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Question about that informal survey...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by turtleboard, Nov 13, 1999.

  1. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    With regard to that informal survey going around about what osteopathic students think about being given MD or MD/DO degrees and about the publicity stuff, I noticed a bunch of you said you would want to see the conferring of MD/DO degrees to the nation's osteopathic physicians.

    Surprisingly the overwhelming majority of you said "no" to the MD, but yes to a DO/MD. I don't get it. What would that accomplish? Would that necessarily help osteopathic physicians with their perceived identity crisis? How would that help the osteopathic profession at all?


    Tim of New York City.
     
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  3. DOPhD student

    DOPhD student Senior Member
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    Think of it this way: we will be whatever we are. I believe the abandonment of OMM and osteopathic philosophy by DOs is due in part to their busy schedules but also due to the desire to conform to conventional medicine. It is no secret that many DOs out there would rather be MDs, not because MDs are any better but because MDs are the most readily identifiable physicians to the American public. I, and some others, propose that to confer the sole "MD" degree to our graduates will destroy our profession. However, a strong argument can be made that the DO/MD degree will stregthen our profession for several reasons. First, DOs instantly acquire physician status in the eyes of the American public. Even those who are not previously aware of what DOs do will know who we are by the MD initials, so there's no need to spend millions of dollars on lame campaign strategies - got milk? got DOs? Second, the DO/MD degree will give new lukewarm graduates the courage to practice "osteopathically" without the fear of appearing "alternative." With the recognized physician status, lukewarm DOs can feel free to practice medicine the way it ought to be practiced, without the motivation to practice in such a manner so as to appear more MD-like. I think it's odd that some DOs shun OMM like the plague while at the same time, there are MDs out there very comfortable with practicing some forms of manipulations. Could it be that the practice of manipulations unmasks DOs and open them to criticisms and questions of their credentials by the American public, ignorant of the DO degree, while the same practice doesn't affect MDs with their guaranteed physician status??? Third, why should a small segment of physicians fully trained and qualified to practice medicine and surgery allow themselves to remain in anonymity without a good reason? Having the "MD" as part of our degree is simply a convenience for public identification, but the "DO" still gives us a unique affiliation with the osteopathic school of philosophy. The dual degree will in no way compromise or weaken our profession. It will serve only to afford us more comfort room to be who we truly are...with guaranteed physician status. Sometimes, less is not more, but more is more, and if DOs in fact do more, let their qualifications be reflected in their degree.
     
  4. CAM01

    CAM01 New Member

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    I think what DoPhd has said makes sense. Conferring the dual degrees, DO/MD has a lot of benefits to us and the public. It would eliminate the need to run the "unity" campaign FOREVER. Can we and our AOA afford to spend countless hours and money to keep on educating the public and other medical profesions about who we are? We know who we are;it's something that we have to get across. Simply, having the dual degree would solve most of the issues we have. I wouldn't be surprised that the regular MD would be jealous of us. They know we have something extra to offer to our prospective patients,just by looking at the dual degrees.
    Some of the MD have acknowledge the value of OMT and are taking advantage of the training offer to them. Clearly, We should not idle while allowing the other profession dictate who and what we are. Our founder would appove the move to confer the dual degree;after all, he was an MD himself. Besides, our identity would be strenghten and our professional organizations would still remain intact. All we need now is to get a comprehensive survey of all the DOs and get their opinions. Frankly, I think that the majority would want the conferring of the dual degrees. I don't see any negative effect from it. It would give us more flexibility as far as practicing overseas if we want to. Together we can build our profession image to the level that we want and make everyone think twice about categorizing us as inferior. In the long run, the percentage of people having gone through the DO's route will be increased substantially and patients will flock to our offices because we can provide them with comprehensive health care. Having the DO/MD may even help us get an edge when trying to get residency. Having more options is valuable to us. I think it's about time we take a stand and push aggressively for the conferring of the DO/MD to existing and future DOs. Please support the dual degree by contacting the AOA and other medical organizations.

    [This message has been edited by CAM01 (edited 11-15-1999).]
     
  5. tonem

    tonem Senior Member
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    I know I am exposing myself to another lambasting, but in the interest of furthuring this discussion, I have a question for you. Do you think that conferring an MD/DO...DO/MD degree would reinforce the erroneous belief that DO is a back door to being a doctor? I'm sure that osteopathy has been trying to assert itself as an equal alternative to the allopathic medical establishment. Or even better, an equal partner in health care. By co-opting part of the allopathic identity (M.D.), aren't you saying that DO isn't good enough? Your comment that patients would flock to your office because you would be able to offer comprehensive care...reinforces that assumption. How would adding two more letters to your degree increase the quality of care you provide? Unless, you believe that MDs provide better quality of care? Secondly, It has been argued several times on this forum that DO's are more inclined to be primary care doctors than MD's...why would a DO want to be more competitive for MD residencies? As for MD's being jealous of their DO brethren, I don't believe that to be the case.

    [This message has been edited by tonem (edited 11-15-1999).]
     
