Last Updated on November 30, 2020
On Sunday night, Vanity Fair revealed that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who was trained as a medical doctor and ophthalmologist, is not board certified. With this news, Paul still maintains more current medical credentials than White House Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Deborah Birx, who let her medical license, not board certification, expire in 2014.
Vanity Fair reported, “the American Board of Medical Specialists says that Rand Paul hasn’t been a certified physician since 2005,” though they noted that Paul is aware of this and has let his license lapse, as it did in 2006, intentionally as a form of protest to the loose requirements for established doctors.
Paul told The Washington Post: “Is it fair that the ophthalmologist down the street can claim board certification, without renewing it, but that a younger ophthalmologist, who passed the same boards, is disallowed?”
After publication, Paul’s office provided a statement to National File, clarifying that Paul actually has more current medical credentials than Birx as he can still legally practice medicine. Paul’s office notes that there is a large and fundamental difference between licensure, which permits an individual to legally practice medicine, and board certification, which applies to specific specialties.
Licensure and board certification are two different things
Rand is a licensed MD in the state of Kentucky and has always kept that current.
He was certified by the American Academy of Ophthalmogy but as you noted chose not to “recertify” in protest of their decision to make younger doctors renew their certification but not older ones.
While Paul publicly acknowledged this fact about his professional life and offered an explanation, Birx did not do the same after National File exclusively published the story in April that Birx does not have a current medical license.
Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has an expired medical license.
Birx, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve as United States Global AIDS Coordinator in 2014, graduated from the Pennsylvania State University medical school in 1980. She was issued a medical license in Pennsylvania in 1987.
That license expired on December 31, 2014, and it has not been renewed since then, according to the Pennsylvania Licensing System Verification Service, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of State.
While Paul’s role in the Senate has necessitated a deep knowledge of public health since the Chinese coronavirus emerged from Wuhan and spread to nearly every part of the planet, it should be noted that his job does not require vast medical knowledge and the majority of U.S. Senators are not doctors. Additionally, Paul is still able to legally practice medicine, and does so regularly, while Birx is not.
Birx, however, has served as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator for Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump since 2014, around the time she let her license expire. She also serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force alongside Anthony Fauci.
This article was updated to reflect a statement provided to National File by Sen. Rand Paul’s office.