AAPA and SDPA Respond to New York Times

November 22, 2017

On Nov. 20, the New York Times ran a story that both the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) and the Society for Dermatology PAs (SDPA) found misleading and one-sided. Today, AAPA’s President and the SDPA President submitted a joint letter to the editor providing feedback on the piece. You can read the letter below:

Dear Editor,

Your article “Skin Cancers Rise—Along with Questionable Treatments” (Health, Nov. 20) belittles the dangers of skin cancers and presents a misleading picture of care that Physician Assistants, better known as PAs, provide in dermatology.

Every day, PAs work collaboratively with board-certified dermatologists in team-based practices that provide quality care to patients. The story relies on experiences of just two patients. Last year, PAs had more than 400 million interactions with patients across all medical specialties and settings.

The piece did not include stories of patients who have had positive experiences with PAs, which far outnumber the negative ones. Nor did it include examples of PAs making accurate skin cancer diagnoses that had been overlooked by physicians, which does happen. Further, it failed to cite any of the many studies showing that PAs provide high-quality medical care.

Finally, none of the well-regarded professional associations representing PAs were quoted, which would have provided more balance to this one-sided story.

Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
President and Chair of the Board
American Academy of PAs

Jane Mast, MPAS, PA-C
Society of Dermatology PAs (SDPA)

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