How to Address a Medical Doctor
How to Address a Physician

———-Also on this page:
—–—–—–How to Address a Doctor and Spouse?
—–—–—–How to Address a 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 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

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 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

Related Posts:
Couples: Private Citizens
Couples: Christian Clergy
Couples: Rabbis
Couples: Military
Couples: U.S. Officials
Couples: Same Sex


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.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

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”