Jul 10, 2021
Patricia Rush, M.D., M.B.A. is an internal medicine physician whose scientific focus is complex chronic illness. Her over 40-year career has focused on working with underserved populations and promoting universal access to high-quality medical care. She spent 20 years in the Cook County (Illinois) Health System, including six years as director of their emergency department. From 2000-2008 ran a trauma-informed solo private medical practice in Chicago.
During this time, she completed in-depth interviews with more than 500 patients, which led her to identify a group of high-risk individuals with serious illnesses who also had a consistent pattern of extreme stress at a young age, including profoundly disordered sleep and emotional distress.
Until her retirement, Dr. Rush was also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and now teaches neurodevelopment as a member of the Physician Workgroup of the Child Trauma Academy.
She was a co-founder and serves as a co-director of the Center for the Collaborative Study of Trauma, Health Equity, and Neurobiology, or THEN, in Chicago. The nonprofit works at the intersection of science education and social justice, exploring and communicating the links between early emotional trauma, inequality, human development, and chronic illness to a network of professionals and the public.
In this interview, she discusses a new and more integrated way to understand and treat physical and mental ailments in people of all ages that has important implications for how we raise our children.