HPSP Army program -- need advice

Hi all,

I am 34 years old and will be finishing a PhD in Epidemiology in a few months. My undergraduate degree was in humanities (German Literature, GPA 3.7). I have a MS in Epidemiology (GPA 3.9), and my GPA from my PhD is 3.9.

I always wanted to go to med school, but couldn’t see a way to do so because of the high price tag. So I went into public health as a more affordable – but still related – alternative.

Then, about a month ago, I found out about the HPSP program offered through the US Army. This was a game changer. I immediately applied to postbacc programs and am waiting to hear back.

My questions:

  1. The HPSP program has an age ceiling of 36. If you apply later (which I most likely will, due to the postbacc), an age waiver is required. In your experience, how common are these? How difficult is it to obtain one? Could I reasonably expect to be granted one, as a healthy 36 y.o.? For me, the Army would be the only path to a medical degree, and I don’t want to waste my time with a postbacc if I don’t have a realistic shot at HPSP.

  2. For those of you who have done HPSP, could you talk about the service piece afterwards? What was your experience like? Were you deployed somewhere? What type of facility was it? How would your experience compare to that of a civilian doctor in your specialty?

Thank you all for your advice. I am thrilled I found this forum!

1.I can clear some stuff up for you as an Army vet. I can’t speak to the difficulty in obtaining one currently, my old man used it to become a physician in the 80s, but looking at your education and gpa you’re not going to have a problem. You’re education is definitely going to make you desirable by the Army standards, but there are other criteria that will play a role. Look up the Army PFT standards I’m almost positive this will play a role in you receiving HPSP due to it playing a role in every MOS, promotion, etc. in the Army.
2. On the premed years podcast episode 165, 282, and 302 Ryan discusses it and he was a HPSP recipient. There are not many MD’s in the armed forces, expect to be deployed. Even if they are saying you won’t, things change. That being said military service is incredibly rewarding, and getting through med school debt free is a pretty sweet deal. Read through your contract before you sign it, make sure anything promised to you is in writing on that contract no matter what they say.

I would reach out to a HPSP recrutier that is close to you. Theyll have the most updated info and can walk you through it.