What is a DODMERB and why do I complete one?
The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board, or DoDMERB, is a sitting panel of personnel utilized by the DoD to determine suitability of men and women for application to the Naval Academy, ROTC program, and other commissioning programs. This review process ensures medically qualified candidates are allowed to access into Marine Corps commissioning programs.
This page will walk you through the DoDMERB process and its significance to the officer accessions process.
What is the DoDMERB
The DoDMERB is composed of 44 military and civilian members who are responsible for the evaluation and waiver processes for officer accessions. Their goal is to accomplish their mission "with the highest degree of accuracy, at the minimum cost for the government and the applicant, in the least amount of time."
The DoDMERB is assigned by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to determine the qualifications of candidates who seek acceptance to earn commissions to each of the services. For those who seek to earn a Marine Corps commission through the Naval Academy, ROTC, or OCS, the DodMERB will review their medical exam to confirm their fitness for service.
Medical Exam Process
In order to complete the medical exam for evaluation by the DoDMERB, candidates must execute a set of specific actions. Naval Academy Admissions, an OSO, or the NROTC program will contact the DoDMERB to submit candidate information. Once the DoDMERB processes their information, candidates will receive a package through the mail with instructions on how to complete their exam process.
Candidates will be instructed to initiate their medical process by completing medical and optometric input online at the Department of Defense Medical Exam Testing System (DoDMETS) site. The use of DoDMETS allows applicants to schedule appointments with physicians and to track their evaluation process to completion. The system will take the demographic information provided by the applicant to assign them with physicians and optometrists as necessary to complete medical requirements as designated by the DoDMERB. Any appointment scheduled through DoDMETS is completed at no cost to the candidate.
The following section will outline the common medical, dental, and vision disqualifications from the DoDMERB review process. To serve as a Marine Officer you must be medically qualified to begin training in your chosen accessions program. Failure to meet medical screening or medical exam requirements will result in a disqualification. Potential Officers should not worry about this. Many conditions are eligible for waivers, though Officer requirements are more restrictive than those for enlisted applicants. Applicants' OSO or the admissions department of the Naval Academy can assist if there are questions about their medical exam or waiver processes.
All anomalies in the number, the form, the proportion and the movements of the extremities that produce noticeable deformity or interfere with function. Torn cartilage, unstable ACL or PCL, or surgical correction of any ligaments if unstable or symptomatic. Chronic knee pain syndrome. Flatfoot when accompanied by symptoms. Use of rigid, prescribed orthotics. Any surgical procedure on any joint during the past six months.
Candidates must have sufficient teeth, natural or artificial, in functional occlusion to ensure satisfactory incision and mastication. Five or more teeth with multi-surface caries must be corrected prior to accession. Current orthodontic appliances for continued treatment are disqualifying. Retainer appliances are permissible, provided all active orthodontic treatment has been satisfactorily completed.
Psychiatric and Personality
Psychotic episodes. Character and behavior disorders. History of depression requiring meds, outpatient treatment or hospitalization. Bedwetting, sleepwalking, or eating disorders past the age of 12. Attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder or learning disability such as dyslexia, which interferes with perceptual or academic skills past the age of 12. Use of medications to reduce symptoms of ADD or ADHD within the previous 12 months.
Eczema or atopic dermatitis after the age of 8. Contact dermatitis or allergy to rubber. History of psoriasis. Current diseases of sebaceous glands to include severe acne, if extensive involvement of the neck, shoulders, chest or back is present or shall be aggravated by or interfere with the proper wearing of military equipment are disqualifying. Applicants under treatment with systemic retinoids, including, but not limited to isotretinoin (Accutane(r)), are disqualified until 8 weeks after completion.
Lungs and Chest
History of pneumothorax within the past year if due to simple trauma or surgery, or a history within the past three years if spontaneous. Asthma, including reactive airway disease, exercise-induced bronchospasm or asthmatic bronchitis, reliably diagnosed and symptomatic after the 13th birthday is disqualifying. Reliable diagnostic criteria may include any of the following elements: Substantiated history of cough, wheeze, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath, which persists or recurs over a prolonged period of time, generally more than 12 months.
Eyes and Vision
Uncorrected visual acuity worse than 20/400 in either eye. Vision not correctable to 20/20 in either eye. Refractive error exceeding plus or minus 8.00 diopters (spherical equivalent). Astigmatism exceeding 3.00 diopters and anisometropia exceeding 3.5 diopters. Refractive error corrected by orthokeratology, kerato-refractive, PRK, laser, or any other corneal enhancement.