In searching the web for any and all information about premed topics, I ran into the National Health Service Corps site. If I manage to get through med school, etc., I would like to work with the “underserved.” At that point, my husband will be nearing retirement, my kids will be out of the house (hopefully), and I’ll be old! I’m sure the income isn’t great, but I don’t think that’ll be a priority for me at that stage of my life.
Anyone know more?
- sjpearl Said:
In searching the web for any and all information about premed topics, I ran into the National Health Service Corps site. If I manage to get through med school, etc., I would like to work with the "underserved." At that point, my husband will be nearing retirement, my kids will be out of the house (hopefully), and I'll be old! I'm sure the income isn't great, but I don't think that'll be a priority for me at that stage of my life.
Anyone know more?
If you know for sure that you want to do Primary care (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, OB-Gyn,or Peds) and work in an Underserved Area, then you can apply for the National Health Scholars program that will cover your second, third and fourth years of medical school plus pay a small stipend. I can tell you that folks who are interested in Geriatric Medicine are in huge demand but these scholarships are fairly competitive.
If you wanted to do something else besides the above, you have to follow-up on the residency,serve your pay-back years and then do what you want. There are plenty of people around who did residencies in the above primary care specialties, fulfilled their obligations and then did another residency only to do something else. Long road but for them, it was worth it.
There is also the infamous Georgetown Med grad who took a four-year HHSP funding package, went into Anesthesia and ended up owing more than $2 million because defaulting on these programs makes the entire amount become due. She will never be able to pay off $2million when she could have served her obligation and then done Anesthesia.
Get loads of info but welcome to the forums.
Thanks for the reminder on this important program. I also would like to work in underserved communities and plan to apply. My only concern is a placement in the rural midwest. No offense to any members in the rural midwest! : ) My preference would be “underserved” in the urban setting, but not certain if the priority for the program is rural. Ultimately, just as I did when I joined the Peace Corps, I will surrender myself to wherever I am needed most!
You get some say in where you’re placed, and there are definitely NHSC positions in urban areas.
Another possibility if you aren’t really sure about primary care is to apply for NHSC jobs AFTER residency. These jobs pay market rates (well, probably a little less) and pay back $25,000 per year of loans. You can hold the job for a maximum of four years. You get to pick and choose among jobs, and you don’t have an upfront commitment. Of course you don’t get any upfront financial assistance, either, but this has always struck me as a really good way to hedge your bets.
It’s definitely worth looking into.
In general, loan repayment programs compensate you for the financial loss associated with doing that activity versus another one that would pay more. For instance you could certainly make more than $25,000 extra by working with the _over_served (e.g., the wealthy), which is its own loan repayment plan. There are also loan repayment programs for clinical research in several different fields as well as in both basic and clinical AIDS research. The idea here is both to provide an incentive, and to make up for the salary that you’re not getting. Clearly to make another gig the equivalent you have to repay your loan at the same rate–but that is possible. For instance if you do NHSC you could earn $95,000 from the clinic and an extra $25,000 for loan repayment. Or, you could work in a private specialty clinic in Boston and make $145,000 and if you paid that $25K that year and therefore avoided the interest on that amount paid more slowly, you’d be at least as well off from a financial point of view, even taking into account a higher cost of living.
This isn’t to knock the NHSC which should be expanded and more valued by our government, but from my point of view any such program is really most valuable if it’s giving you a reward for something you wanted to do anyway. Double the same principle for military medicine–a great deal financially that pays you for what you don’t get (e.g., choice and higher salary). But if you value choice most of all and don’t like wearing a uniform and generally hate US foreign policy, what the military pays you can’t possibly compensate you for what you would lose in the process. If on the other hand you like being part of the military, value the chance to serve your country, and don’t mind having other people telling you where you’re going to go sometimes, then the military is a fantastic deal.
To sum up, figure out what you most want to do, and if it is not well-compensated then figure out if someone wants to make up for the lower salary with some kind of loan repayment program.