I have a pre-existing medical condition; will I be able to enter the class?

The Department of Defense screens for certain conditions that might be incompatible with military medical practice. You may not be medically cleared for unconditional acceptance to the School of Medicine if you are not able to do the things required to practice medicine:

  • at home and abroad in both resource rich and resource poor areas
  • during medical school residency and throughout your active duty service obligation
  • without accommodations that would needlessly risk yourself or your unit

Likewise, if you have a condition that might be expected to recur or worsen to the point that it precludes you from full military medical practice, you may not be medically cleared.

Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03 provides medical standards for induction into the military services and lists many potentially disqualifying conditions. Although all of the conditions listed in DoDI 6130.03 are disqualifying, many are able to be waived. That is, you might be disqualified on the basis of a pre-existing condition, but the disqualification may be waived either by DoDMERB or by a separate waiver process conducted by the military services and the Department of Defense, Health Affairs. DoDI 6130.03 is not an exhaustive document; unlisted conditions may also be deemed disqualifying at the time of physical examination and review.

As an example, DoDI 6130.03 lists refractive errors in excess of -8.00 or +8.00 as disqualifying. However, the military services feel that as long as the vision corrects to 20/20, an individual with such a condition would have no difficulty serving in the military. Although DoDMERB would likely disqualify the individual, the waiver process conducted by the military services and Health Affairs would likely waive the requirement, allowing the student to be unconditionally accepted into the class.

As another example, chondromalacia, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (commonly called runner’s knee), is potentially disqualifying. DoDMERB may or may not disqualify an individual with runner’s knee based on the information they receive on that individual. If an individual is disqualified, the military services and Health Affairs would review the physical examination record and any other materials submitted on the student’s behalf. If the condition has not occurred for some time, or if it does not interfere with physical activity, it is likely to be waived.

If you would like to know if you would receive a waiver for your potentially disqualifying position, you should email the Commissioning Coordinator.

Please note that the Public Health Service is currently not granting any waivers.

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