After suffering a medical scare as a child, Thelma Mathis Evans felt inspired to help others in the same manner she was helped. Her doctors worked really hard to ensure she left the hospital happy and healthy, and she wanted to pay it forward. Dr. Mathis Evans had also realized how nice it would be to have that kind of impact on a person’s life, and thus earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology, with honors, from the University of Illinois in 1967 and an MD from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1969. She continued her education as an intern and resident at the University of Illinois Hospital between 1969 and 1971 and as a fellow in pulmonary medicine at the facility between 1971 and 1973.
Dr. Mathis Evans’s first professional position was medical director of the acute care unit at Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital, where she advanced to become the assistant to the director of emergency services two years later. She then served as a staff physician for Health Specialists, AT&T (Western Electric), Health First, Inc., and Michael Reese Health Plan, and as a tuberculosis control officer in the infectious disease section of the Chicago Department of Health. Other roles include member of the advisory board of Advocate Professional Group, member of the board of directors for the Advocate Health Care Network, and instructor of Rush Medical College. What set Dr. Mathis Evans apart from her peers was the time she took with her patients; she gave them as long as they needed and didn’t watch the clock, meaning she put in a lot more hours. Although she retired in 2017, she is proud to have bettered the lives of more than 3,000 people over the years.
To keep in touch with her peers and community, Dr. Mathis Evans maintained affiliation with prominent organizations like the American Medical Association, American Medical Women’s Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Association of Professional Women. She was also the vice president of the Committee to Elect Timothy C. Evans when he ran for mayor in Chicago in 1989, a grantee of the Chicago Lung Association from 1972 and 1973, and a fellow of the American College of Physicians.
In her newfound free time, Dr. Mathis Evans enjoys the Chicago symphony, opera, and ballet. She eventually hopes to return to her field on a part-time basis to supervise nurse practitioners in the home health field. In light of all her accomplishments, she has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor conferred by Marquis Who’s Who.