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Speciality Definitions

These terms are defined for general information purposes only; certain terms may have varying definitions based on state law.

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A

Adolescent Medicine:
A pediatrician who specializes in the care of teenagers. A Pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of children. Pediatricians can treat children with any type of problem, or they may specialize in certain areas, such as cancer (oncology), stomach disorders (gastroenterology), kidney disease (nephrology), or the care of teenagers (adolescent medicine).

Allergy & Immunology:
Allergists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the immune system. Allergists can treat people who have conditions such as asthma, stuffy head and runny nose, eczema, itchy skin, and allergic reactions to food, medications, or insect stings.

Anxiety and Stress Management Counseling:
Anxiety and Stress Management Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional with training in human behavior and psychological health. The therapist specializes in diagnosing and treating anxiety and/or stress related disorders.

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C

Cardiologist:
A cardiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiologists can treat people who have conditions or diseases such as chest pain (angina), irregular heart rhythms, heart failure, high blood pressure, or heart attacks. Some cardiologists perform complicated procedures such as cardiac catheterizations. They work closely with a cardiac surgeon when heart surgery is needed. Most people who need cardiac care are referred to a cardiologist by their primary doctor.

Cardiovascular surgeon:
Cardiovascular surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in surgery of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular surgeons generally perform open- and closed-heart surgeries and treat people who have a blockage in the blood vessels around the heart (bypass surgery) or trouble with the heart valves.

Chiropractor:
Chiropractors are health professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating alignment problems that affect of the muscles and bones of the body. A chiropractor examines the spinal column, nervous system, blood (circulatory) system, and considers a person's lifestyle choices (such as eating and exercise habits) when treating these problems. A chiropractor can diagnose and treat conditions such as back or hip pain.

Colon and rectal surgeon:
Colon and rectal surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in colon and rectal surgery. Colon and rectal surgeons can diagnose and treat diseases such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease including colitis and regional enteritis (Crohn's disease), and hemorrhoids. Colon and rectal surgeons may also perform diagnostic procedures, such as sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Most people are referred to a colon and rectal surgeon by another doctor.

Christian Counseling:
Christian Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional with training in human behavior and psychological health. The therapist specializes in using a Christian perspective in their practice methodology.

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D

Dentist:
Dentists are health professionals who specialize in mouth and dental health problems. Dentists can diagnose and treat dental problems, such as cavities and tooth loss.

Dermatologist:
Dermatologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions of the skin, hair, or nails, including problems such as acne, psoriasis, warts, or skin cancer.

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E

Emergency medicine specialist:
Emergency medicine specialists are medical doctors who specialize in emergency care. In many areas where people can go to an emergency department, they are seen by an emergency medicine specialist. The emergency medicine specialist can diagnose and treat many medical emergencies and can refer people to another doctor for appropriate care and treatment.

Endocrinologist:
An endocrinologist is a medical doctor (sometimes an internist) who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the endocrine glands, which regulate the hormones. The most common of these are diabetes and thyroid problems.

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F

Family practitioner:
Family practitioners are medical doctors who specialize in family medicine. A family practitioner can diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions and diseases for people of all age groups and both sexes. Family practitioners treat all organ systems and types of disease and are interested in total health care of the individual and the family. Family practitioners may also manage pregnancy and childbirth. They receive training in a broad range of medical areas, including pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatry, and general surgery. They refer people to community resources and other specialists as needed.

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G

Gastroenterologist:
Gastroenterologists are internists who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the stomach and digestive system (including the liver and pancreas), such as stomach pain, liver, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, colon polyps, or cancer. They perform procedures to examine the digestive system, and work closely with a surgeon when surgery is needed.

Gay/Lesbian Counseling:
Gay/Lesbian Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional with training in human behavior and psychological health. The therapist specializes in providing services to individuals for whom issues related to sexual orientation are a focus of treatment.

General practitioner:
General practitioners are medical doctors who diagnose and treat most types of health conditions or diseases. They treat people of all age groups and both sexes.

