This is now the most popular last name in medicine.

What does the future hold for the state of the nation, or shall we say, state of the names?

Feb 19, 2016 · Doximity Insider

By Sarah-Richelle Lemas, Doximity

If a healthy dose of Valentine’s Day amore has you dreaming of your future offspring, prep your tiny tikes for a future career in medicine by choosing their name wisely. While there’s no way of knowing who the future doctors of America will be, we’ve seen commonalities in our care teams over the past few decades. Just for fun we analyzed the names of all U.S. physicians by first name, last name and the state in which they practice.

Minority Report: Popular last names point to the increase in diversity in medicine over time

Physicians born anytime in the 1930s - 1950s are more likely to have the surname Smith, but starting in the 1960s the U.S. saw an uptick in diversity, and in both the 1970s and 1980s, Patel topped this list as the most common last name among all physicians. Patel is now officially the last name most frequently preceded by “Dr.”


This trend is likely to continue. Since the 1980s, the number of Asian American med school graduates has increased from almost none to making up approximately a fifth of all graduates (source: AAMC Data Warehouse). According to the 2014 census, foreign born doctors now make up approximately 25 percent of all physicians practicing in the U.S.

Most popular first names, nationwide (doctors born in 1930s-1990s):


Dr. John will see you in the south

The leading male physician name over the past 60 years has been John, topping the list in 25 states, including most southeastern states. John was consistently in the first three slots until the 1980s, when it dropped to seventh place. David was the overall runner up, reigning in 11 states. David’s popularity peaked in the 1950s and 1960s with the number one spot, and was later dethroned by Michael and Matthew in the 70s and 80s.

Map of Female Physicians Name

Paging Dr. Jenny from all the blocks

When it comes to female physician names, Jennifer was far and above the most popular - the moniker won out in 36 states. This could correlate to the name’s overall surge in popularity in the 70s and 80s, when it was also the most popular U.S. baby name. Around this time the nation also saw an increase in female physicians joining the field, with their numbers increasing from 25,000 in 1970 to more than 235,000 in 2004 (source: Federation of State Medical Boards 2015).

Map of Female Physicians Name

What’s in a name?

What does the future hold for the state of the nation, or shall we say, state of the names? While a zany alias like Blue Ivy or Apple may garner press for today’s stars and their babies, a more common name may be the safer pick for the next generation of doctors in your family. If the past is any indication, the most common doctor names have traditionally been aligned with the census - take a look at our the comparison below.



Either way, here’s to the future physicians of America, and to those who raise them! Is your Doximity profile up-to-date?

Send us your CV today and we’ll upload it for you for free:

Back to Blog