Dr. Elise Lovell is an EP and the EM Residency Program Director at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago. She maintains her wellness by staying active, spending time with her supports, and loving her job. When she isn’t working clinically or leading her residency program, you can find her clearing her mind with a quick run. She’s onto something with her philosophy on work-life integration! Here’s how she stays healthy in EM!

elise lovell

  • Name: Elise Lovell, MD
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Current job(s): Program Director, EM, Advocate Christ Medical Center
  • 1 word that describes how you stay healthy: Run!
  • Primary behavior/activity to help de-stress: A mix of exercise – running, strength training, biking, and yoga.

What are the top 3 ways you keep healthy?

  1. Prioritize exercise.
  2. Ascribe to Michael Pollan’s “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
  3. Have a job I love.

What is your ideal workout?

It depends on the weather and the circumstances, but a long run through a new city is pretty hard to beat.

Do you track your fitness? How?

Nope, but I do make time nearly every day to exercise, and I am mindful to look ahead and balance workouts throughout the week.

How do you prepare for a night shift? How do you recover from one?

I like a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon, and avoid caffeine during that day. Post shift, it’s mostly about giving myself a break and sleeping as much as needed to recover, which varies. Also, I try to not make any important decisions after a night shift. There is necessary intellectual and emotional recovery as well.

How do you avoid getting “hangry” (angry due to hunger) on shift?

I love to eat, and bring my own healthy snacks to enjoy during resident and medical student presentations!

How do you ensure you are mentally in check?

Learners and colleagues keep you honest. Humility is important. I’m ok not knowing the answer and using everyone around me as resources.

What are the biggest challenges you face in maintaining a longstanding career in EM? How do you address these challenges?

Having a niche has been key. Balancing clinical medicine and resident education maintains excitement about both. Getting involved in national organizations is great. I’ve met amazing people in CORD, who have opened doors to collaboration, as well as just being inspirational friends. For me, it’s not work-life balance, it’s integration. Enjoying the work hours rather than resenting them is important. Remaining appreciative of the impact we have, especially the small moments, is important too. And a shout-out to the best husband ever, amazing friends, and an awesome puppy…support systems help make this all possible.

Best advice you have received for maintaining health?

Regular exercise, enough sleep, healthy food, and appreciation for all the good things in your life.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these questions?

Christine Kulstad
Kelly Williamson
Dan Girzadas

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Editor, How I Stay Healthy in EM series
Emergency Medicine Resident
University of Alberta
Zafrina Poonja, MD


Emergency Medicine Physician @ Vancouver General Hospital. Assistant Editor @ALiEMteam. Lover of travel, soccer, and boat shoes.