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Fostering Mentorship and Support in Early-Stage Physician Assistants


Aubrie Jones, PA-C, MMS, and Laura Bush, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, discuss the role of the SDPA in supporting the growth and journeys of PAs at all stages.

At the 2024 Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) Annual Summer Conference in San Diego, California, current SDPA President Laura Bush, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, sat down with Dermatology Times and Aubrie Jones, PA-C, MMS.

Jones is a newer grad physician assistant (PA) who began practicing in dermatology at Pacific Dermatology Specialists about a year ago. She has been a pre-PA mentor for about 8 years.

Bush and Jones spoke together about the role of mentorship and support for early-stage PAs, as well as the importance of the SDPA in fostering the growth of PAs at all stages of their careers.


Laura Bush, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA: Hi, I'm Laura Bush, president of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, and I'm here with Aubrie Jones.

Aubrie Jones, PA-C, MMS: Hi, I'm Aubrie. I'm a newer grad PA, and I just started practicing about a year ago.

Bush: Aubrie came up to me and asked me some questions about involvement of pre-PAs.

Jones: I've been a pre-PA peer mentor when I was in undergrad, and now a pre-PA mentor, so for a total about 8 years now, so something I'm very, very passionate about.

Bush: That's awesome, because at the SDPA, we really embrace all levels of PAs, from pre-PA to new, emerging scholars and emerging PAs and our first time attendees. This is how you come to home to the SDPA. We want your involvement, and we're just so excited.

Jones: I'm very excited to be here. It's my first SDPA conference, and like she said, I'm an Emerging Scholar. I got the scholarship this year, which was amazing, and I really love sharing my experiences online. I just created a whole video of this weekend to share with my followers and explain what we learned. I have a lot of pre-PAs ask about my day to day as a derm PA and things I'm involved in with, derm PA- related things. It's really exciting to be here.

Bush: What was your favorite thing about the conference?

Jones: Oh my gosh. Well, obviously meeting people. I know my friends aren't really in derm in this area, so it was amazing to meet new people. I got to go to a VIP experience where we did characters made out of wine, and I got to meet a couple new PAs that are from Texas and Orlando. I think I just loved meeting more people that are passionate about what I'm passionate about, struggle with the same things I struggle with, and have to go through prior authorizations and fun things like that. I think it was really fun to just meet more people that are very like-minded.

Bush: I get it. I went to my first SDPA conference in 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. It was the first SDPA conference. I remember calling home and saying, "Oh my gosh, this is so great." I met people, and that's how I became a lifelong SDPA member, and I eventually became president over it, so maybe someday you'll be president.

Jones: I would love that. I mean, that's a big thing to take on. But step by step, little by little.

Bush: It took me 20 years, but here you are. I kind of coerced her to sit down with me.

Jones: Wasn't prepared, but here we are.

Bush: Some of the best things come out of that. I say to all our fellow SDPA members or PAs out there, this is how you make friends and colleagues and peers that will help you in your career. I bet you walk away with at least 10 people you know now that you can count on.

Jones: Definitely. 100% This weekend has been fantastic.

Bush: Awesome. This is your organization, so I'm glad you feel home here.

[Transcript has been edited for clarity.]

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