Dr. Jamie Cox, DMSc, PA-C, started her career in medicine as a candy striper in high school, “I loved taking care of the patients, so I knew that medicine was my future.” She became a medic in the U.S. Army, worked as an EMT, and eventually decided on PA school. “I couldn’t make the decision to practice in just one specific area of medicine for the rest of my life,” she says. “I love the flexibility of the PA profession. My key areas of practice have been family medicine, cardiology, and emergency medicine.”
Dr. Cox currently practices in Elkins, WV in emergency medicine. “I also practiced in family medicine here for six years, which was more like internal medicine due to the resources available in our rural community.”
In Elkins, WV, she became interested in the long term effects of opioid addiction. Her paper, “The long term effects of prenatal opioid exposure in children and adolescents,” was recently accepted for publication by JAAPA. She says, “My research really focused on more of the long term fallout from addiction. Addiction is like cancer in that it not only affects the patient, but also families, and even generations.” Her paper deals with prenatal opioid exposure and what happens to affected children after the age of 5. “We have a lot of data on how the new addiction medications affect babies – that growth parameters and other developmental factors even out to ‘normal’ between ages 3 and 5.”
Dr. Cox notes that in the United States, few studies have been completed that track children after 5, although some research in Europe has indicated that affected children display IQ deficits of 7 to 10 points after age 5. “There are many opportunities to make interventions that are helpful to prevent the cycle of addiction. That is what my research focuses on.” Dr. Cox seeks to bring more awareness of the issue to PAs working in family practice and pediatrics.
Along with her emergency medicine practice, Dr. Cox serves in the U.S. Army National Guard as the Executive Medical Officer of her medical detachment and as Clinical Training Officer. “I am currently working on development of a new training program for the WV National Guard, targeted to our medics, and Advanced Practice Professionals, and physicians, to allow us to utilize the simulation labs with the WV Critical Care and Trauma Institute (WVU CCTI).” Part of her responsibility includes keeping WV practitioners up to speed with active duty training — while working within the time restriction of one weekend per month. “The WVU CCTI has worked with other groups, and with special forces medics, and my goal is that we have that opportunity as well.”
Dr. Cox cites how her supportive family, as well as the guidance from DMSc faculty, made it possible to successfully navigate two jobs while completing the DMSc. “I think it is extremely important for PAs to obtain terminal degrees to remain relevant in our careers.”
Dr. Cox is currently taking coursework towards her PA Education certificate at Lynchburg and expresses an interest in becoming involved in PA education in the future. “I feel that PAs are the best providers to teach the new PAs coming into the profession.” She has also become involved in her state PA representation, and is now a delegate for the WVAPA to the House of Delegates for the AAPA. “I believe as PAs, we have a responsibility to advocate for the profession, and ultimately for the increased access to care that will result.”