Hughes Evans, MD, PhD
Undergrad Institution; Degree and Major:
Princeton University, Independent Major (Southern Studies)
Harvard Medical School
PhD at Harvard University in History of Science
In practice since:
Where and for how many years did you train AFTER medical school:
3 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
How did you choose your specialty?
I originally thought I wanted to be an internist, but when I did my pediatrics rotation a light went on and I knew I had found my home. Looking back on all my other rotations (which I mostly enjoyed), I realize that the parts of each rotation that I enjoyed the most had some affiliation with pediatrics – the adults with chronic diseases they had had their whole lives, the children with strabismus in ophthalmology, the advocacy parts of any rotation, and getting the story of the family.
What do you like MOST, and like LEAST, about your specialty?
I love the fact that pediatrics focuses on the child but can’t be successful unless you create a true partnership with the family. Advocacy is part of the fabric of pediatrics and is compelling to me. I feel strongly about advocating for the powerless and suffering. The social determinants of health and prevention are also core values of pediatrics that appeal to me. And caring for children has sparkling, transcendent moments, even in the midst of sadness. There’s not much that I don’t like about my specialty, but I do get frustrated that there are not more services for children (or any disenfranchised group). Navigating this system can be very challenging.
In your opinion, what attributes are important in anyone choosing this specialty?
First and foremost, you have to enjoy caring for children and find their diseases intellectually interesting. Good pediatric care takes patience, ingenuity, and good communication skills – so you need to like the challenges that require these skills. Pediatrics requires a nice blend of skills and knowledge. General pediatrics requires that you can tolerate ambiguity and be okay with having a broad but not necessarily deep knowledge base.
I have a PhD in History of Science and like to teach and learn about history of medicine and other medical humanities. I enjoy books (especially fiction) and films about various aspects of medicine and disease. Other hobbies include gardening, knitting, and yoga.