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Alexander is Doctor of the Day

Christie Alexander, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and rural health at the College of Medicine, served as "Doctor of the Day" during the opening day of the 2017 Florida legislative session. The honor is more than ceremonial -- having a physician on hand provides a safety net in the event that an elected official or others involved in the session need immediate medical attention.

"Since so many are traveling from out of town and do not have local physicians, this is a great service for them," Alexander said. "This year, I didn't get any calls, but last year I saw several folks, so it varies. They have a full-time nursing staff that can do basic things such as checking blood pressure, and mild triage, but there are no full-time house physicians."

Alexander, a member of the College of Medicine's inaugural class (2005), served as Doctor of the Day in the middle of the 2016 session, but this year's visit was different.  Any physician may apply to serve as Doctor of the Day during the session, but for the opening day the physicians are exclusively selected by either the Senate president or the speaker of the House.

Senate President Joe Negron specifically wanted a family physician this year, a point he made clear when introducing Alexander.

"That made this opportunity quite an honor," Alexander said. "One, to be invited by the Senate president on behalf of family physicians across the state and to care for the elected officials on opening day, and two, as part of opening day itself -- to be able to be there as the Senate president gave his opening speech, as well as to be there for the joint session as Gov. Scott gave his State of the State address to the entire Florida Legislature."

Adding to the excitement, for Alexander, was the presence of FSU President John Thrasher. Thrasher served as speaker of the House in 2000 when legislation passed to create the new FSU College of Medicine.

"That made this honor more humbling for me," said Alexander, who serves as chair of the FSU Medical Alumni board. "Being there as a representative of the College of Medicine with the very people in the very arena that made my journey possible is hard to put into words. Humbling and somewhat surreal, to say the very least."


Photo: Christie Alexander with Senate President Joe Negron.