and Benjamin Swanson, Sergeants Harvey L. Harper and Sean Jin, and Staff Sergeants Laryssa Roberson and Lawrence Sugden, and Marine Corps Staff Sergeants Jesse Campbell, Willie Williams, Jessica Bailer, David Horton and Emmanuel Okeke, Jr., will begin their studies as the program’s fourth matriculating class.  

"For me, the EMDP2 program is a childhood dream come true. Having the opportunity to learn beside other service members and grow together into successful military medical professionals only enhances the overall experience and makes it that much more exciting,” said Pane.  “I feel honored and humbled to be included in such a fine group of individuals and I cannot wait to begin my journey."  

“This program is not for the occasional bystander,” said USU President Richard Thomas during their orientation at USU.  “This is a commitment.  The study of medicine is a calling and it should be looked at that way:  a lifetime commitment to lifelong learning.  We are proud to have you here.  We really are.  You are the future of military medicine and your advantage is that you have experience.  Leverage that.  Each one of you has tremendous experience.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here.”

Smiling students on the left look at one student who is looking at President Thomas on the right who is speaking
USU President Dr. Richard Thomas (right) asks incoming EMDP2 student Air Force Staff Sgt. Ethan Wolk (left) to introduce himself during orientation.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)

The call for applications for the fifth class of EMDP2 students was recently released by both the Army and Air Force for the class entering in August 2018 and has already resulted in a flurry of activity on the program’s Facebook page including a number of questions by interested service members. 

Learn about other opportunities for enlisted personnel: 

USU’s Degree Opportunities for Enlisted Members