Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More on the doctorate issue

There's a guy who posted a comment to this article that I previously cited. I liked his comment a lot, so I've reproduced it here in its entirety. I'm sure that he wouldn't mind.

I think this confusion starts from the fact that the medical profession took it upon themselves to use the title “doctor” inappropriately. First of all, the title “doctor” has a Latin origin that loosely translates into “teacher”. This is generally a function of the Ph.D. holder. There are other legitimate doctorate degrees that are equal to the Ph.D such as D.Sci, Th.D, and the D.D. The holders of these degrees are the REAL DOCTORS!

Another interesting fact is that the MD isn’t even a graduate degree. This is a “professional” degree, not an ACADEMIC one. Consider that lawyers with a JD (Juris Doctor) degree, go back to school to get a Masters of Law. What!? They have a “doctorate” degree, and if they pursue graduate studies, they go “back” to the Master’s level? How can that be? Simple, the Juris Doctor degree is NOT an academic, graduate degree. Same as the Doctor of Medicine degree.
In fact, other countries like India, and England have the right idea, and their medical schools grant the Bachelor of Medicine degree for the same amount of course work.

I remember speaking to medical school graduates from India in the past, and neither refer to themselves as “doctor”. They call themselves a “physician” which is far more appropriate. In Germany, you can’t even call yourself a “doctor” unless you have a Ph.D.

Understandably, our western society has linked the phrase, “he/she is a doctor” with those who possess an MD or a DO. Even chiropractors, podiatrists, and dentists are not considered “doctors”, even though they have a “doctorate” in their respective fields. This is unfortunate, and it will take a lot of effort to re-educate our society to change it’s perception on this honored title.