‘An impact on a larger scale’: Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital President Dr. Brian Evans takes on additional role with Folsom hospital
After over two years as president and CEO of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Dr. Brian Evans is the new president and CEO of Mercy Hospital of Folsom, and will be working with the two hospitals concurrently.
Evans, who had worked as an emergency room physician as well as chief medical officer at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital prior to taking on his current position, described being selected for the additional leadership role in Folsom as “quite an honor.”
He began working in the dual role last month.
According to Evans, within the 13 hospitals in Dignity Health’s Northern California division, there are four hospital presidents who head two hospitals each, meaning this type of arrangement is in place at the majority of the company’s hospitals in the region.
“One of the obvious advantages is that you can learn how to do things better from the other hospital, and then apply it to the next one,” said Evans. “So, basically, you become better at your job when you have … an ability to do some comparison and contrasting of what’s working well, or maybe what isn’t working well, at one hospital or another.”
He said the transition “shouldn’t affect day-to-day operations at all,“ explaining that Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Folsom each have a chief operating officer in addition to the management teams and departmental leaders needed to maintain continuous operation.
On why Evans was chosen to lead the two hospitals concurrently, Dignity Health Northern California Division President Dr. Todd Strumwasser said, “When Dr. Evans has done such a great job at Sierra Nevada (Memorial Hospital), I want to continue to promote and spread his influence over a larger geography so that more communities can benefit from the leadership that he brings.”
Asked what about Evans’ leadership experience made him stand out for the role, Strumwasser described him as an “extremely personable individual” who relates well to others both individually and in groups, in addition to leading by example.
According to Strumwasser, there are “very few” physicians who have transitioned into executive roles, as he and Evans have.
“Most physicians practice medicine solely and don’t do administrative work, so it’s really rare when you have a physician who’s not only interested but is skilled like Dr. Evans is in working to oversee hospital operations and management,” he explained.
‘THE RIGHT MESSAGE’
Strumwasser said Evans taking on the role of hospital president as a physician also sends “the right message,” eliciting respect from medical staff as they “feel like the health care that’s being delivered is overseen by another clinician,” which he says is an important factor in staff engagement.
Evans said his experience having worked as an emergency room physician gives him useful perspective in his current work, adding that the transition to an executive role can feel risky when considering the many years of education and training required to begin a clinical career.
“But, what I have found is it’s been a wonderful opportunity to grow some new skills and make an impact on a larger scale,” said Evans.
Contrasting the two hospitals and their respective settings, Evans said the biggest difference he has noted in Folsom is its “tremendous amount of growth” in new developments and housing, a trend he says the hospital is tasked with anticipating amid significant changes in its surrounding infrastructure.
Comparing the two, however, Evans noted that they are similarly sized hospitals which offer many of the same services, and went on to add that both “are in the business of serving their communities and taking great care of people, and making sure that people have access to high quality health care services.”
Community hospitals such as Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Folsom, said Evans, face a variety of challenges — from the pandemic and its aftermath to financial and regulatory issues — which he described as requiring not only a team of health care experts but also the support of their surrounding communities.
“Fortunately, that’s what we have in western Nevada County with Sierra Nevada (Memorial Hospital), and also in the community of Folsom,” said Evans.
“So, if the community understands the value of these hospitals and how important it is to have access to the health care services, then it works.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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