Exploring Another View On The DPM/MD Debate

   The debate that continues about the DPM/MD or DPM/DO dual degree is understandable, as demonstrated by Duane Dumm, DPM (see pg. 14, “Dual Degrees May Not Benefit DPMs,” March issue). Change is difficult. Change is suspect. Change is resisted. However, in podiatric medicine, change is a function of rapid growth with dimensions of practice that many take for granted and perhaps others do not fully realize.    First, dual degrees are not simply programs designed to benefit the DPM. While there certainly is a benefit to the podiatric physician, the ultimate benefit should be to the patient who requires our professional services. Will dually degreed podiatrists hold themselves out to be DPMs, MDs (or DOs)? Hopefully, those who select this path will use both degrees and even both licenses.    For several decades, dually degreed oral surgeons with DDS and MD degrees have in the overwhelming number of instances practiced as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, providing added value to their patients. Do they list themselves in classified telephone directories under the heading of MD and the heading of DDS? Certainly, they often do both but they have earned it and are not doing anything morally or ethically repugnant nor would they be doing anything to cause damage to their profession.    In fact, the opposite is true. The oral maxillofacial surgeon DDS/MD degree has not hurt the profession of dentistry or any of its schools.    Not only am I currently involved in initiating the DPM/DO degree program in the United States, I have also been invited by the Chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department and the Dean of our College of Dental Medicine to help them develop a DMD/DO program at our medical school.

Keep The Debate In Perspective

   As a podiatric physician for many years, I have seen scathing responses by well-meaning, prominent and caring members of our profession about many changes that have occurred. The issues have ranged from the podiatric medical schools and the residency “movement” to the establishment of board certification and the expansion of practice rights. The concept of creating a two-year residency was revolutionary, let alone a three-year program. The requirement to complete residency training was fought and the decision to establish board certification in podiatric surgery was at least as traumatic.    As the DPM/MD or DPM/DO program is beginning to become a reality and a forum for heated argument, I mainly get visions of déjà vu. Indeed, these battlegrounds come and go, and the profession becomes far better as the resulting changes are implemented. The same will be true with those in the profession who choose to obtain dual degrees and licenses as DPMs and/or as MDs or DOs. Our profession will be better off because of these changes. Our patients will not be confused. They will be better served. Lastly, in response to Dr. Dumm’s question: will new graduates with a MD or DO “limit themselves to treating nails and calluses?” I don’t think so but I hope those graduates who “only” have the DPM degree don’t do so either. - Leonard A. Levy, DPM, MPH Associate Dean For Education, Planning And Research Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine levyleon@nsu.nova.edu

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