Navy Physician – Captain Cynthia Macri

I never would have been able to go to medical school if it wasn’t for the Navy. So when people ask me, “Well, how has the Navy benefited you?” I owe everything ? everything to the Navy. I’m Captain Cynthia Macri, Medical Corps, United States Navy, and I am the Special Assistant for Diversity to the Chief of Naval Operations. When I got into medical school there was the issue of tuition and I decided I always wanted to be in the Navy anyway. So I walked over to a Navy Recruiter and I said, “Hey I know there’s a scholarship, can I have it?” So I got a Navy scholarship, the Health Professions Scholarship, and I went to Temple Medical School on that scholarship. It’s very simple they paid for full tuition and all my books any fees that I had. I didn’t have to worry about anything and I graduated from medical school completely debt-free. And I think a lot of people don’t realize how liberating that is, not having any debt. The Navy provided not just the funding for my medical education, but I met incredible people, great mentors, and really learned to work in a collaborative environment with people from all different backgrounds and different ranks and different specialties. When you see where everybody fits together in the enterprise it really makes you value every patient that walks into your office. The thing that I find to be the most attractive is that when you see a patient, you see them as a part of the whole Navy, the whole network. Three main reasons why I stay in, and one is because is truly because of the patients. The second reason is because of our support staff. Our Corpsman go out to the front lines, they bring the patients back to us. They make our practice so much better. I’m a Gynecologic Oncologist and we have a conference where we have radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, dietitians, we have physical therapists, the technicians. Everybody works together to make the best plan for the patient. So I can do what’s best for my patient every single time. We as health care providers in the Navy have to be concerned about keeping a healthy force fit because that healthy force takes care of the national security of our country. And we also want to make sure that those war fighters know that when they are deployed that we are taking care of their family members as well. In addition, the Navy is a force um that has been called upon to respond rapidly to natural disasters and the most recent one of course in Japan as well as in Haiti and Indonesia. We provide assistance when needed and really focus on the health care and preventive needs of the population in the midst of a disaster. Working as the Special Assistant for the Chief of Naval Operations for diversity, my primary role is to keep the CNO informed on how can the Navy leverage its benefits to improve the lives of different minority groups, including women. The Navy is viewed as a leader in diversity efforts among the armed services. In order to provide culturally literate care we really need to have more more people of different backgrounds serving not just in engineering, science, technology, but also in medicine. It was recommended to me to stay in the clinical side um for at least ten years so that I could hone my skills as a clinician. But during that time I also took on roles such as the OB-GYN residency director and I filled in as the interim Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director. I’ve also been on committees for the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and I was appointed as a board examiner for the American Board of OB-GYN. All as a Navy physician. So your contributions to medicine are not really restricted to just what happens in the Navy. The three critical elements of being a Navy physician is competence, compassion and caring. When I say competence I don’t just mean that you have to have good grades and good test scores or anything like that. It’s much more than that. Competencies include understanding the communities and the experiences that other people have had that shape the way they respond to you. A doctor must also be compassionate and empathetic and they have to care not just about the patient himself or herself but the family and the environment that that person lives in every day. It has to truly be about the patient and the enterprise that you serve. The two that stand out the most is that you can be a flight surgeon in the Navy. So our doctors actually train in Pensacola, Florida as well, and they are come out as certified flight surgeons with like wings and everything. Secondly you can be an undersea medical officer. So if you like to dive, then dive medicine might be the thing for you. In fact there are twelve women already qualified on submarines, right and they’re all medical officers, they’re dive medical officers. And you can’t have it, you can never have those experiences in the civilian sector. Whether it’s at the undergraduate level or it’s at the graduate level, we are here to help if you are willing to take that first step and make the inquiry. So make sure you conquer education and then you just have to be a good performer and a person of principle. And you can do anything you want. Thank you for watching this Navy webcast. If you have any questions visit or find us on Facebook.


  1. Can you get into the Navy as an international medical graduate? I passed step one and two and can't seem to get a residency….can the Navy help?

  2. Can a doctor join if they’re already practicing? If so, how does it work for them in terms of officer training and such?
    Also, what rank would they receive?

  3. My current plan is to:
    •Be in the Marine Corps for four years
    •Get my degree in biology
    •Get in medical school with the Navy scholarship
    •Become a medical officer

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