Frequently Asked Questions
Endocrinology and Endocrinologists
1. What is endocrinology?
Hormones are substances that are made by cells secreted into the blood that control the function of most cells in the body. For e.g. insulin is a hormone that is made by the beta cell of the pancreas that controls how glucose is used in the body. Thyroxine is a hormone that is secreted by the thyroid gland that controls the body’s temperature, growth and metabolism. The study of these hormones is called endocrinology.
2. Who are endocrinologists?
Endocrinologists are specialists in the field of endocrinology. In India after obtaining an MBBS degree many doctors undergo and receive certification in a basic specialty- either general medicine/ internal medicine or paediatrics. The degree that is granted for a basic is called MD or DNB. After completing one of these degrees – some doctors undergo a three year training program in endocrinology and obtain either a DM or a DNB degree in endocrinology. Doctors who have undergone such training and received certification are specialists in endocrinology are recognised by the Medical Council of India as endocrinologists
3. Are there any other degrees recognised?
In addition to DM and DNB the Medical Council of India has recognised the degrees granted by six english speaking nations – USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. For each of these countries there is a legitimate degree granting authority. These authorities have an online system that allows you to verify if the doctor indeed has obtained the degree he or she claims to have obtained. For e.g., the american board of internal medicine is the authority for those who have obtained their training in the US and it has has a verifying system here.
4. How do I know if my doctor is a bonafide endocrinologist?
Every doctor by law is required to register his/her additional qualifications with the state medical council and display the registration in his or her office. This includes both doctors with DM/DNB and approved overseas qualifications. In most states doctors are expected to only display and use in their letter head only such qualifications. If a doctor has displayed the registration certificate (with the state medical council) of his endocrine degree in his/her clinic/ office he/she is probably bonafide.
5. What about fellowships or certificate courses?
Fellowships are either short term programs are or conferred by certain societies as an honour and do not represent proof of training that confers expertise in endocrinology. Many societies offer certificate courses that allow doctors to get additional knowledge in endocrinology. But these are not a substitute for the clinical training an expertise conferred by a formal training program. Neither fellowships or certificates are registrable by the medical councils. If a person calls himself/herself as an endocrinologist diabetologist or thyroidologist based on these, it is a misrepresentation of facts
6. Are endocrinologists qualified to take care of diabetes?
YES. Diabetes is a hormonal disorder. A significant part of the training program in endocrinology is dedicated to training in the care of patients with diabetes.
7. Are diabetologists endocrinologists?
No. There are very few training programs that are MCI recognised that specifically provide training only in diabetes. Many physicians have interest and considerable experience in the care of patients with diabetes; however calling oneself as diabetologist without registrable qualifications is a misrepresentation of facts
8. Can the ESI help me?
The credentials committee of the endocrine society vets the application of its members and the society has a copy of the qualifications of its members. It must be remembered that mere membership in the society does not indicate that the member is a qualified endocrinologist. Refer to question 4 above. The society can help you with specific questions. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org