Dentists with a Medical Degree from the
University of Health Sciences Antigua
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
At least 47 dentists have obtained a medical degree from the University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA) in St. Johns, Antigua, West Indies, a school whose requirements are considerably less than those of standard medical schools. In 2004, the Kansas Court of Appeals supported the state medical board's right to stop Steven L. Thomas, D.D.S., a prominent oral surgeon, from professional use of a medical degree from UHSA on grounds that Thomas did not have a medical license. In upholding the board, the appeals court concluded that Thomas's medical education and training were "vastly inferior to that of licensed M.D.'s," and that "by seeing the M.D. initials after Thomas' name, the public, patients, hospitals, and other health care practitioners could be misled to believe that Thomas has the same sort of training and experience as a licensed medical doctor."  In a subsequent report published in American Medical News, Thomas said he had completed 18 months of clinical rotations in the United States under the supervision of board-certified physicians, interspersed with eight weeks of lectures in Antigua and countless hours of assignments off campus . However, medical doctors who enter practice have at least three times as much clinical training during medical school followed by at least three years of postgraduate clinical training.
UHSA is not accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), which only accredits U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Graduates from international medical schools can be licensed in the United States once certain criteria are met. But UHSA graduates from UHSA are not permitted to apply for medical licenses in at least two states, California and Indiana . In response to the American Medical News story, the president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, responded that the vast majority of oral and maxillofacial surgeons with MDs have attained their MD degree by completing oral and maxillofacial surgery residency training programs that integrate two to three years of medical education in an LCME-accredited medical school . These programs are also vastly superior to the UHSA program.
Here is a list of the dentists who were identified as UHSA graduates at the time the court ruling was issued. I have no information on how they plan to use their degree, whether they will seek additional training, or whether they will seek to obtain a medical license.
- State of Kansas, ex rel. State Board of the Healing Arts v. Steven L.Thomas. Kansas Court of Appeals, Case No. 91,403, 2004.
- Croasdale M. Oral surgeons bite at offshore MD degree: Most patients assume anyone calling themselves MD has a medical license, but that's not true with some oral surgeons who are using the designation. American Medical News, Oct. 18, 2004.
- Daley DJ Jr. AAOMS president: Most oral surgeons with medical degrees received their training in accredited programs. Letter to the editor. American Medical News Nov 15, 2004.
This article was posted on January 31, 2005.