Geriatric Counseling:
Geriatric Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional with training in human behavior and psychological health. The therapist specializes in treatment of the senior population and issues related to aging.

Gynecologist:
Gynecologists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the female reproductive system. Gynecologists perform surgeries, such as removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) and also can provide routine care, such as Pap smears or breast examinations. Gynecologists may also practice obstetrics (the management of pregnancy). They may further specialize in gynecologic oncology (the care and treatment of women with cancers of the reproductive organs) or reproductive endocrinology (the care and treatment of women and men who have infertility problems).

Gynecologists can be board-certified through the Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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H

Hand surgeon:
Hand surgeons are orthopedic surgeons (medical doctors who specialize in bone, muscle, and joint surgery) or plastic surgeons who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hand problems and injuries. Hand surgeons can be board-certified through the Boards of Surgery or Orthopedic Surgery, which are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Hematologist:
A hematologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the blood (hematology), blood system, and bone marrow, including anemia, blood-clotting disorders, leukemia, and sickle cell disease.

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I

Infectious disease specialist:
Infectious disease specialists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating complex infections.

Internal Medicine:
Internists are medical doctors who specialize in providing preventative care, as well as treatment for illnesses and injuries, to adults. These physicians specialize in treating adults by providing preventative care, diagnosis and treatment of complex conditions, and management of most adult illnesses.

Interventional cardiologist:
Interventional cardiologists are medical doctors who specialize in performing surgical or invasive procedures, such as cardiac catheterization or angioplasty, to diagnose and treat heart disease. Interventional cardiologists can be board-certified as internists or interventional cardiologists through the Board of Internal Medicine, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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J

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K

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L

Life Management Counseling:
Life Management Counseling is provided by a licensed mental health professional with training in human behavior and psychological health. The therapist specializes in professional coaching as a methodology to assist individuals to take action towards achieving life goals.

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M

Medical geneticist:
Medical geneticists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing genetic disorders and counseling people who need additional information.

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N

Nephrologist:
Nephrologists are internists who specialize in diagnosing and treating kidney and urinary system diseases, such as inflammation in the kidneys, kidney disease from high blood pressure, or cancer.

Neurological surgeon:
A neurological surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in surgery of the brain, spinal column and peripheral nervous system.

Neurologist:
Neurologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosis and treatment of brain, spinal cord diseases, and peripheral nervous system. A neurologist treats people who have neurologic or nervous system diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, headaches, stroke, or injury to the nervous system. Neurologists conduct tests and prescribe treatments for problems such as memory loss or restrictions in movement. When nervous system surgery is necessary, a neurologist works closely with a neurosurgeon.

Nuclear medicine specialist:
Nuclear medicine specialists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnostic medicine. A nuclear medicine specialist performs specialized testing to find out what is wrong (diagnostic tests) using different types of radioactive substances.

Nurse Practitioner:
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has advanced education and clinical training. Nurse practitioners work with people of all ages and their families.

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O

Obstetrician:
An obstetrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of pregnant women. Obstetricians care for women from the time the fetus is conceived until after the baby is born. Many obstetricians also diagnose and treat diseases of the female reproductive system (gynecology) and provide care for women when they are not pregnant.

Obstetrics/Gynecoloy:
Obstetricians/Gynecologists are medical doctors with education in prevention and treatment of women's diseases (gynecology) and the management of pregnancy and childbirth (obstetrics). They are also called "OB/GYNs." These two closely related specialties may be combined, or a physician may choose to specialize in one or the other.

Oncologist:
An oncologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer. Oncologists may further specialize in treating certain types of cancers or in treating people of certain age groups, such as pediatric oncologists, who treat children

Ophthalmologist:
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye problems, diseases, and injuries. Some ophthalmologists perform surgery on the eye.

Optometrist:
Doctors of optometry (O.D.) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the visual system and the eye, as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. Optometrists examine the eyes to diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; systemic diseases like hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Optometrists also test to determine the ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy and medicines to treat eye diseases and injuries.

