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    • I can't exactly remember when it started, but I always had a slight resentment for medical doctors (students) throughout my tertiary education as a student of biomedicine. I don't know if it was their perceived arrogance around campus that triggered me, or the fact that biomedical students were considered by many as students who applied to study medicine but got rejected, or that they felt the need to walk around campus with their lab coats on and their stethoscopes around their necks, seemingly announcing to everyone that they were medical students.

      As I grew up and graduated, that resentment didn't really go away. The perception that Ph.D holders are not "real doctors" persisted in pop culture, delivered as a joke in many forms of entertainment. I don't mind the jokes, they are funny and I do laugh, but that sentiment that Ph.D holders are not "real doctors" is something that some people actually do believe in, among other things, and it's something that annoys me.

      Medical doctors obviously play a very vital role in society, there's no question about that, but I feel like people severely underestimate and under-appreciate the contributions of Ph.D holders (and researchers in general) to society. Let's take this current pandemic for instance. Everybody is (rightfully) applauding all the medical doctors (in addition to nurses and all healthcare workers) for all their hard work in fighting this pandemic. Doctors are trying their hardest to save everyone they can. But who are we looking to for a cure? Who are we looking to for a vaccine? Researchers, and many of them probably have a Ph.D. This is what people don't see when they compare M.Ds with Ph.Ds. They are two sides to the same coin. While medical doctors work with existing knowledge, Ph.D holders conduct research to uncover new knowledge. A study of the unknown. Doctors can't treat patients without knowledge that is uncovered from biomedical research, and biomedical research is pointless if nobody applies the findings. Two sides to the same coin. And let's not forget all the Ph.D holders in various other fields and what their research has contributed to society.

      Ph.D holders are real doctors. It's literally in the name - Doctor of Philosophy. If people knew how much work goes into obtaining a Ph.D, or if they tried to obtain one for themselves, I'm sure they wouldn't look down on Ph.D holders.

    • The term doctor is not a medical term anymore than sane is a medical term.

      A medical practitioner is a physician. He has an educational degree known as a doctorate. But the reason that people think that the word "doctor" should only be applied to medical practioners is because Americans have ditched the idea that words should have standard definitions. Because Americans tend to insist that a word means whatever the majority of Americans think that it means, once most Americans quit using the word "doctor" primarily to refer to an educational degree any attempt to explain that the word "physician" and "doctor" are not synonyms has been met with scorn.

      Americans tend to think that democracy means the rule of the illiterate and ignorant. I recently read a comment by someone who said that as a member of the government, a president doesn't have the right to express a religious preference even when talking to his children. I'm sure there are many who are that ignorant.

    • A medical practitioner is a physician.

      Exactly. This is my line of thought as well. It more accurately describes a medical doctor, but I guess society insists on using the term "doctor" for them, leaving Ph.D holders with the "not a real doctor" term.

    • If it makes you feel any better, although PhD don't get as much recognition as MD, they earn equally much, if not more. However, I didn't pursue a PhD because of the glory. I did it because I like science in general, and that is a sufficient reward itself.

    • About a year ago I was putting my sick daughter to bed. She had a bad cold, and needed sleep, but she was fighting every step of the way! She was just about in bed when she sat up and shouted at me "Just so you know, you are not a REAL doctor!"

      See even at home we don't get respect!!

    • Thought you might enjoy these.

      The PHD Movies are the film adaptations of the comic strip "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham. The films take a smart and humorous look at the world of Academia through the eyes of four grad students, and features real academics (including several MacArthur Geniuses and a Nobel Prize winner!) in many of the roles. They were made possible by the incredible efforts of volunteers and the support of thousands of fans, and by the generosity of Caltech and the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter. The movies were featured in the New York Times, Nature, and Science Magazine among others, and screened at over 500 locations worldwide.