Seattle Class 9
October 31, 1945 – January 23, 2015
David Michael Jones, MPAS, PA-C, one of the first PAs in the U.S. to receive independent prescription-writing authority, and one of the first in the country to own and operate his own health center, died peacefully in his Condon, Ore., home on Jan. 23, 2015, after a nearly yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
He and Dennis Bruneau, another pioneering PA in rural health in Oregon, co-owned the health center that served a community of just 750 people when it opened in 1980. When he and Bruneau hung out their shingle, they were the only medical providers in Gilliam County. Area residents had to travel 72 miles one way to receive routine medical care.
According to a 1988 news article published in AAPA News after Jones and Bruneau earned the AAPA Rural PA of the Year Award, “Both PAs had exceptional qualifications for the job of running the medical clinic, which is sponsored by a special taxing district. Both the innovative method of town-sponsored medical clinic and the approach of the two PAs have attracted a lot of attention from other rural communities in need of health care providers.” The award honored PAs who have provided accessible, quality health care to rural communities of less than 10,000 people.
Jones, a member of the U.S. Army Reserves from 1965 until 1971, graduated from the University of Washington MEDEX Northwest PA program with Seattle Class 9 in 1977. He eventually returned to MEDEX as a faculty member until he moved to Condon in Gilliam County, Ore. There, he treated generations of patients, caring for families, from grandparents to newborns.
When he wasn’t caring for patients, he was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) from 1970 to 2014. He served on the local and state levels on the Oregon Rural Health Coordinating Council, Oregon Board of Medical Examiners, Oregon Society of Physician Assistants Board, Advisory Council for the Oregon Office of Rural Health, the Condon Child Care Board of Trustees and the Tri-County Home Health Agency Board of Trustees. Until his death, he was the Gilliam County medical examiner.