Skip to main content

Military Health System

Meet the First Coast Guard Sponsored USU Medical Student

Image of US Coast Guard Ensign Bobczynski smiles at camera. U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate, Ensign Elyse Bobczynski has the distinction of being the first USCG-sponsored student to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate, Ensign Elyse Bobczynski has the distinction of being the first USCG-sponsored student to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Coast Guard, which falls under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, has physician assistants and health services technicians, but it does not have its own dedicated medical corps. Instead, the U.S. Public Health Service provides care for USCG service members and their families, who may also seek care from Department of Defense providers in military medical treatment facilities. As a result, there is no direct path from the Coast Guard Academy to medical school other than completing your service obligation, getting out, and then pursuing medical school on your own.

Bobczynski, who graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2015, knew in her first year at the Academy that she wanted to become a physician. She was partially inspired to pursue medicine after suffering a head injury while in school there.

"There were many complications with it, and I was in and out of the clinic for about 10 months. But it was this experience that helped me solidify my desire to help other people who were medically challenged," Bobczynski recalls.

She changed her major from Civil Engineering to Marine and Environmental Sciences, which was the closest she could get to pre-med. She also worked in the biochemistry lab to gain more experience.

When Bobczynski graduated, she was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Walnut in Hawaii. Her job was to drive a 225-foot cutter around the Hawaiian Islands chain and service the Aids to Navigation -- minor lights, lighthouses, day beacons, range lights, sound signals, lighted or unlighted buoys, etc. -- which help boaters safely navigate waterways. And while in Hawaii, she studied for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test).

"I made friends with our independent duty corpsman onboard,” Bobczynski divulges. “For about two years, I picked his brain and slowly tried to learn everything that would help me potentially go to medical school. I had a goal, and I was laser-focused on it."

Later, Bobczynski transitioned to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she worked in the office of the Deputy Commandant for Operations. She also devoted hours to studying for the MCAT, as well as taking other pre-med courses.

"I met people who helped me, and I developed connections to present my idea of becoming a doctor while still being in the Coast Guard,” Bobczynski explains. “I hoped things would work out so that the Coast Guard could actually send me to medical school. But, it wasn’t possible at that time."

Bobczynski refused to abandon her goal of becoming a doctor while being in the Coast Guard. She wrote a proposal and submitted it through her chain of command, but it didn't go anywhere.

"That didn't stop me," Bobczynski admits. "I thought that I'd just have to find a different way because my end goal was to attend medical school. If it happened in the Coast Guard, then fine. Separating from service wasn't my first choice, but I was going to medical school no matter what.

"I love the Coast Guard, I love our mission, and I love the people," Bobczynski beams. "I knew that I wanted to remain in the military, and USU was always my first choice for medical school. Even though I applied the first time and was denied, I was determined to just keep applying until I was accepted."

She cites the unified, teamwork environment at USU as a major draw to the university for her.

At the outset of the pandemic, her Chief Medical Officer discovered that Bobczynski wanted to go to medical school.

"She wanted me to come work for her so she could mentor and guide me," reveals Bobczynski. "So, I worked for her at the beginning of COVID. I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to policy creation, COVID decision-making, and other pandemic lessons. I was smack in the middle of medicine and healthcare―a great place to learn."

After a few months, the Coast Guard created a new job for her working in informatics, specifically with electronic health records. During this time, Bobczynski applied to and was accepted at USU and was able to stay in the Coast Guard to be the first Coast Guard-sponsored medical student.

"We've never had a Coast Guard-sponsored member at USU. Our current medical corps consists of Commissioned Corps Public Health Service officers. It's definitely been a process. However, sheer determination and knowing the right people who were willing to help me was actually what got me here," Bobczynski observes.

"We're excited to have our first Coast Guard-sponsored student at USU," says Navy Capt. (Dr.) Robert Liotta, associate dean for Recruitment and Admissions at USU's Hebert School of Medicine. "This new partnership is significant in that it increases the value of USU to the medical readiness of our nation's armed forces and the Department of Homeland Security."

"I want to help Coast Guardsmen because I have seen the difficulties that they face when it comes to getting medical care," Bobczynski added. "They need doctors who understand what they are feeling and going through. I want to be fully committed to my career, while also making a real difference."

Bobczynski believes her medical field specialty choices may be limited to family medicine, preventive medicine, emergency medicine, and internal medicine because of the needs of the Coast Guard. Already, she's leaning toward family medicine, but is open to all opportunities.

"How I see it is that all my doors are open. The hardest part was to convince the Coast Guard to send me to medical school. I'm super lucky and blessed beyond all measure. I know that there are quite a few people in the Coast Guard who also want to be doctors. I hope I can help open the pipeline so they can follow their dreams as well."

For Bobczynski, the road to the future is wide open. "Now, I'm choosing my own adventure, and I'm just going to try everything. I'm going to build my life as I imagine it. The worst thing that they can say is no. I've already heard that several times in my life, so I'm just going to keep on forging through with a smile on my face."

You also may be interested in...

FLOTEX-22

Photo
1/31/2023
FLOTEX-22

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Dante Horner, a corpsman with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, performs tactical combat casualty care during Spanish FLOTEX-22 near Rota, Spain, June 9, 2022. This exercise features tactical level actions ashore, combined with joint training and planning, aimed at increasing overall bilateral interoperability between nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Megan Ozaki)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Eyes on Vision Readiness

Article Around MHS
1/27/2023
Military personnel gets eye exam

Good eyesight is often take for granted, but vision impairment can be the difference between mission success and mission failure. Find out what's happening on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling so airmen in the National Capital Region remain sharply focused on their U.S. Air Force missions.

