CAF launches medical training competition

A female military doctor with a red medical cross on her shoulder examines an infant while two other young girls look on.
Lieutenant-Commander Melanie Espina, medical officer with 2 Field Ambulance, Petawawa, Ont., and member of the Canadian Armed Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team, examines a local baby during Operation RENAISSANCE, in Sara, Philippines. Photo: MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

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The competition for a September 2018 start in a Canadian medical school within the Military Medical Training Plan (MMTP) has now begun with the recent release of CANFORGEN 174/17.

Several CANFORGENs have recently notified Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel of opportunities related to various occupational transfer and commissioning plans. The MMTP is a competitive in-service selection plan that provides CAF members with the opportunity to receive a fully subsidized medical education at one of Canada’s 17 medical schools.

The program subsidizes four years of medical school, plus a two-year family medicine residency program. In return, the incumbent serves an additional five-year period of obligatory service (OS). What makes the MMTP unique is that it gives serving members an opportunity to learn a new skill while continuing to serve their country.

The overall health of our fighting force remains a top priority for all leaders, and this is clearly amplified in the Canadian Forces Health Services Group.

Lieutenant-Commander Melanie Espina is one of many successful MMTP candidates. She transitioned from a career as a naval combat systems engineering officer to a medical officer, graduating from the University of Ottawa Family Medicine Residency Program in 2012.

“The process of applying to medical school was challenging as the prerequisites for each school are slightly different,” she said. “It took me a few years to take all the required courses, and I sought out mentorship from a serving medical officer at my local base to assist me with the application process.”

The educational funding from the MMTP, in addition to the full salary and benefits, took away some of the financial stress that affects most medical students, allowing LCdr Espina to concentrate on her studies.

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