To help oriental medicine doctors advance to the United States, it is necessary to put “MD” (Doctor of Medicine) in their licenses, a government think tank said in a recent report.
Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI)한국보건산업진흥원 released the report Wednesday with the title of “Developing the strategy to help oriental medical institutions advance to America,” which was submitted in December.
“The foremost task is Korean doctors of oriental medicine should win Americans’ recognition that they are ‘doctoral-level’ medical personnel with the licenses of physician,” the report said. “Toward that end, Korean herb doctors should be described as MDs in their licenses issued by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as are the cases of the Chinese oriental doctors.”
And all the Korean colleges of oriental medicine should be registered on the list of global medical, educational institutions, to prove they are organizations that produce the workforce of ‘physicians, it emphasized.
“We can provide a legal ground for that by citing that Koreans who graduate college of traditional Korean medicine and get licenses can work as generalists and military doctors who can provide primary treatments,” the report went on to say. “If these schools are not on the list of global medical, educational institutions, there will be no ways for any U.S. agencies to recognize Korean oriental doctors as belonging to the occupation who have received proper medical education and training.”
“For Korean herb doctors to be able to work officially in the U.S. medical research and clinical fields, their English licenses have to be revised, and colleges of Korean medicine should be on the list of medical, educational institutions. The government has to make its utmost effort to tackles these two tasks,” it added.
Currently, the U.S. oriental medicine doctors, including acupuncturists, who are similar to Korea oriental medicine doctors, need MDs’ prescription for acupuncturing treatments, and can’t operate hospital-level medical institutions that have wards, researchers here noted. “They are considered as just ‘physical therapists,’” they said.
“In the U.S., there are no medical, occupational groups that perfectly match Korean oriental doctors,” the researchers said. “It is crucial for oriental doctors to give and take treatment requests through cooperation with other medical personnel for making optimal treatment plans for patients and operating hospital efficiently.”
The experts went on to say, “If Korea oriental medicine doctors can work at the U.S. medical institutions or conduct treatment in related hospitals as well as work as professor-level manpower who can teach at medical colleges, the statuses of Korean oriental doctors will sharply go up in the United States.”
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