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September 4, 1972

Military Medical Schools

JAMA. 1972;221(10):1164. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200230050021

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To the Editor.—  The recent letter of BG Thomas J. Whelan (220:1363, 1972) advocated the establishment of a military medical school as a means to alleviate the shortage of well-qualified, career military physicians. As I recently completed a three-year tour as an Army physician at Fort Richardson, Alaska, I feel qualified to add a note of caution. During my tour, I encountered many well-qualified Army and Air Force physicians who had trained in military residency programs. Shortly after completing their training, about 90% of them expressed severe dissatisfaction with their military experience, and had, or were making plans to resign from the service.The military service does indeed have a problem of "emergency proportions" in retaining qualified career physicians, but establishing a military medical school will not alleviate it. It may, in fact, accelerate the military medical student's dissatisfaction with the service as he will have a prolonged and constant