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence | Health Readiness & Combat Support

I Am Navy Medicine - and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - Lt. Jason Balazs

Article Around MHS
1/27/2023
Military medical personnel administers ultrasound on patient.

National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Week is January 22-28, 2023. Learn why CRNAs like Lt. Jason Balazs use extraordinary precision and focus to support critical mission readiness and their impact on this profession's long history and enduring record of patient safety.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

U.S. Army Medical Laboratory Forges Relationship with Australian Defence Force Institute

Article Around MHS
1/25/2023
Military personnel in medical laoratory

American soldiers from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory were hosted by their counterparts at the Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute in Brisbane, Australia. Find out what was discussed at this meeting to strengthen critical relationships, save lives, and enable both sides' mission readiness.

Recommended Content:

Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Research & Innovation

USU Students Dedication Leads to Mission Critical Lifesaving Blood Drives

Article Around MHS
1/20/2023
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Adam Stainiger

Blood provides life-extending properties. No one knows this like U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Adam Stainiger does. Find out how his own mother's health journey prompted Stainiger's dedication hosting blood drives to help other service members and their families.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Armed Services Blood Program

959th Medical Group Airmen at BAMC Receive Distinguished Awards

Article Around MHS
1/18/2023
U.S. Army Col. Renee Matos speaks at ceremony

The New Year’s revelry may be over; however, with a host of local and national awards, the 959th Medical Group still has cause to celebrate. Several 959th Airmen assigned to Brooke Army Medical Center were recognized recently for their selfless service, professionalism, and clinical expertise, both at home and overseas.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Military Pharmacists Face Unique Challenges While Deployed

Article
1/12/2023
Military pharmacist counting pills

Deployed pharmacists are responsible for every medication used in their clinic. That includes preparing medication kits for medics on patrol, helping prepare aeromedical evacuation patients, normal outpatient prescriptions, and in some locations, even snakebite antidotes.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Pharmacy Operations | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Injured Fort Bliss K-9 Handler Makes Inspiring Return to Duty

Article Around MHS
1/10/2023
Military personnel with K9

A military working dog handler assigned to the 93rd Military Police battalion survives a horrific motorcycle crash with a speeding pickup driver, but his prognosis was grim. Find out how dedication, motivation, and his sweet connection with a K-9 got U.S. Army Spc. Cade Brown back on the road to recovery.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Theater Medical Command Experiment Focuses on Large-Scale Combat Operations, Future Operating Environment

Article Around MHS
1/6/2023
Military medical personnel at Fort Sam Houston

The Medical Capability Integration Directorate hosted its culminating limited objective experiment for calendar year 2022. See how the Theater Medical Command (TMC) Experiment will affect large-scale combat operations and prioritize limited Army Health System capabilities and how the TMC will support future operating environments.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Uniformed Services University Professor Develops Self-Diagnosis, Treatment Kit for Common Female Infections

Article Around MHS
1/4/2023
USU infographic with Dr. Elizabeth Kostas-Polston

It's a major research advancement in women's health and females serving in the U.S. military may soon have access to it. See how a new, self-diagnosis and self-treatment kit can help deployed women overseas or in austere environments.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Research & Innovation | Women's Health

New “mCurriculum” Launched to Help Surgeons Worldwide Sharpen Skills, Improve Clinical Readiness

Article Around MHS
12/23/2022
Military personnel holding new device developed by USU

Imagine surgeons honing their skills using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Thanks to a collaboration between the Uniformed Services University, the American College of Surgeons, the Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons, and the University of California, Davis, it's happening. See how this groundbreaking "mCurriculum" is helping surgeons around the globe save lives.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Education & Training | Health Care Technology

African Immigrant Finds New Home at USU

Article Around MHS
12/20/2022
U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Jean Bertrand Kalima

When he was a child, his family uprooted several times to escape the dangers of war torn Rwanda. Two decades and a leap of faith later, this United States Air Force flight leader is on his way to becoming a military doctor.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

New Work Group Looks at Preventive Health Measures for Service Members

Article Around MHS
12/9/2022
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Christopher Mohan

The U.S. Coast Guard is now prioritizing a review of health-related data to determine how to reduce illness and injuries within the workforce. This shift is prompted by a policy update within the Coast Guard Medical Manual COMDTINST 6000.7, as well as the new Population Health Optimization Work Group that will impact members, civilians, dependents, and retirees.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

'We Must Be Future-Focused' Says New USU President Dr. Jonathan Woodson

Article Around MHS
12/1/2022
New USU President Dr. Jonathan Woodson at podium

Building strong relationships with stakeholders and preparing students to embrace the digital medical platforms of the future are just some of the many goals of the new president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Uniformed Services University Alumnus Astronaut Frank Rubio Takes Questions, Talks with Students

Article Around MHS
11/28/2022
U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Frank Rubio, NASA astronaut, makes space walk

Uniformed Services University alumnus U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Frank Rubio, a NASA astronaut, and his colleague U.S. Marine Col. Nicole Mann, answered a series of thought-provoking questions from students, staff and military personnel live from the International Space Station on Nov. 21.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 39
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 31, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery