Medical Doctor (MD)
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A Medical Doctor (MD) is a physician who uses allopathic medicine to treat his or her patients. MDs work to improve the health of their patients and communities through encouraging healthy behaviors, prevention of illness and injury, and overall improving the quality of life. They are trained in the cutting edge medical advances, drug therapies, and technologies. They use these tools as well as a variety of other clinical skills to help treat and heal their patients. MDs offer a broad range of health care services which may include: performing a physical exam, conducting a patient's history, ordering laboratory tests, diagnosing, treating and managing acute and chronic illness, writing prescriptions, providing referrals, and encouraging healthy life choices in collaboration with the patient.
The scope of practice for MDs covers a wide range of the health care field. For each physician it depends on the specific training and specialization they complete as to what their medical focus will be. This usually begins with a foundation in primary care or family medicine, with many doctors choosing to specialize. A few examples of medical specialties are internal medicine, oncology, dermatology, surgery, cardiology, gynecology, sports medicine, GI medicine and neurology. The environment where MDs practice is just as vast as their many specialties. They can have a private office-based practice, work in an integrated facility with other practitioners (including alternative health care providers), work in a hospital, or in a specialty clinic.
To practice medicine a MD must complete a four-year doctorate in medicine after completing a four-year undergraduate degree and completing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Once a doctorate in medicine has been completed, a series of national licensing exams must be passed to graduate, and a post-graduate residency program must be completed. The largest association of MDs in the United States is the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA's mission is "to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health". The AMA works to maintain standards within the community of medical doctors as well as further research in medicine.
Author: Bronwyn Bacon, ND Candidate '09
American Medical Associationhttp://www.ama-assn.org
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