Cadet To Medicine Program
A path to military medicine early assurance program provides Aggie cadets opportunities for a career in medicine
As Texas A&M continues to grow in number of students and educational offerings each year, many new and exciting programs are being offered to students. One of these new educational opportunities—The Cadet to Medicine Early Assurance Program—has a direct impact on the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.
Launched in the spring of 2019 at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine, this program allows second- and third-year cadets who are interested in pursuing careers in the medical field an opportunity to become highly competitive medical school students. The Cadet to Medicine program provides Corps of Cadets members with a foundation for a successful career in military medicine.
Students who are accepted into the program and successfully meet the program requirements are given a conditional offer of admission into the College of Medicine.
This fall, Andrew Chapman, a former Corps of Cadet member who graduated from Texas A&M in 2020, was the first student to enter the College of Medicine through the pipeline program.
Chapman, who majored in entomology during his undergraduate years, found that the pipeline program was a perfect fit for his future aspirations for a career as a flight surgeon. Now, as a first-year medical student, Chapman splits his time between the Navy and the College of Medicine.
Currently, the program has nine Corps of Cadets students who have already been accepted and are participating in the program.
“The Cadet to Medicine Program has given me some reassurance towards my admittance into medical school,” said Simi Head, a third-year cadet student in the program. “Having the early assurance to Texas A&M’s College of Medicine allows me to focus on everything that I am doing now in academics, the Corps and Army ROTC.”
During the program, cadets are provided with free MCAT prep courses as well as a mentor that is currently attending medical school, and are also given the opportunity to attend a semester-long seminar course taught by professionals in the medical field.
“This seminar course has motivated me even further to become a doctor because it dives deeper into the realities of medical school and the profession itself,” Head said. “We have had multiple speakers come and talk to us about what it really means to be a doctor. These discussions with experienced and practicing physicians give me the drive to keep working hard in my undergraduate studies so that I can be a doctor like them one day. This program is also putting an emphasis on bringing compassion and empathy more into the physician mindset, and I think that is so wonderful that they are cultivating that within us before we even begin medical school.”
In addition to the expectation that they will accept their offer of admission, cadets are also expected to commit to service in one of the six military branches upon graduating from medical school.
“In this program, upon completion of medical school, you will be commissioned into the military,” Head said. “As of now, I wish to pursue a career with the Army. I am currently contracted with the Army for my undergraduate studies, so it makes for a nice transition.”
The rigorous daily environment that the Corps provides coupled with the structured discipline that comes with being a medical student is the perfect mix for a future career in military medicine.
As a pathway that is packed with many opportunities, the Cadet to Medicine Program gives cadets plenty to look forward to with their future careers.
“I hope to be a doctor that truly cares about my patients,” Head said. “Ever since I was about 10 years old, I have wanted to be a doctor. Once I turned 15 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a doctor in the Army. With a long lineage of military service in my family and my desire to serve those who serve, I am excited to live the life of a compassionate, smart, intentional and sensical physician. At the moment, I want to pursue emergency medicine in the Army, and though it may be a stressful environment, I am ready for the adrenaline rush that will help me save lives.”
By Robin Nelson ’22, Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and Texas A&M College of Medicine