Revisiting The DPM/MD Debate

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   We certainly agree that the DPM/MD or DPM/DO agree is not for John McCord, DPM (“Should We Add ‘MD’ To Our Credentials?,” page 74, September issue). This forward-looking concept is directed at the future of podiatric medicine, not the past or present. It would not be effective from a time or cost perspective for a practitioner such as Dr. McCord, with 29 years under his belt, to go back to school, pass tests or complete rotations.

   The concept of the dual degree is part of an evolutionary process that has elevated a former trade into a bona fide recognized medical specialty. This has only occurred because there have always been people in this profession who were not satisfied with the status quo, people who demanded that we continually upgrade our education and training and degree along with it.

   Had Dr. McCord been a practicing chiropodist in 1955, he would likely have proclaimed (as many did), “I am proud to be a chiropodist and calling me a podiatrist won’t increase my standing in the community” or “Changing the degree to DPM won’t make me a better practitioner.” Throughout the years, we have heard the same rhetoric of those opposed to board certification, lengthening residencies and even performing surgery.

   Fortunately, the naysayers eventually yield to the force of progress. This is because this profession exists to serve patients. Obtaining a DPM/MD requires more education and training. Despite Dr. McCord’s unsupported opinion to the contrary, the more education and training podiatrists receive, the better we serve that goal.

— Barry H. Block, DPM, JD
Editor, Podiatry Management

John McCord, DPM, responds:

   I am proud to know Dr. Block reads my column. I hold him in high esteem for his accomplishments as a podiatrist, attorney and publisher.

   The dual degree concept could be seen as evolution or assimilation. The California osteopaths who traded in their DO diplomas for MD diplomas in the early ‘60s were assimilated to smithereens. The MD orthopedists jokingly referred to them as “pseudopods” because most limited their practice to musculoskeletal manipulation. I don’t want that for us. Our identity as DPMs is well established.

   A young lady saw me for an ankle injury last week. She said she wanted a specialist rather than a plain MD. That is why I want to keep my DPM and not become a plain anything.

   The word chiropodist doesn’t bother me. When patients refer to me as a chiropodist, I don’t correct them. It is part of our heritage.

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