BVA Receives British Armed Forces Surgeon General

Air Marshall Paul Evans, Senior Officer for British military healthcare, visited with officials of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) April 30.

Left to right, BVA Executive Director Al Avina, Air Marshal Paul Evans, and Director of Government Relations Tom Zampieri.
Left to right, BVA Executive Director Al Avina, Air Marshal Paul Evans, and Director of Government Relations Tom Zampieri.

The visit came about after a conversation in May 2012 between Air Marshall Evans and BVA Director of Government Relations Dr. Thomas Zampieri at Moorfields Eye Research Centre in London. Dr. Zampieri was accompanied at the time by a small contingency of blinded veterans from both the U.S. and the United Kingdom participating in Project Gemini, a joint Transatlantic exchange initiative of BVA and Blind Veterans U.K.

The setting for the conversation was a series of briefings to the group by British ophthalmologists and ophthalmology researchers. The presenters discussed their recent experiences with the war eye injured.

As a means of furthering Project Gemini’s goal to foster positive relationships between the two allied countries, especially among the eye injured and their families, Dr. Zampieri invited Air Marshall Evans to visit BVA National Headquarters the next time he was in Washington, DC. The invitation was not forgotten in the intervening months.

Air Marshal Evans was accompanied on the visit to BVA by Colonel Katherine Richardson, appointed in October 2011 as the British Liaison Officer (Deployment Health) to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and to the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. She is a Dentist with both clinical and staff experience in the Firm Base and on operations.

Air Marshal Paul Evans was born in 1954 and joined the Royal Air Force as a Medical Cadet in 1975, qualifying in Medicine at the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1978. He completed appointments as a junior Medical Officer at RAF Wyton and in the RAF Hospitals at Ely, Nocton Hall, and Halton before being appointed as a Senior Medical Officer in 1983 and undertaking tours at RAF Leeming, Coltishall, and Valley. He studied for his Diploma in Aviation Medicine in 1987. From 1990, he undertook staff appointments as Command Flight Medical Officer at RAF Support Command, the Officer Commanding the Medical Wing at RAF Hospital Wegberg, and Medico-Legal Adviser to the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport before attending RAF Staff College in 1996, where he was Course Leader.

In July 2008, Air Marshal Evans took up appointment as Chief of Staff Health and Director General Medical Services, Royal Air Force, where he was responsible for all RAF Medical Service personnel and the health, well-being and healthcare of RAF personnel and entitled civilians. He was appointed as Commander of Joint Medical Command in September 2009, where he was responsible for areas including

Secondary Healthcare and Commissioning, Defence Dental Services, Ministry of Defence Hospital Units, Defence Postgraduate Deanery, Medical Research, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, and the Defense Rehabilitation Medical Centre Headley Court, and the Defence Medical Services Training Group. In April 2010, the Headquarters of Joint Medical Command moved to Defence Medical Services (Whittington) where it co-located with Headquarters Surgeon General.

Air Marshall Evans was selected as Surgeon General and took up appointment in December 2012 in the rank of Air Marshal. As Surgeon General, he is the senior officer responsible for the end-to-end delivery of healthcare to service personnel and entitled civilians in the home-base and on operations.

“We are honored and gratified by the visit of Air Marshal Evans,” said Dr. Zampieri. “We appreciate his support of the eye injured and their families in both countries and his concern for their challenges not only in adjusting to vision loss, but in facing the formidable challenge of transitioning from the military into veteran status.”

Learn more about Blind Veterans UK and BVA’s recent initiatives with its British counterpart.