If it wasn't for an intense practice as trauma medical director for Central Florida Regional Hospital, Alexander Evans, MD, MBA, might well be driving a race car.
"My wife and kids would frown on that," Evans said, admitting he "might be a little bit of an adrenaline junkie."
"Whenever I even think about doing something risky like driving a race car, jumping out of a perfectly good plane to skydive, or even rock climbing, my family freaks out," he said. "So at this point in my life I'm content to get all the action I need from working in trauma."
The choice has hardly been a sacrifice. The rewards of trauma work are proving to be rich for Evans, who treated gunshot wounds and IED injuries for servicemen and women in Afghanistan as a trauma physician with the U.S. Navy. Today, he leads efforts to continue refining the protocols that guide trauma care at Central Florida Regional Hospital, to provide life-saving care in the most effective ways.
"There is something about the satisfaction one gets," Evans said, "when you see someone who is injured and you -- as part of a huge team -- can be part of helping them get back to health.
"I'm a religious guy. Between prayer and holding the family's hand, and using all the protocols and expertise I've had the privilege to learn, our team is able to nurse people back to health. Being part of each trauma case is a big deal to me."
Evans joined Central Florida Regional Hospital in 2015. He spent the previous two and a half years as a surgical intensivist and acute care surgeon at Florida Hospital Orlando.
"When the opportunity came up to lead the team here, I was very happy about that," Evans said. "We've moved forward and made many changes since then. With the help of the hospital administration, we've been able to change a lot of things that have improved care, not only in trauma but for all patients."
Among those improvements, he said, has been the development of a robust neurocritical surgery team along with new protocols for guiding neurologically impaired patients from critical care all the way to discharge. New geriatric protocols in critical care have also been added to address those patients' needs more aggressively.
"Multiple studies have shown now that when you have one way of doing things, and you do it the same way and repeat and rehearse it over and over, you become good," he said. "Just like a pilot goes through the same steps in his pre-flight checks every day so that he doesn't miss things, when we put in protocols for responding to brain trauma or shivering or sepsis, research shows your outcomes are better.
"Of course, every patient is different, and the physician must have the latitude to decide if a patient needs care that's outside what we normally do. But by having the right protocols in place, you always have a baseline to start from."
An algorithmic approach to medicine comes naturally for Evans, who developed a passion for mathematics early in life.
The son of Jamaican immigrants, Evans was born in New York and spent most of his youth in Fort Lauderdale. He completed undergraduate studies at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., then went on to attend the University of Florida College of Medicine.
During medical school, his exposure to surgical practice inspired him academically and spiritually.
"When I rounded on the floors with the surgeons, I was thrilled," he said. "The way that one can take a damaged body and help it to heal was humbling to me. I felt that the surgeon was an instrument in the hands of God. He was using the surgeon to correct and help to heal the body."
Evans went on to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he completed his internship and residency in general surgery and served as a surgery research fellow in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. He also earned an MBA from the University of Illinois.
Evans earned his Navy Trauma Training Center Certification at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles County Medical Center in 2007. His time in the U.S. Navy included serving as a general surgeon attached to the USS Tarawa and the Naval Medical Center San Diego, and as a general and trauma surgeon in southern Afghanistan in 2009-10. He was also department head for general surgery at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., and a general surgeon and trauma surgeon reservist at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
He completed a surgical critical care fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before returning home to Florida in 2013.
At Central Florida Regional Hospital, Evans manages medical and administrative needs for its Provisional Level II Trauma Center. His team is pursuing the goal of becoming a full-fledged Level II Trauma Center.
"Our advancement of the trauma program is part of a bigger picture as we work to make this one of the top hospitals in the area," Evans said. "Central Florida Regional Hospital is not the same hospital it was five or even three years ago. We are pushing forward in all areas, building programs for the long-term benefit of the community."
Outside of work, Evans top priority is spending time with his three sons, ages 15, 11 and 9. He enjoys music and vocal performance, singing most often at his church as both a soloist and with the choir. He is also currently taking flight lessons.