How to Address a Medical Doctor
How to Address a Physician

———-Also on this page:
—–—–—–Doctor and Spouse
—–—–—–Retired Doctor

How to Address a Medical Doctor | How to Address a PhysicianMD

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-(Full Name), MD How to Address a Physician
—-—-(Name of practice, hospital, or clinic)
—-—-(Address)Address Medical Doctor

—-Envelope, social communications:
—-—-Dr. (Full Name)

—-Letter salutation:  How to Address a Medical Doctor
—-—-Dear Dr. (Surname):

—-—-Dr. (Surname)

#1) The rule is either ‘Dr.‘ before, or the post-nominal abbreviation for their degree after. Never both at the same time.
#2) See the post below on joint forms of address — addressing a physician and spouse.

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Doctor and Spouse

These forms work for anyone with a doctorate as well as physicians such as dentist, chiropractor, military doctor, veterinarian, optometrist, osteopath or podiatrist.

Avoid: Dr. John and Ms. Kathleen Dexter
Avoid: Dr. Allyson and Mr. William Carley

#1) Same Surname

—-Envelope & Salutation:
——–Dr. and Mrs. John Dexter
——–—-Dear Dr. and Mrs. Dexter,

——–Dr. John Dexter and Ms. Kathleen Dexter
——–—-Dear Dr. and Ms. Dexter

——–Dr. Allyson Carley and Mr. William Carley
——–—-Dear Dr. Carley and Mr. Carley

#2) Different Surnames

—-Envelope & Salutation:
——–Dr. Roger Fry and Ms. Jane Taylor
——–—-Dear Dr. Fry and Ms. Taylor,

——–Dr. Lucy Khin and Mr. David Patel
——–—-Dear Dr. Khin and Mr. Patel

– Robert Hickey

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address a Retired Physician?

My friend is a retired physician who no longer practices. His still Dr. (Name)?  Does he still put MD after his name?
——————————— Linda Whedbee

Dear Ms. Whedbee:
Physicians are addressed as Dr. … forever … in practice and when retired.

(Full Name), M.D. is the official form of his name. He used that when practicing and including his degree made his qualifications to offer a professional service clear. He might still use (Full Name), M.D. in a academic setting where everyone is using their academic post-nominals.

Dr. William Smith is the social form of his name. Now that he’s retired it’s the version to use most often.

—-Envelope:  How to Address a Medical Doctor
——–Dr. William Smith

—-Converation or salutation:
——–Dr. Smith

— Robert Hickey  How to Address a Medical Doctor

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"