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Erica C., MD, 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 Erica (EJ) Concors (she/they) and I am an Emergency Medicine resident physician living in Chicago.

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: This year I will be celebrating my first Chicago Pride and I cannot wait! I’m excited to feel connected to my community. With COVID19 restrictions now changing, it feels like an opportunity for all of us to come together for the first time in a while and experience joy.

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

A: My name is Erica (EJ) Concors (she/they) and I am an Emergency Medicine resident physician living in Chicago.

Q: What does PRIDE mean to you in 2021?

A: Pride means understanding the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and honoring that history by living my life authentically and with purpose. Pride is rooted in a legacy of marginalized communities actively fighting injustice through direct activism and protest in order to effect social change. Pride is an opportunity for me to reflect on how I can be a better and more active ally to other members of the LGBTQIA+ community who experience intersecting oppressions. It is about celebrating the progress we have made as a community while reflecting on the ongoing struggles we face. Pride is about both living in the world as it is, and working to create the world we need.

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

A: Medicine as an institution has not historically been a safe space for many LGBTQ+ folks. There is so much that we can do as healthcare providers to improve the experience of queer folks both in and out of medical settings. We have the opportunity to create spaces that are validating and open for individuals who rightly experience distrust toward medical providers. We should educate ourselves and members of our medical community to do better - revising intake forms, updating registration processes to include a patient's pronouns, and advocating outside of the patient-provider relationship through social justice and direct activism. We have collective power that we can leverage to effect change - we just need to use it!

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: Healthcare environments are not set up to be identity-affirming. Forms are composed of check boxes with binary options. Medicine is in large part very "black-and-white" and there is not a lot of room for "grey". We are trained to understand health in these terms during medical training. I think we need to unpack that learning to create an identity-affirming environment for our patients.

In medical school there’s no standard training or established guidelines around providing care to LGBTQIA+ folks. There is a huge opportunity for the institutions responsible for medical education to mold the next wave of providers to be identity-affirming. It will take the collective effort of our community as well as our allies to build momentum to create these important changes.

Q: How are you celebrating PRIDE this year?

A: This year I will be celebrating my first Chicago Pride and I cannot wait! I’m excited to feel connected to my community. With COVID19 restrictions now changing, it feels like an opportunity for all of us to come together for the first time in a while and experience joy.

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

A: I could not do what I do without my partner. Living through a pandemic is so incredibly challenging - not just for frontline healthcare workers. There is not a single person I know who has not been impacted by Covid. As a healthcare worker in Emergency Medicine, I have been pushed and strained in ways I did not previously think possible.

I have been tested emotionally, mentally, and physically, this past year. She has kept me grounded and allowed me to remain in touch with my feelings in moments where it would be easier to disconnect from them. My partner has been a source of endless love, compassion, and peace in some of my darkest times.

Q: What is your safe space with your partner?

A: My partner and I create safe space together through physical touch - just the act of connecting to another person, especially now, is so incredibly healing. We make sure to take time with one another regularly - through shared bodywork, partner's massage, or just laying on the couch together with our puppy, Ruby. My partner greets me when I return from a hard shift and we'll often just take a moment forehead to forehead to reconnect. It's the little moments together that make our home my safe space.

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

A: We have been together for almost 6 years now! We met in Philadelphia over the summer in 2015. It's a funny story actually- we both downloaded a dating app on our phones. I deleted it after I swiped through and didn't see anyone I connected with.

My profile was still in the ether apparently – she happened to see it and tried to get in contact with me, but was sad when I didn't reply. About a week later I was looking with a friend of mine on the app for people they could potentially date and saw my partner's profile. I instantly felt drawn to her and re-downloaded the app to find her specifically. I messaged her and the rest is herstory!

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