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Asia S., PA-C, MPH

Q: What is your name and what do you do?

Q: What is your name and what do you do?

A: My name is Asia Sullivan (she/her) I’m a certified physician associate (PA) in primary care. My practice focuses on the LGBTQ+ community and their specific needs.

Q: What does PRIDE mean to you in 2021?

Q: What does PRIDE mean to you in 2021?

A: Pride is about standing together, lifting one another up, and celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of our incredible community. Pride is resistance - showing the world that we are worthy of respect and of the same rights as everyone else. In 2021, Pride is a way to bring joy and celebrate togetherness again after being separated for so long. Pride is telling the world, “I am perfect the way I am. I will love out loud and not be afraid.”

Q: How are you celebrating PRIDE this year?

Q: How are you celebrating PRIDE this year?

A: At work we are decorating our office with rainbow flags and banners and we even got little rainbow bandaids! I’ll be attending virtual events online including movie nights and Zoom parties. I’ll be reconnecting with my closest queer friends just to catch up on the craziness of the past year. My fiancé and I plan to go on a special date each weekend of the month!

Q: What is your name and what do you do?

A: My name is Asia Sullivan (she/her) I’m a certified physician associate (PA) in primary care. My practice focuses on the LGBTQ+ community and their specific needs.

Q: What does PRIDE mean to you in 2021?

A: Pride is about standing together, lifting one another up, and celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of our incredible community. Pride is resistance - showing the world that we are worthy of respect and of the same rights as everyone else. In 2021, Pride is a way to bring joy and celebrate togetherness again after being separated for so long. Pride is telling the world, “I am perfect the way I am. I will love out loud and not be afraid.”

Q: What specific role do you think the medical community has to play in the advancement of equality for LGBTQ+ folks?

A: Being a patient needing healthcare services makes all people feel vulnerable, especially when they fear discrimination or inadequate care due to bias, ignorance, or outright homophobia/transphobia. The medical community has an obligation not only to provide comprehensive, informed care, but also to make LGBTQ+ patients feel safe, affirmed, and welcome. There are significant health disparities among the LGBTQ+ community. We are more likely to experience mental health and substance abuse issues. There is a lack of clinical research on the specific needs of LBGTQ+ patients. All healthcare workers must work towards improving these disparities by educating ourselves and our colleagues and working to eradicate their root causes like societal stigma and shame.

Q: What would a more inclusive, identity-affirming healthcare environment look like and what do you think it would take for us to get there?

A: In a perfect healthcare world - all intake forms would ask patients for their pronouns and have fill-in-the-blank areas for gender instead of binary boxes. Every provider would know how to adequately screen patients with certain risk factors, know what questions to ask, and how to ask them in a sensitive way. Every provider would feel comfortable caring for trans patients and know the appropriate terminology to use. Every provider would be knowledgeable about PrEP and PEP and it would be affordable. We would discuss sexual health and wellness, substance use, and mental health symptoms with open, honest dialogue and absolutely no shaming or judgment. We would stop harming patients through weight bias and fatphobia. Insurance companies would cover gender-affirming medicines and procedures without jumping through innumerable hoops. All people would be able to access therapy services when needed.

These are all my dreams for the future of healthcare. In order for us to get there, we will need funding for clinical trials focused on the specific needs of queer and trans folks, we’ll need standardized education and competencies for medical, PA, nursing schools, etc. We’ll need the courage to speak up for patients when our colleagues act inappropriately or say hurtful things (something I know everyone has experienced in medical training!). Each time we interact with a patient we have the opportunity to give them a good, affirming experience with seeking care.

Q: How are you celebrating PRIDE this year?

A: At work, we are decorating our office with rainbow flags and banners and we even got little rainbow bandaids! I’ll be attending virtual events online including movie nights and Zoom parties. I’ll be reconnecting with my closest queer friends just to catch up on the craziness of the past year. My fiancé and I plan to go on a special date each weekend of the month!

Q: How did your relationship affect your life in the pandemic?

A: My fiancé was my rock as I navigated life as a healthcare provider during COVID19. We actually grew closer and stronger than ever and decided to get married during the height of it. COVID19 showed me what truly mattered in this life and the importance of all my relationships to others – not just my significant other. I realized more than ever how grateful I was to have her as my partner for life.

Q: What is your safe space with your partner?

A: It sounds cliché but our safe space together is at our home with our two dogs. We intentionally curated every inch of our space to feel as comforting and “homey” as possible. We decorate with items collected over the past decade of travels, furnish with family heirlooms handed down over many years, display photos of our family and friends. It’s always a relief to come home from work or from travel and walk into a place where I feel completely relaxed. We both consider ourselves to be homebodies.

Q: How long have you been together, and how did you meet?

A: This year, we will have been together for 10 years. We both grew up in the same small town and met through mutual friends. I was a cheerleader, she was a basketball player. We started talking through Facebook and really never quit. People ask us if it was love at first sight and to be honest, it kind of was!

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Erica C., MD, MPH

Erica C., MD, MPH

"Pride is telling the world, I am perfect the way I am"