Miller shares upcoming news from the SDPA and important legislative updates for dermatology physician assistants.
Current president of the Society for Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA), Lauren Miller, MPAS, PA-C, dermatology physician assistant in Oxford, Alabama, spoke with Dermatology Times® about her role as SDPA president, upcoming SDPA conferences, dermatology physician assistant news, and her passion for treating patients.
Regarding current news, Miller noted that last year the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) voted to change the name of “physician assistants” to “physician associates,” and that the SDPA is currently working towards updating their name and materials to reflect this change.
Lauren Miller, MPAS, PA-C: Hi, my name is Lauren Miller and I'm a dermatology PA. I practice in Oxford, Alabama. I've been a derm PA for about 15 years. And I'm the current president of the SDPA.
Dermatology Times: What is your role in the Society for Dermatology Physician Assistants?
Miller: So my role at the SDPA as president, I lead our board of directors. We have 8 other board of director members besides myself. We meet monthly, we also have an executive committee, we meet monthly as well. But really anything with the day-to-day tasks, decisions that need to be made, from an organizational standpoint, I help with those and kind of lead, getting answers for questions, making decisions, and work with our staff, and making sure that all of the policies and projects that we have are carried out and things run as smoothly as possible. So coming up, we have our summer meeting. It's in Boston this year, it's June 22, through 25th. It will be my second meeting as president, and it'll be my last. So it's bittersweet, already a little sad thinking about it. But I just returned from Boston, we did site visits to find locations for our receptions. And I'm really excited about what we found. And I am guaranteeing that it's going to be really, really fun and different from anything that we've ever done before. And then we have our fall meeting in Nashville in the fall. And that's going to be great. It's kind of close to home here. It's only a few hours away. Nashville is just such a fun city. And so if you're not able to come to Boston, then I hope to see you in the fall.
Dermatology Times: What current news is important for fellow dermatology physician assistants to know?
Miller: So there are a couple of things happening in regards to dermatology PAs. So last year, the AAPA voted to change the name of “physician assistants” to “physician associates.” And so the SDPA is in the process of integrating that name change into our logo, and all of our marketing, website and all of that. So that's really exciting. We have the CAQ that just launched from the NCCPA, which is the certification of added qualification. And there are several requirements for that. But if you're a dermatology PA and you meet the requirements, you are able to apply for this certificate. It's not a board certification, but it is a certificate just showing your skills and your knowledge and your dedication to dermatology. We are going to list these requirements and ways that the SDPA can help you achieve those on the upcoming newsletter. So be looking for that. And as far as legislative needs, we have our legislative action committee and action center where you can get on and look at all the advocacy projects. I think the thing that stands out the most right now is the non-compete ban that has been proposed. I think that's going to take a little bit to see how that all plays out. But we are looking into it and trying to decide if this is something that we want to support as an organization and what would be the best for dermatology PAs, so stay tuned for that.
Dermatology Times: What are you most passionate about when treating patients?
Miller: I'm the most passionate about psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. And I have been from early on in my career. I get asked a lot, why is it that I like those disease states so much. And I think that I just see what a big difference I can make in a patient's quality of life. And I feel like the diseases and coming up with the treatment plans really require me to kind of really use not just my dermatology knowledge, but also just regular medical knowledge too, and it's kind of like a puzzle, you have to put all the pieces together. So, you have to look at their comorbidities and the medications they're on. You know what their past medical history is, what their family history is. You know whether or not they are okay doing injections where they want to do orals, and there's so many things that are at play that you have to kind of dive into in order to find a solution and a treatment plan that's right for them. And so, you know, I just really feel like it challenges me and it's very, very fulfilling. I speak for a majority of the pharmaceutical companies that have atopic dermatitis and psoriasis products and I love mentoring and educating other health care providers on this disease state and therapies that we have and it's a really exciting time right now. If you have these diseases, we pretty much now have options that can get you clear, almost clear and we didn't have that 15 years ago when I started, so it's just really fulfilling to me and I enjoy treating those patients.
[Transcript edited for clarity