December 03, 2020 - Primary Certification

Volunteer Spotlight: Maya Evans, MD

We are recognizing Maya Evans, MD, on the Volunteer Spotlight! The ABPMR Volunteer Spotlight showcases ABPMR volunteers and their work that helps the ABPMR fulfill our mission to serve the public by setting the standard for quality in PM&R. We are grateful for all the time and hard work each volunteer gives—thank you for everything you do!

Dr. Evans has been volunteering with the ABPMR since 2015 as a Part II oral examiner and item writer for Longitudinal Assessment for PM&R (LA-PM&R). She was one of three examiners who volunteered for all three administrations of the Part II Examination in 2020—thank you for such an incredible commitment to the virtual examinations!

Dr. Evans is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at UC Davis and Shriners Hospitals for Children—Northern California, where she also serves as medical director for the Spina Bifida Program. She previously served as medical director of Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Dr. Evans studied medicine and did training at Rutgers–New Jersey Medical School. She became board certified in PM&R in 2010 and holds ABPMR board certification in brain injury medicine and pediatric rehabilitation medicine.

Dr. Evans spoke about how she first became interested in PM&R, her years of volunteering for the Part II Examination (and loving it so much she even served as an oral examiner on her 40th birthday), and her work in PM&R all over the country.

How did you get started in PM&R?

I always thought I would go into pediatrics. In the year between college and medical school, I had a friend whose husband was a physiatrist and she talked a lot about musculoskeletal medicine. I was like, ‘Oh, what is that?’ I have also been a ballet dancer, so PM&R appealed to me with the sports-medicine aspect. When I had my pediatric rotation, I didn’t quite love it as much as I thought. I decided to try out a PM&R elective and that’s when I knew it was what I wanted to do.

That’s so interesting that ballet had something to do with it!

I find a lot of [physiatrists] were some type of athlete or dancer. The non-medical knowledge from that about the musculoskeletal system and injuries and how to rehab from them draws a lot of us to PM&R.

How did you get into volunteering?

I remember when I was signing up for something with ABPMR there was an option to be a volunteer and I clicked yes! It was a great move.

What about serving as a Part II oral examiner do you enjoy, especially after committing to all three administrations this year?

I love the academic traditions. Part II is one of those salient moments of becoming a physiatrist, and I vividly remember lots of details from my Part II day [as a candidate]. It’s special to be part of that tradition and give back to your specialty as somebody who carries on the work. You want to be supportive of people and bring out their best while maintaining the quality in the field. It’s working both those angles.

Have you done volunteer roles outside of Part II?

I did two rounds of question writing for longitudinal assessment just before COVID. It was interesting; I learned so much through that process! I’m getting into this stage of my career where there’s a lot to get involved in, but I definitely don’t want to lose my work with the ABPMR.

What keeps you coming back for the Part II exams and the item writing?

I like being part of the traditions, as well as collaborating and keeping in touch with my friends and colleagues. [New ABPMR Board Director Dr.] Susan Garstang was my program director and it’s always great to see her at Part II weekends—it’s a fun way to keep in touch with people you’ve worked with or for.

Drs. Evans and Garstang at a Part II Examination weekend

What are some things you’ve learned as a volunteer?

The longer I volunteer, the more I appreciate different layers of the process. Initially in Part II it’s a shock to be on the other side of the table [as a Part II oral examiner]. The more I do it the more I’m aware of the nuances of the process and how much work goes into making the exam so consistent and good. As an academic physician, I think question writing and examining also helps me become a better teacher.

Do you have any other future volunteer plans or goals?

I would love to be involved in board work as much as possible, keep adding more responsibility, and taking more opportunities. It’s a great organization to be a part of and a great way to keep up the tradition of learning and high standards within our field.

If you knew a diplomate who was on the fence about volunteering, what would you say to them?

I would tell them to do it! It’s a great experience and everyone is so kind and generous. The ABPMR makes it as easy as possible for busy clinicians to do it. There’s no hoops or busy work, it’s just the good stuff.

Do you have a memorable volunteer experience?

I love to go shopping around Rochester during Part II weekends. I have my loop. I spent my 40th birthday in Rochester, and I bought my first Talbots wardrobe piece and wore it out to dinner that night. I was so proud of my Talbots. It was quite the topic of conversation with all the pediatrics people.

Dr. Evans and her resident classmates after the Part II Examination in 2010

What do you do outside of work?

I have a teenage daughter and a tween boy to keep me busy. My husband and I just got accepted into the UC Davis Master Gardener Program, so we’re going to learn how to become experts in gardening and do some community teaching. I also hope to do some urban agriculture work. That’s my new adventure!

Any other fun facts about you?

I might have the world’s ugliest dog. Chandler is a hideous rescue creature who I love terribly. He was from a kill shelter in Louisiana and they sent him up to a group in Wisconsin when I was there. He’s just a wild man and has peed on other people’s dogs!

I helped start a program in Milwaukee in 2015 called Tour de Force. It was a way to inspire my patients to do their daily stretching. It’s a collaboration between the Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Children’s Hospital that enables children with disabilities to participate in ballet classes. The program is now in its sixth year and has expanded so more children can try ballet.

Dr. Evans with Chandler, her ‘hideous rescue creature’

Thank you, Dr. Evans, for your work with the ABPMR over the years and your commitment in making the virtual Part II Examination a success this year. To all the ABPMR volunteers who have dedicated so much of their time and effort to the field of PM&R: thank you!