Orthopedic surgeon:
An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in bone, muscle, and joint surgery. This surgery can include corrective procedures, such as removing torn cartilage or replacing an entire joint. Some orthopedic surgeons are generalists, but most specialize in areas such as shoulder surgery, hand surgery, or joint replacement. Most people are referred to an orthopedic surgeon by their primary doctor.

Otolaryngologist:
An otolaryngologist is a medical doctor who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving swallowing or breathing using the upper airway. Otolaryngologists are a type of surgeon.

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P

Pediatrician:
A pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in providing preventative care, as well as treatment for illnesses and injury, to children. These physicians specialize in treating children and adolescents by monitoring growth and development, and diagnosing and treating most medical conditions. Pediatricians can treat children with any type of problem, or they may specialize in certain areas, such as cancer (oncology), stomach disorders (gastroenterology), kidney disease (nephrology), or the care of teenagers (adolescent medicine).

Physical Medicine/Physiatrist:
(Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation): A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in recovery from major injuries or illnesses to muscles or nerves such as stroke, where recovery may be long term.

Physician's Assistant:
A physician's assistant is a health professional who practices medicine under a doctor's supervision.

Plastic surgeon:
A plastic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in surgery that improves a person's appearance. A person might see a plastic surgeon to perform cosmetic surgery, such as a face-lift; or for reconstructive or cosmetic surgery for a birth defect such as cleft palate, an injury, or a surgical procedure for cancer, such as breast implant after breast removal.

Podiatrist:
A podiatrist is a health professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the foot, such as ingrown toenails, fungus infections, and bunions. Podiatrists are not medical doctors. Podiatrists can treat both medical and surgical problems of the feet and ankles.

Preventive medicine specialist:
A preventive medicine specialist is a medical doctor who specializes in helping people stay healthy and helping them prevent disease.

Psychiatrist:
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health problems. Psychiatrists may evaluate or treat people who have mental illnesses, such as depression or coping difficulties. Psychiatrists may offer counseling, or they can prescribe medications to treat mental illness.

Psychologist:
A psychologist is a health professional with training and expertise in human behavior and psychological health. Psychologists are not medical doctors (MDs); they obtain a PhD (doctor of psychology) degree in a field of psychology. Psychologists may evaluate or treat people who have mental illnesses, such as depression or coping difficulties. Psychologists provide counseling and mental health services. Psychologists do not prescribe medication.

Pulmonologist:
A pulmonologist is an internist who further specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the lungs and lower airways. Pulmonologists perform tests to examine the lungs and how they function, and are often involved in treatment when a patient needs to be ventilated artificially with a respirator. People may see a pulmonologist because of asthma, emphysema, or pneumonia.

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Q

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R

Rheumatologist:
A rheumatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the joints or autoimmune disease. Rheumatologists are internists who further specialize in diagnosing and treating rheumatic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus.

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S

Sports medicine specialist:
Sports medicine specialists are medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of people with injuries to their bones, muscles, joints, tendons, or ligaments that result from physical activity.

Surgeon (General):
General surgeons are medical doctors who perform surgical procedures or operations for almost all areas of the body. Some procedures are performed to help in diagnosis of a condition, while other surgeries are performed to correct a medical problem or repair organs injured through trauma or accident.

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T

Thoracic surgeon:
A thoracic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in chest, heart, and lung surgery. Thoracic surgeons may further specialize in one area, such as heart surgery or lung surgery, or in a subspecialty of that area, such as bypass surgery or removing tumors. Most people are referred to a thoracic surgeon by their primary doctor.

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U

Urologist:
Urologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the urinary systems in men and women, including the bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Urologists also manage disorders of the male reproductive system. Urologists are a type of surgeon.

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V

Vascular surgeon:
Vascular surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, medical management, and surgical treatment of diseases of the blood vessels (vascular disease). Vascular surgeons have generally completed 5 years of surgical training and an additional 1 to 2 years of fellowship training. Vascular surgeons can be board certified through the Board of Surgery, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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X

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Y

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