Opinion

AAOMS president: Most oral surgeons with medical degrees received their training in accredited programs

LETTER — Posted Nov. 15, 2004

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As the president of the American Assn. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, I was disappointed in "Oral surgeons bite at offshore MD degree" (Article, Oct. 18).

Just as a number of physicians, including many AMA members, have successfully obtained their MDs from offshore medical schools and gone on to attain state medical licensure, so, too, have some OMSs and others pursued medical degrees through the University of Health Sciences, Antigua. But the vast majority of OMSs with MDs have attained their degree by completing OMS residency training programs that integrate two to three years of medical education in a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Our 48 months of OMS residency are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and include a core surgical year with rotation on the general surgery service accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The overwhelming majority of OMSs who complete medical degrees also obtain medical licenses in their respective states of practice.

As the Web edition of your article noted, 44 of our 100 accredited OMS training programs offer dual degrees in medicine and dentistry. Of the 914 OMS residents currently training in the United States, 421 (46%) are in an integrated DDS/MD program. The overwhelming majority of OMSs who complete medical degrees through an integrated OMS residency training program also obtain medical licenses in their state of practice.

In addition to clarifying the record on the integration of MD degrees into accredited OMS residency training programs, I also must express my disappointment at AMNews' use of comments by Steven Pearlman, MD, member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery and the president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

In the words of your article, Dr. Pearlman claims that the advertising of medical degrees by some who have pursued medical degrees in Antigua is another example of oral and maxillofacial surgeons seeking to work beyond their scope.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons -- regardless of whether they hold dual or single degrees -- complete a minimum of four years of accredited, hospital-based residency training, which includes extensive, complex reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the craniofacial complex. OMSs today are on the front lines saving the faces and lives of Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back at home, emergency department physicians, general surgeons and other medical colleagues rely on OMSs to perform face-saving work in our hospitals and ERs. State laws and ACS guidelines require all Level I and Level II trauma centers to maintain an OMS on call to provide critical facial trauma care and reconstructive surgery to patients on a 24-hour basis.

Daniel J. Daley Jr., DDS, president, American Assn. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Rosemont, Ill.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/11/15/edlt1115.htm.

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