Northwell Health Emergency Medicine congratulates a PA for becoming "the newest doctor in town"

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This is a slap in the face to every ER resident physician and attending emergency physician out there.

Northwell Health Emergency Medicine congratulates a PA for becoming "the newest doctor in town"
Northwell Health Emergency Medicine - Facebook (May 31, 2023)

Text transcription

Congratulations to the newest doctor in town! Last week, Megan Wider, Emergency Medicine’s Director for Advanced Care Providers, earned her Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) degree. Please help us to applaud Dr. Wider on this tremendous achievement!
#emergencymedicine #northwelllife #northwell

All we have to say is wow...just fucking wow. Without question, this Facebook post is certainly one of the most flagrantly egregious examples of noctoring we've ever seen. It certainly checks all the boxes: multiple uses of the term "Doctor", a complete and utter failure to mention the fact that Ms. Wider is actually a physician assistant, and the strategic use of nebulous, euphemistic terms such as "advanced care provider" and "Doctor of Medical Science" that could easily mislead members of the general public into thinking that "Dr. Wider" is an emergency physician employed by Northwell Health. Even worse, this was posted by (and therefore officially endorsed by) Northwell Health Emergency Medicine, an entity that should know full well the difference between physicians and midlevel providers and the consequences of deliberately confusing the two when it comes to patient care.

Northwell Health - Wikipedia

Northwell Health is one of the largest, if not THE largest healthcare organization in the New York City metro area, with 23 hospitals and multiple emergency medicine residency programs under their umbrella. Quite frankly, a Facebook post like this is an enormous slap in the face to every ER resident physician and ABEM/AOBEM board-eligible/board-certified physician out there, especially the ones employed by Northwell. It's hard to imagine that with messaging like this, Northwell has any motive other than the promotion a false equivalency between MD/DO physicians and non-physician midlevel providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. If you want to fucking congratulate the "newest doctors in town", how about you shower your praise on the 99 newly minted physicians that graduate every year from the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell or the 25 PGY-1 emergency medicine residents at North Shore University Hospital / Long Island Jewish Medical Center instead?

So, let's break down Northwell Health's false equivalency, shall we?

Above is an excerpt of Sean Wilkes, MD's excellent diagram summarizing the medical school education and residency training required to become a board-eligible/board-certified emergency physician in the United States. (Some EM residency programs are 4 years, or 8 years of graduate education in total.) We're not going to belabor the point and beat any more dead horses by trying to compare the above EM physician training to a 2-year physician assistant program with no residency requirement.

University of Lynchburg - DMSc website

More interesting, however, is Northwell Health's "justification" for calling PA Wider a "doctor". Some basic internet sleuthing indicates that Ms. Wider received her "Doctor of Medical Science" / DMSc degree (we vomit every time we have to type that out) from the esteemed University of Lynchburg. She even published an article in the Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science entitled "Utilization, Characterization and Perceptions of Physician Assistant Post Graduate Education and Fellowship" (LOL). The University of Lynchburg is probably the most infamous purveyor of such degrees among the few institutions that offer it, and we've previously covered them for their social media shenanigans, like that time when they called a PA a "cardiology fellow". 🤣

University of Lynchburg calls PA a “cardiology fellow”
There’s only one cardiologist here, and it’s the guy with an MD.

The University of Lynchburg DMSc program proudly advertises itself as being "100% online and asynchronous" and can be purchased completed in only 12 months at the low, low price of $26,566, "simultaneously while you work as a PA". Wow! Imagine a medical student working as an attending physician while still in medical school. It sure would make paying off those damn student loans a lot easier!