By Wendy Sarubbi | September 12, 2011 9:52 am

College of Medicine M.D. students are combining their commitments to medicine and public service through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), which provides scholarship help to students who spend time on active duty while in school and apply for a military service residency upon graduation.

M-1 students Anastasia Kostrubala and Colton Bush were recently commissioned into the U.S. Navy. They join fellow Navy M-1s John LoVoi and Andrew Syski, M-1 Erin Caddell, who is in the Army program and M-2 Casey Dedeugd, who is in the Air Force.

Dr. Dick Peppler, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs, has over 35 years of service in the Army Reserve and as such was given the opportunity to commission the two new medical students shortly after they arrived at the College of Medicine this month.

“I mentioned my service to the Naval officer who came for the commissioning and he asked me to administer the oath,” Dr. Peppler said. “It was an honor to be part of the ceremony that recognizes how our students give back.”

As part of her training, M-2 Casey Dedeugd spent five weeks this summer in officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. She was up every day at 4:30 a.m. for physical fitness, and then participated in leadership development, medical simulations and military history and protocol training. During one lesson, medical officers in training had to care for patients in a simulated combat hospital that was similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a leadership exercise, Casey had to lead her team, including a wounded soldier, across an electrified fence with the only tools available – two large ropes.

At the end of the training, Casey graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.

“I like the discipline of the military,” Casey said of her Air Force service. “And this program gives me the ability to help people who are doing the ultimate to serve our country.”

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