Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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 | 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...

WRNMMC displays the “Art of Healing” through December

Article
11/13/2020
Woman wearing mask, standing in front of several paintings

[T]he main focus of the exhibit was the art on display, and the artists behind it.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness |

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Readiness Capabilities

Forging of civil-military anvil against COVID-19 focus at GHSA

Article
11/9/2020
U.S. and Thai soldiers stand together during a medical exercise.

“Defense partnerships around the world are key.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dental literacy brings smiles at Naval Hospital Bremerton

Article
11/5/2020
Two military health personnel wearing masks

"If you’re not true to your teeth, your teeth will be false to you." That old dental proverb is nothing to smirk about.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 11 - November 2020

Report
11/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Acute respiratory infections among active component service members who use combustible tobacco products and/or e-cigarettes/vaping products, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018–2019; Fibromyalgia: Prevalence and burden of disease among active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2015–June 2020.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

‘Virtual Ward’ pilot program to reduce hospital stay time

Article
10/30/2020
Man's arm with blood pressure cuff and fingertip pulse oximeter

"The idea is that instead of staying in hospital longer..., patients are released early and can recover in the comfort and privacy of their homes."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Care Technology | Coronavirus | Public Health | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Navy audiology increases medical readiness and hearing awareness

Article
10/29/2020
Soldier wearing mask, sitting at laptop with a container of ear plugs close by

"The mission of Navy Audiology is to prevent occupational-related hearing injuries and increase medical readiness."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Hearing and Balance Injuries

Weed ACH hosted breast cancer awareness event

Article
10/28/2020
Woman in pink hat and shirt, wearing a racing number, speaking to an audience

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Women's Health

Air Force Unit provides worldwide medical response capability

Article
10/15/2020
Two military personnel loading equipment onto an aircraft

The 379th EAES crews provide time sensitive in-flight patient care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Health Care Professionals) | Clinical Quality Management | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 10 - October 2020

Report
10/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Characterizing the contribution of chronic pain diagnoses to the neurologic burden of disease, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2009–2018; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2015–April 2020; Acute and chronic pancreatitis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

DHA’s Vaccine Safety Hubs emphasize safety

Article
9/29/2020
Soldier filling a vaccine needle

How MHS works to improve “all things vaccine related."

Recommended Content:

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Army radiology instructor and medic render assistance to crash victim

Article
9/2/2020
Mom and Dad in military gear with their young son.

Their medical training helped with knowing the steps for CPR and how to check responsiveness and breathing.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 9 - September 2020

Report
9/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2015–June 2020; Incidence of inguinal hernia and repair procedures and rate of subsequent pain diagnoses, active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2019; Surveillance of spotted fever rickettsioses at Army installations in the U.S. Central and Atlantic regions, 2012–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 106 - 120 Page 8 of 39
Refine your search
Last Updated: May 03, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.