Whether you work in the medical industry or not, there may be times when you have to address a letter to several medical specialists who work in separate but related areas. These doctors may be attached to the same hospital, or they may work in multiple locations. One important reason for writing to multiple doctors is to help them collaborate effectively with each other and with you on the subject at hand.
Write One Letter
When writing to multiple doctors at the same medical practice or within the same department at a hospital, it's acceptable to write a single letter addressed to all the recipients. For example, you might address your letter to:
Zoe Smith, M.D., Lead Physician
Rhonda Allen, M.D., Director, Weight Management
Thomas Kenelm, M.D., Family Medicine
Acme Primary Care Center
Yardley, PA 19067
The doctors likely have different professional titles, which you should, as a matter of courtesy, respect. If there's an obvious hierarchy, then list the doctors' names in order of seniority or academic rank. Otherwise, use alphabetical order. It's customary to send a separate letter and envelope to each recipient, so print an original copy for each doctor.
The Carbon Copy Notation
For multiple recipients in different locations, which includes different departments within the same large hospital, prepare the same letter multiple times with each of the doctors as the primary recipient.
This ensures that each doctor receives his or her own letter. At the bottom of each letter, insert the "cc:" notation, followed by the names and titles of the other doctors who are receiving a copy of the letter. The "cc" stands for "carbon copy" or "courtesy copy." It makes it clear to each doctor who else has received a copy of the letter. Because you want the doctors to collaborate, include the doctor's address after her cc'ed name.
Select Your Salutation
When writing a single letter to multiple recipients, write "Dear" followed by the names of the doctors in the order you listed them in the address block: "Dear Dr. Smith, Dr. Allen and Dr. Kenelm," for example. Include a colon after the final name. Greeting doctors by their first names is never acceptable when sending official correspondence. Unless you're sending a wedding invitation to some physician friends, keep your salutation strictly professional.
When Addressing a Panel
If you need to address a large number of doctors, such as a panel or committee, it may be more appropriate to address your letter to the general panel and include a distribution block at the end of the letter. Your salutation would be "Dear Life Insurance Application Panel:" or similar. Write the name, professional title and address of each panel member in the distribution block, and send a copy of the letter to each person listed.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a business writer. Her articles have appeared on numerous business sites including Typefinder, Women in Business, Startwire and Indeed.com.