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Vote yes to give DOs full fellow status

lebwohl-mark.jpgBy AAD President Mark Lebwohl, MD

I want to impress upon you the importance of approving our DOs as full members  giving them much-deserved Fellow status. At the Academy, MDs enjoy full Fellow membership status, yet approximately 400 AOBD-certified DOs are considered Affiliate members and are not eligible to serve in an Academy elective office.

I have personal experience with a number of DO physicians who work tirelessly on key projects for our specialty. More than fifteen years ago I needed about 40 dermatologists to do approximately 8 hours of work to help get data together for a RUC panel presentation. Approximately half of the MDs I contacted offered to help, but every DO I asked came through with flying colors. Because of their diligence, we were able to secure the data needed to double phototherapy reimbursements. This is not the only example of the volunteer work these Affiliate members have done, and we owe them a debt of gratitude and need to recognize their contributions.

Dr. Lebwohl  explains how dermatologist DOs helped save phototherapy.

For the 2016 ballot, the AAD Board of Directors unanimously approved a recommendation from the AAD Ad Hoc Task Force on Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine to amend our Academy bylaws to give our DOs full Fellow status.

In the past, resistance to this amendment has stemmed from the concern that DO dermatology residency programs are not on par with those of MDs, in terms of standards, requirements, certification, etc. Today, there is a great deal of evidence the programs accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) are legitimate and provide patients with high quality dermatological care. 

If there is any doubt about a residency program – either for MDs or DOs – working as a unified force, we have more control to monitor the quality and numbers of such programs as well as the outcomes from both.

Dr. Lebwohl explains why DOs should become full fellows.
Osteopathic dermatologists have shown they not only are active and enthusiastic members of the Academy but also they’re willing to support our specialty and work with and for us. Elevating their status will surely only benefit us as a more well-rounded and powerful specialty.

As we move forward on tackling many new and pressing issues, let’s strengthen  our specialty and come together with one unified voice and vote in favor of this bylaw amendment.

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