Erin Brennan, MD, MPH // On the Frontline of Healthcare - 2.0
Erin Brennan MD, MPH is an Emergency and EMS physician in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Brennan is an integral part of her institution in an area highly impacted by Covid-19. She promotes teamwork and cohesiveness among her co-workers of all job titles, which is so important in the ER during a crisis. As one of the first providers to see these patients, she bravely puts herself at risk every shift.
Erin Brennan, MD, MPH
Tell us a little about yourself and your background - where did you grow up? Do you have any family members in healthcare?
I grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. I have a twin sister who is a patent attorney. Neither of my parents are in healthcare. Actually, I’m the only physician on either side of my family. I have one aunt who was an emergency nurse until she retired several years ago.
We love people who break the boundaries and relentlessly push toward their goals. That said, what drove you to pursue such a demanding career? Was there an event, or a personal moment that triggered it all?
I’ve been interested in a career in medicine since early in high school. For me medicine is the perfect mix of intellectual challenge and service to humanity. In college I took an EMT course to add some weight to my resume and absolutely fell in love with emergency medicine. Those first rides on the ambulance were the driving force for me to pursue a career as an ER doctor.
Why do you choose to get out of bed every morning (or afternoon/night) to come in to work?
My girls usually drag me out of bed in the morning. I have three daughters ages six, four and two years old. They are also the reason I choose to continue working as an emergency physician and building my career. I can show them that it’s possible to have a job you love and a great family life.
What does it mean to you to be fueled by choice?
Fueled by choice means that I’m living my life how I want to. Not everything is perfect all the time, but the decisions I make shape my life and I can make them on purpose to design the life I want for myself and my family.
Amidst the current pandemic, you've been placed in a lot of challenging situations while caring for patients. Can you discuss a positive experience that you might have had? Or even a takeaway from all of the madness?
Our community has come together to support us as healthcare workers in a way I have never seen before. The outpouring of love and support has been incredible. We have individuals and businesses donating PPE, food and other supplies. The community has come out to cheer on our nurses at shift change. In a time of stress and uncertainty and social distancing it’s great to feel like we aren’t alone.
What mantra do you want the world to remember you by?
You can choose the life you want. It’s not about choosing the things society or other people tell you you should or about living the lie society or other people tell you you should. You can make your own choices to design a life that uniquely yours and that you love. It’s not easy but worth it.
What do you like to do outside of work to keep your mind occupied? Hobbies?
Getting outside to enjoy the sunshine on as many days as possible. Once the weather warms up hopefully I’ll be able to get out sailing again as well.