A Different Approach to Health Professions Education
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is the nation’s federal health professions academy — akin to the undergraduate programs of the U.S. military academies at West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs. And like the academies, students are not charged tuition; they repay the nation for their education through service. In many respects, USU’s curricula and educational experiences are similar to those of civilian academic health centers, with one important difference: its emphasis on military health care, leadership, readiness and public health set USU apart.
The F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine offers doctorate degrees in medicine, doctorate and master’s degrees in public health and related disciplines, doctorate degrees in medical and clinical psychology, and interdisciplinary Ph.D. degrees in three military-relevant areas of science: molecular and cell biology, neuroscience and emerging infectious diseases. To enroll, students must be U.S. citizens and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S., a U.S. territory or Canada. Each year approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of incoming students have prior service either as academy graduates, ROTC program participants or as service members. The remainder come from civilian backgrounds with no prior military experience.
Medical students are commissioned as junior officers in their chosen service — Army, Navy, Air Force or U.S. Public Health Service. They are on active duty throughout their education and are compensated as such. Upon completion of their education (including residency), they owe seven years service to the nation. More than 60 percent of USU graduates willingly serve 20 years or longer.
Army Lieutenant Colonel (Dr.) Aaron Saguil, associate dean of recruitment and admissions for USU’s medical school, said: "We are not asking [students] for their money; we want their time and their service — time spent serving their patients, the nation and the world."
USU graduate students, both military and civilian, pursue doctoral (and some master’s) degrees in public health, clinical psychology or the biomedical sciences. Students must be citizens to qualify for stipends from appropriated funds. The high caliber of USU’s basic science departments, research centers and the University’s partnerships with the NIH and several national labs provide an extraordinarily rich environment for scientific discovery and professional growth.
The Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing offers a Ph.D. in Nursing Science, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Nurse Anesthesia, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. It also offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Students in the DNP and MSN programs must be on active duty in the Army, Navy or Air Force or be in the U.S. Public Health Service. Ph.D. students may be active-duty nurses in one of the four uniformed services or work for the Veterans Administration or other federal service. Active-duty students and federal employees apply for admission, first through their service, and then to the University.
Students in the Postgraduate Dental College are pursuing a Master of Science in Oral Biology in conjunction with their postgraduate clinical specialty training. All students are active-duty officers who have already earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.
All USU graduates pursue their professional practice within the federal health system that provides extraordinary access to a range of experience and practice around the globe. This practice is shaped by the USU education that prepares them to be leaders, working across professions in teams to focus on disease prevention and health promotion.