  6. DOPhD student

    DOPhD student Senior Member
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    Tonem, there's no doubt in my mind that blow for blow, DOs are head and shoulders above MDs in terms of quality care. The simple fact of the matter is that we can and just do more, and perhaps our greatest strength lies in our open-mindedness to various potentially effective therapies. I'm not suggesting that by conferring the dual degree, you would increase our medical expertise. As aforementioned, we are what we are and the addition of initials after our names will not change us. The addition is simply a vehicle to convey to the public that we are physicians (since the public has been trained to believe that only physicians with "MD" after their names provide comprehensive care). If it were the case that the "DO" degree is in fact a more recognized medical degree, then there would not be this debate. In summary, DOs provide better care, not because we are more empathetic or holistic because the manner of medical practice is more dependent upon the physician's practice preference rather than school affiliation, but they should acquire a more recognized designation - and if it should be the "MD" as part of the DO/MD, then so be it. I do not believe that the "MD" degree is sole property of allopathic schools. With this said, let me pose you a question: if tomorrow, the DO degree becomes the universal degree while the MD becomes a public enigma, would you not want allopathic schools to start issuing the DO degree? And if the schools do so, does it really change who you are?

    The argument here is not enhancement of ability, not even prestige. It's simply a matter of convenience and public identification.

    PS. Do not blast me for MY OPINION that DOs do more than MDs. I'm only stating facts, and the facts are DOs do everything MDs do and a few are even trained well enough in manual medicine to diagnose and treat various conditions using their hands.
     
  7. CAM01

    CAM01 New Member

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    In regard to Tonem posting, I would like to clarify my views on the matter. The main reason I prefer the dual degree is because it would eliminate the continuous need to educate the public and fellow medical professions of our existence. I think it's a better way of informing the public by taking advantage of their familiarity with the MD title. In my opinion, we should have the right to reflect who we are. I highly value the OMT and the DO's philosophy. Affixing the MD title is ONLY for convenience. I don't want you out there to perceive that I have animosity against MDs. Why should only allopathic own the title MDs. Needless to say why should DOs prevent MDs from getting trained on OMT?
    Another point that was misinterpretted was that having the additional MD attached to the DO would send patients flocking the office: On the contrary, It's the OMT skills,in addition to the regular arsenals that a doctor can offer, that make the patients seek those having MD/DO. Let's compare an internist who has only an MD with the another internist who has had the equivalent residency training ,but who happens to have gone through the DOs route. Clearly, the osteopathic internist who has been trained in OMT looks more attractive in my opinion. This is what I meant by "comprehensive" healthcare and patients would really like the extra service. I hope no one takes offense. I am not saying that MD who has never been trained in OMT is inadequate in anyway. It's up to the individual doctor to decide the extend of his dedication to a patient. If he's dedicated enough, I am sure he'll do whatever necessary to heal the patient with or without OMT.
    As far as residency are concern,esp surgical, the conferring the dual degrees maybe beneficial to us because the impression I get is that non-osteopathic hospitals discriminate DOs who wish to do surgical residency in the hospital. It's not really a big issue for me because there are excessive specialists anyway. Believe it or not, most physicians on both sides want to be in the primary care arena since it's where the jobs are. Again, I am more concern about giving the public and others accurate infomation of our profession. Ultimately, it's the quality of services a doctor provides that matters regardless of the degree(s). I do hope that in the near future both sides will compromise so that the two entities would still remain intact to serve our main objective,which is to provide cost-effective healthcare to those who need it.
     
  8. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor
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    CAM01: Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O., would NOT have wanted DOs to be granted the MD. In fact, if you've read Gevitz's book, Still absolutely refused to grant MDs to thsoe students who made the same case you guys are making today (familiarity with the general public). My take on the matter is that to grant a dual MD/DO will do little to help the osteopathic profession.

    Furthermore to grant DOs an MD would, in my opinion, serve to eliminate the osteopathic profession. What would be the purpose of having two schools if medicine if both train MDs? What would be the purpose of having two separate accreditation boards, separate state medical societies (in some states), separate hospitals, and separate lobbying groups (if they exist)? There really wouldn't be a need for the osteopathic profession from the public standpoint, and quite honestly, osteopathy would probably be cleared out. Majority wins.

    Patients WON'T necessarily "flock" to your office just because you have an MD/DO just like they don't necessarily flock to doctors today that have "FACS" attached to their names. Going to an MD/DO because he does something more depends on the patient being EDUCATED about DO medicine. If we go along with your plan and eliminate all osteopathic public education campaigns like the Unity Campaign, then the public will NEVER know what the DO or osteopathic medicine is, or what they offer. How do you expect patients to flock on over to the MD/DO when they don't even know what the heck a DO is? What use is that to you?

    As for the MD being the sole property of US allopathic schools, I believe you're only partly correct. It's not, but the only medical schools IN the US that can grant MD degrees are US Allopathic Medical Schools accredited by the LCME. So if the AOA were to decide DOs should be granted the MD also, it'll be an issue that has to be taken up with the LCME. Then what about FMGs and why do they get MDs? They get MDs because they're awarded overseas -- outside the US -- and when they come to the States, they're licensed as such.

    Tim of New York City.

    [This message has been edited by turtleboard (edited 11-17-1999).]
     

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