New Study Shows High Patient Satisfaction with Care from Dermatologists and Derm PAs

Lead author Cynthia Griffith, MPAS, PA-C Raises the Bar for Excellence in Scholarly Activities

By Peter A. Young, MPAS, PA-C

A recent article published in Dermatology Online Journal showed that for 12,386 encounters occurring in 2019-2021, patients reported equal satisfaction with care they received from 6 physician assistants (PAs) and 25 board-certified dermatologists.1 The research was supported via a grant from the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA), awarded to lead author Cynthia F. Griffith, MPAS, PA-C, at The University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center. Griffith’s findings are consistent with similar research of 9 other PA-inclusive specialties, as a recent scoping review of 23 studies (including 8,062 patients) showed equivalent patient satisfaction between PAs and physicians.2 Patient questionnaire items analyzed by Griffith, et al. included likelihood of recommending the clinician, explanations given for conditions, concern shown for patients’ worries/questions, and others.1

“This does not indicate that PAs are interchangeable with dermatologists,” Griffith and her co-authors wrote. “While Press Ganey surveys are only one measure of healthcare quality, they improve our understanding of the most important stakeholder: the patient.” The article was co-authored with two board-certified dermatologists, and is just one sample of Griffith’s publication streak in the predominantly physician-authored dermatologic literature. She recently co-authored a letter discussing the need for greater racial and ethnic diversity in the PA profession, appearing in JAMA Dermatology, a publication of the American Medical Association.3 The manuscript acceptance rate at JAMA Dermatology is under 10%; even most dermatologists will not have the honor of being published in it during their careers.

“I am passionate about providing excellent, research-based care to the transplant population and adding to the research in this field, and the field of PA workforce data,” Griffith says. This is evident in her growing list of accolades: she has co-authored 16 articles accepted in peer reviewed journals, while the national mean for PA educators is 2.7 (mean of 0, with 50.6% reporting no publications).4 Griffith is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dermatology for PAs and founder of the High Risk Cancer Transplant Clinic at UTSW, where she completed a 1-year postgraduate dermatology training program prior to accruing her current 10 years of clinical experience. She was named UTSW’s PA of the Year in 2017 and Outstanding Advanced Practice Provider in Scholarly Endeavors in 2022.

Access the article here.


  1. Griffith CF, Young PA, Froman RL, Vasquez R, Mauskar MM. Patient satisfaction with dermatologists, resident physicians, and physician assistants: a multi-year cross-sectional study in an academic medical center. Dermatol Online J. 2022. 29(3):15.
  2. Hooker RS, Moloney-Johns AJ, McFarland MM. Patient satisfaction with physician assistant/associate care: an international scoping review. Hum Resour Health. 2019:1 04. Published 2019 Dec 27. doi:10.1186/s12960-019—0428—7
  3. Young PA, Griffith CF, Vasquez R. Geographic Distribution and Workforce Diversity of Dermatology Physician Assistants. JAMA Dermatol. 2022;158(12):1460. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2022.4453
  4. Kayingo G, Kibe L, Venzon A, Gordes KL, Cawley JF. Assessing demand for doctoral-prepared PA Faculty: A five-year longitudinal study. BMC Medical Education. 22 June 2021. Accessed October 14, 2022.

Pictured – Cynthia Griffith, MPAS, PA-C