Dr. Karen Ekwueme

Internship & Residency: Cook County Hospital
Doctorate: University of Illinois at Chicago

Although she originally started her career practicing in primary care, Dr. Karen Ekwueme is very happy to be seeing patients at ReadyMED. “One of the reasons I like urgent care is that it gives me a chance to interface with people who don’t always go to see their primary care physician,” she explains. “However, this gives me an opportunity to plant a seed in their mind about taking better care of their health and seeing their primary care provider more.”

Dr. Ekwueme is a big believer in partnering with her patients to ensure they receive care that’s right for them. “I think it’s important to understand what patients really want from their visit as opposed to just identifying a problem and telling them all about it. For instance, someone may come into the clinic because they have hypertension. Listening to them you may learn that the real reason they have high blood pressure is because they are having relationship problems and it’s causing stress. The more you know about people the better you are able to treat them.”

One of the things that Dr. Ekwueme enjoys the most about her job is connecting with patients. “I enjoy hearing stories from patients, and giving them a place that they can feel at ease with someone to confide in.” Dr. Ekwueme has long been interested in patient-centered care. She completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine and is in the process of getting certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine. “Integrative medicine is an approach to care that revolves around the patient and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health,” she explains. “Functional medicine takes a whole body approach to care and incorporates lifestyle choices, disease prevention, as well as patient-centered treatment.”

When she is not busy helping patients, Dr. Ekwueme enjoys Chicago-style stepping, a traditional African-American ballroom style partner-dance. In addition, in the winter she likes to snowshoe and in the warmer months she likes to hike, kayak and horseback ride. Dr. Ekwueme also enjoys cooking, growing herbs and traveling.

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