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‘America’s Medical School’ Announces 2018 Enlisted-to-Physician Program Selectees

Air Force airman standing in front of a plane
By Sharon Holland

Twenty-three non-commissioned officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have been given the opportunity to follow their dreams of becoming physicians thanks to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program, or EMDP2.

two men holding a certificate
Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), congratulates Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jon Solomon as BUMED’s Sailor of the Year for fiscal year 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Paul Kotara II/ released)

Nine Air Force, seven Army, six Navy, and one Marine Corps members were selected from hundreds of applicants for the Department of Defense program, which is entering its fifth year.

The EMDP2 is a 24-month program for promising enlisted service members interested in a career as a military doctor. Candidates attend school full-time at the George Mason University-Prince William (GMU-PW) campus in Manassas, Va., to prepare them to apply to medical school, while remaining on active duty. They must already possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited academic institution with a minimum of a 3.2 grade point average and meet their respective military Service requirements for commissioning.

woman soldier bandaging a man's head
U.S. Army Specialist Sandra Peprah (right), an Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) candidate, provides medical aid to a simulated casualty during the demonstration portion of a U.S. Army Europe EFMB evaluation in Grafenwoehr, Germany on March 22, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Brian Kimball)

The students will report to USU at the end of July to begin the program, which will include full-time medical school preparatory coursework in a traditional classroom setting at GMU-PW, structured pre-health advising, formal Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparation, dedicated faculty and peer mentoring at USU, and integrated clinical exposure. Students who complete the program successfully will qualify to apply to most U.S. medical schools.

The new class includes:
- Staff Sgt. Zakary Bailey, 29, Army medic, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- Staff Sgt. Austin Barton, 29, Marine Corps intelligence analyst, McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla.
- Staff Sgt. Shane Berger, 31, Air Force intelligence analyst, Davis Monthan Air Base, Tucson, Ariz.
- Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Danielle Cain, 34, Navy hospital corpsman, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.
- Sgt. Anthony Caskey, 28, Army combat medic, Fort Benning, Ga.
- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ka Chan, 28, Navy hospital corpsman, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Md.
Navy sailor standing in front of the Capitol Building
Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jon Solomon, a member of
USU’s newest Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program
class, takes a break during a visit to Capitol Hill. (Courtesy photo)
- Sgt. 1st Class Devin Defeo, 39, Army medic, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- Senior Airman Leslie Gore, 29, Air Force emergency actions controller, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
- Senior Airman Ashley Halverson, 28, Air Force medical technician, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, Calif.
- Tech Sgt. Almaz Jamankulov, 32, Air Force linguist, Fort Belvoir, Va.
- Sgt. Santosh Kachhepati, 31, Army combat medic, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Dawid Karapuda, 31, Navy hospital corpsman, Naval Health Clinic New England, Newport, Rhode Island
- Staff Sgt. Judith Mathess, 29, Air Force cryptologic linguist, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas
- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alejandro Matias, 31, Navy hospital corpsman, Naval Medical Center, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
- Staff Sgt. Verity Oltjenbruns, 27, Air Force public health technician, Joint Base McGuire-Dix, New Jersey
- Sgt. Sandra Peprah, 26, Army medical laboratory technician, Yongsan, Korea
- Staff Sgt. Amber Powell, 29, Air Force data systems operator, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
- Tech Sgt. Sean Smith, 32, Air Force special/network systems administrator, Chantilly, Va.
- Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jon Solomon, 33, Navy hospital corpsman, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Falls Church, Va.
- Machinist Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Robert Trent, 27, Navy nuclear machinist mate, Navy Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa, New York
- Staff Sgt. Gabriel Vargas, 30, Army medic, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
- Staff Sgt. Erinne Vest, 28, Air Force cryptologic language analyst, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

group of soldiers standing with an American flag
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Austin Barton (center, left) displays the American
flag while on deployment. (Courtesy photo)
More than 22 students have successfully completed the EMDP2 program since its inception and are currently enrolled in medical school. Seventeen are attending USU’s Hebert School of Medicine and two are enrolled in medical school at other universities through the military’s Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. On May 16, 2018, 15 additional EMDP2 students will graduate from the program and begin their medical school studies in the fall.

Learn more about enlisted opportunities: