International Recognition of DO degree

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by david_a_hill, Dec 1, 1999.

  1. david_a_hill

    david_a_hill Junior Member

    Dec 1, 1999
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    It is no surprise that in a world with many languages and cultures there exist many other primary medical degrees, such as the MB from the United Kingdom, the MBBS from India, the Vrach from Russia, or the MUDr from Czechoslovakia. Most other countries tend to refer to their physicians as 'Dr' and not make reference to their medical degree. But, here in the United States, we tend to have the degree following the physician's name on their name badges, lab coats, business cards, and office doors. With an estimated 25% of the 650,000 physicians in the United States being IMG's you would expect to see a wide variety of medical degrees on name badges, lab coats, business cards, and office doors. Why have I only ever seen MD and DO?

    I recently sent the following e-mail correspondence to a foreign physician practicing here; "I have a question related to your medical degree. I assume MB ChB originates from the British educational system. I am curious about whether you would use MB or MD on your lab coat and whether people often ask you what an MB is". (A question many DO's could identify with). The reply: "Much of the time I just use MD as it is a direct equivalent and easier for people to understand.".

    What does the allopathic community think about IMG's using the designation MD when their medical degree is not a MD? How would they feel if DO's were to do the same? Presumably, they would argue that the IMG's are allopathic physicians. But what is closer to our MD degree? A foreign degree taken over 5 years straight out of high school, where clinical exposure is often without the advanced equipment and techniques available in the US, or a DO degree taken over 4 years after 4 years of college, where clinical exposure is generally identical to MD students.

    In addition, many of the countries that have non-MD primary medical degrees do not recognize our D.O. degree. So, we accept non-MD medical degrees from countries that seem unwilling to accept our non-MD medical degrees. This lack of international recognition is inequitable and denies many of our students and graduates the opportunities that we readily extend to others.

    I would like to see action from the AMA and AOA on two counts. Firstly, require all IMG's to use their correct degree designation. And, secondly I would like to see recognition withdraw of non-MD medical degrees from those countries who fail to fully recognize our medical degrees. This would include the UK, India, South Africa, Ireland, Mexico, and Australia; countries whose students and physicians seem to have no problem taking advantages of the opportunities here while denying many of our students and physicians similar opportunities.

    David Hill MSc MS1
    Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Comments / suggestions
    mjjohnson1224 likes this.
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  3. Moon

    Moon Member

    Jan 25, 1999
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    Very good argument Dr. Hill. Please address this problem on the bulletin board of AMA and AOA. Well done, well done!
  4. That's just scary. I guess I better start SEEKING the 17 year-olds in foreign medical schools. That way my big strong hubby can practice medicine in all the third-world countries. I wonder if I can practice law with my doctored [​IMG] Stanford law degree? [​IMG]

    It's not easy for a US MD to practice medicine in a Foreign Country either. There are many restrictions and you need to be sponsored in many cases. Don't think that a graduate of Loma Linda just walks into a country and slaps his degree on the wall and starts practicing. I've met US MDs who have tried to practice in a foreign country but were unable to. If someone wanted to practice in a foreign country, they should have just went to a foreign medical school in that country righ out of highschool.

    I think FMGs should have separate degrees as well. I think US Allopathic Medicine is very different from say Medicine practiced in Honduras or Guam. I'm not saying they shouldn't be allowed to practice here but I don't think the degrees should be the same. Any country that doesn't allow a US trained MD or DO to practice should have their countries physicians banned in the US as well. We'll see who hurting. For every 10,000 FMGs that want to practice in the US, there is 1 MD/DO who wants to practice in a third world country. If we pass this law, it will be all the citizens of the Foreign Country who will be lobbying their government to allow us to practice there freely so that they can do the same in the US. It is impossible to change all the laws in all the Foreign Countries. If we change the law here, however, I guarantee that the restrictions will change in RECORD time.

    SEEK BS -- MEAT [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by MEAT (edited 03-13-2001).]
  5. MAAT

    MAAT Senior Member

    Feb 22, 2001
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    Ah doc. p. I see your old obsessive cut and paste plaster tendencies haven't changed any.


  6. Dr. P

    Dr. P Member

    Nov 17, 2000
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    The reason we don not use M.D. is not because the AMA doesn't allow it, but rather, because the osteopathic profession chooses to remain a distinct profession. Foreign medical graduates graduate from allopathic medical schools in their resepctive countries, ie: traditional western medicicine. As such, their degree is an M.D. equivalent, an allopathic medical degree, and therefore, they can use the M.D. letters. Our brand of medicine is distinctively osteopathic in tradition and philosophy. Whether the difference between the 2 professions merit their mutual existence versus thier unification is an age-old question I am not going to comment on, or, frankly care about. Don't worry so much about the MD/DO thing. Believe me, when you get out htere, what matters is your abilities,your skills and your connections. Godd luck with the next 4 years of med school!

  7. Stephen Ewen

    Feb 5, 2000
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    My understanding is that IMGs with various letters behind their name that equal "physician" are allowed BY LAW to write themselves as M.D., this much on the basis of their having done PG training here in the U.S. The intent is to not cause needless confusion in patients.

    My understanding is that, during the days when DO still meant "albatross" to some, a group of DOs in Texas sued under this same law to write themselves as M.D., and won.

    I have not verified any of this to primary sources, and have it only on pretty good 2nd hand sources.

    FACT: most DOs write themselves as "Dr." on Pt material.

    The DO degree in UK and other UK-like coutries equals a PT/DC-like degree in the US. I suspect these coutries do not let US DOs come because of the cofusion this would bring in patients, as well as the much trouble for their own native DO population it would cause. I understand. I also understand your position.

    Hence, I would see it best to work toward passage of laws in the UK and UK-like countries allowing US DOs to write themselves as what the equivilent of the med degree is in the country they are seeking to practice in, esp. and possibly assuming they did PG training there.

    I think DOs and whoever else having had to do 4 undergrad years is irrelevant. Most IMGs from thhhe straight out of HS med edu systems had a much tougher last 2 or more years of HS than most US students ever had, and they also usually went more than 4 yrs to med school--almost always at least 5, usually 6, sometimes 7, in Belgium even more. Plus thay has cumpulsory rotating internships of usually 1 year before they even got awarded their degree. In fact, it can be argued that their trainig was superior since it was on-task, and not on whatever the 4 yr undergrad stuff minus pre-med reqs was on.

    We all should be glad this letters-behind-the-name issues is not a problem in most of the developing world.


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