A message from Cynthia F. Griffith, MPAS, PA-C, JDPA Editor-in-Chief
Here we are at the start of a new year. I think we are all happy to turn the page of the calendar and look forward with hope to the year ahead. The COVID pandemic continues to be a stressor as I write this, but as we continue to live and work in this historic time, I am grateful to have this community of intelligent and hardworking dermatology PAs as my colleagues. Our daily work efforts alleviate suffering and make this world a better place. So, let us raise a glass to commemorate the past and celebrate as we look forward to the future.
Speaking of the future in 2022, the JDPA will continue to have original research, clinically relevant case reports, and other timely features on issues important to the Derm PA. Another initiative of the JDPA is to foster collaboration and be a resource for our SDPA members who wish to continue their professional development by publishing. I would encourage you to email me if you have more questions or an interest in publishing a case report, editorial, continuing education article, or your doctoral dissertation or other original writing in JDPA. Another way to get involved and give back to the Derm PA community is by becoming a peer reviewer for JDPA. Use your clinical expertise to read and provide constructive comments for a fellow Derm PA’s manuscript. This time reading, editing, and using your critical thinking makes others’ articles better and makes you a better writer and clinician. Being a peer reviewer is not a large time commitment, and we can help you through the process. If you are interested, please email me. And a heartfelt thank you to those Derm PA colleagues who have recently become peer reviewers. Your volunteerism improves this journal.
As you turn the pages in this issue, we have a CME-accredited article on chronic pruritus, which is very appropriate for winter. Our Dermatology Grand Rounds feature this month discusses a case of isotretinoin-induced acne fulminans. This case is a nice reminder of the uncommon complication. Speaking of isotretinoin, I hope that everyone enjoyed iPLEDGE’s gift to us and our patient’s this past holiday season when they updated their IPLEDGE system Dec 13, 2021, resulting in treatment delays and hours of time working to access the new updated system to obtain prescriptions for our patients. As I worked through this, I found the SDPA’s coverage of this helpful.1Disruptions Caused by iPLEDGE Modifications Are Negatively Impacting Patient Care. The Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. December 16, 2021. https://www.dermpa.org/news/590274/Disruptions-Caused-by-iPLEDGE-Modifications-Are-Negatively-Impacting-Patient-Care.html. Accessed 2/8/22. I appreciate all the PAs who contributed their experience to help us all work through the iPLEDGE system update.
In this Winter issue, we are also pleased to feature two insightful commentaries. First, Roderick S. Hooker, PhD, MBA, PA, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy at Northern Arizona University, addresses a question that has arisen in several situations involving PAs in various settings and roles, “Are physician assistants cost-effective in their employment?” The editorial calls for additional dermatology specific workforce research to answer this question. Reading the editorial, I thought of this study of SDPA members that found that in 2013, the median annual productivity of a Derm PA was $500,000 and median income at $100,000.2 Thomas E, Coombs J, Kim J, Hyde M. A survey of fellow members of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. JAAPA. 2013;26(2):56. doi:10.1097/01720610-201302000-00011 I agree with the authors of the study who said, “PAs in dermatology appear to generate adequate revenue to be profitable to a dermatology practice.”2Thomas E, Coombs J, Kim J, Hyde M. A survey of fellow members of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. JAAPA. 2013;26(2):56. doi:10.1097/01720610-201302000-00011 Although research like this seems fundamental to the practicing Dermatology PA who knows their worth, publications like this help inform economists and healthcare administrators of the value of the work we do and should continue to be done to show up-to-date information.
Our second commentary featured in this issue is, “The evolution will be peer-reviewed,” by Peter Young, MPAS, PA-C. In his editorial, he references an article by Laura K. Ferris. Ferris and her coauthors, all from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were studying computer aided classification of lesions but happened to find that in their study PAs required less biopsies to diagnose melanoma than physician colleagues.3 Ferris LK, Harkes JA, Gilbert B, et al. Computer-aided classification of melanocytic lesions using dermoscopic images. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;73(5):769-776. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.07.028
I was delighted to see this study as I was not aware of it! Good job, Mr. Young, proving your point that a side effect of writing is you become more familiar with current medical literature.
Enjoy the issue and thank you for continuing to fight the good fight every day for your patients. However, as we go forward into the new year, I encourage you to prioritize your health and “recharge” in whatever way you find meaningful, whether going for a chilly run or snuggling up with a book and your loved ones by a fire. Here is to 2022 and us.
- 1Disruptions Caused by iPLEDGE Modifications Are Negatively Impacting Patient Care. The Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. December 16, 2021. https://www.dermpa.org/news/590274/Disruptions-Caused-by-iPLEDGE-Modifications-Are-Negatively-Impacting-Patient-Care.html. Accessed 2/8/22.
- 2Thomas E, Coombs J, Kim J, Hyde M. A survey of fellow members of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. JAAPA. 2013;26(2):56. doi:10.1097/01720610-201302000-00011
- 3Ferris LK, Harkes JA, Gilbert B, et al. Computer-aided classification of melanocytic lesions using dermoscopic images. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;73(5):769-776. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.07.028