em dash podcast-logo

em dash podcast

Health & Wellness Podcasts

em dash is a podcast hosted by Dr. Kimberly Acquaviva that explores patients' and healthcare professionals' lived experiences in healthcare.


United States


em dash is a podcast hosted by Dr. Kimberly Acquaviva that explores patients' and healthcare professionals' lived experiences in healthcare.






"The Long Walk," featuring Adam Hill

Adam Hill describes himself as "a proud man, husband, father in addiction recovery who works to change the culture of stigma, shame, fear and retribution surrounding seeking assistance for mental health & addiction care." He is the author of the deeply personal memoir, Long Walk Out of the Woods: A Physician’s Story of Addiction, Depression, Hope and Recovery. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to be a physician in recovery for a substance use disorder. You can find Adam on...


"Boxes," featuring Josh Mugele

Josh Mugele describes himself as an Emergency Medicine physician, father, and human being. In this episode we talk about identities (both fixed and fluid) and what it's like to interact with healthcare professionals as an educator, advocate, parent, patient, and peer. We discuss the challenges and opportunities of having a strong social media presence and we explore the strengths and limitations of medical education as currently conceptualized. You can find Josh on Twitter at @jmugele.


"Unicorns," featuring Claire Rudy Foster

Foster describes themself as a queer, nonbinary, trans person in recovery who is a writer and a parent. The author of critically-acclaimed short story collection Shine of the Ever, Foster talks in this episode about what it's like to interact with healthcare professionals as a trans person in recovery. To learn more about Foster's work, visit clairerudyfoster.com. You can find Foster on Twitter at @crf_pdx.


"Kate," featuring Kate Wolovsky

Kate describes themself as "a genderqueer, disabled clinician, sex therapist, and clinical research fellow at the Kinsey Institute Trauma Stress Research Consortium at Indiana University, specializing in disability, trauma, sexuality from the perspective of healthcare professionals and the people they serve, under the watchful nose of ADA service dog, Lucy." In this episode we talk about multiple sclerosis, loud sex in mom's house, privacy during the pandemic, waterproof blankets, and much,...


"Room for Feedback," featuring Kait Sanchez

Kait Sanchez is a self-described queer, autistic, disabled person of color who is "just trying to survive both grad school and whatever curse has been put on their family." Her research interests focus on trans healthcare disparities and the inclusion of trans-specific topics in medical education curricula. In this episode, we talk about Kait's work as a standardized patient and about his interactions with healthcare professionals after a sexual assault. You can find Kait on Twitter at...


"The What's Up Nod," featuring Cameron C.

Cameron C. is a first-year resident physician in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington. He is also a bisexual, transgender, Iranian-American man. In this episode, we talk about Cameron's experiences as both a healthcare professional and a recipient of healthcare. You can find Cameron on Twitter at @eponymics.


"Feet," featuring Sophia Zupanc

Inspired by her personal and professional experiences, Sophia Zupanc is currently travelling the world as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow to investigate the question "What is palliative care and why does it matter?" Her Watson project is called “Dispatches from Death: Exploring How We Die.” In this episode, we talk about Sophia's experiences as a lesbian, cisgender woman traveling the world talking to people about death. You can learn more about Sophia's travels on her website,...


"Turtles," featuring Andrew Gurza

Last season you met Andrew Gurza, self-described “disabled man” and “queer cripple.” In this episode, Andrew returns to the show to talk about "straw bans," ableism, and turtles. If you're one of the many people who think that banning straws in restaurants is a good idea, pour yourself a drink and listen to Andrew explain why privilege and ableism may be making it hard for you to understand the perspective of persons with disabilities. Andrew is the host of Disability After Dark, a podcast...


"Uncovered," featuring Sara Quin

Meet Sara Quin, a self-described queer woman and activist who also happens to be a musician. (I’m loathe to write that she’s “one half of the duo, Tegan and Sara” because as a twin, Sara’s not 50% of a pair – she’s 100% Sara, and she has a sister who’s 100% Tegan, and they’re in a band together). In this free-flowing episode, Sara and I talk about what it’s like to seek healthcare as someone in the public eye. We both utter the phrase “superfamous vagina,” which in context, will make total...


"Expert Patient, Impatient Expert," featuring Cavanaugh Quick

Meet Cavanaugh Quick, a self-described "queer, fat, AFAB transgender, femme, Afrolatinx, poly, kinky person with chronic pain" who’s also a graduate social work student at the University of Albany. In this episode, Cavanaugh and I talk about sexual health, kink, PrEP, gonorrhea, and the weird tendency for health care professionals to assume that AFAB transgender persons loathe their genitals and want to have phalloplasty so that they can morph into some sort of “beautiful man-butterfly.” You...


"The Gift of Sight," featuring Rachel Reimer

Meet Rachel Reimer, a self-described "Medical Intuitive, senior in college, and Millenial." According to her website, she "provide[s] spiritual insight to health care or mental health professionals on clients that want to know more about their health and/or are 'stuck'....Messages that [she] receive[s] can come in the form of images, sounds, or feelings.." In this episode, Rachel and I talk about her experiences as a patient as well as about her experiences as a "medical intuitive" who...


"The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About," featuring Joshua Shea

Meet Joshua Shea, a journalist, publisher, film festival founder, and local politician from Central Maine. Arrested and convicted for possession of child pornography after a long struggle with alcoholism and porn addiction, Joshua served six months in jail. He’s written a memoir, The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How I Let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroy Relationships, published in January 2018. In this episode, we talk about Joshua’s addiction and his path to recovery.


"Shits & Giggles," featuring Andrew Gurza

Earlier this season you met Andrew Gurza, self-described “disabled man” and “queer cripple.” In this episode, Andrew returns to the show to talk about his experiences with healthcare providers during his most recent hospitalization. We talk about C. Diff, diapers, nurses, doctors, hospitals, and tangentially, Grey’s Anatomy. You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @andrewgurza.


"Queer & Cripple," featuring Andrew Gurza

Meet Andrew Gurza, self-described ​“disabled man” and “queer cripple.” Andrew shares his experiences interacting with healthcare professionals around issues related to mobility, autonomy, and sexuality. He talks about what it feels like to be moved without his consent and treated by healthcare professionals in ways that distance him from his body, pleasure, and human connection. We explore the idea that persons with disabilities aren’t like everyone else and the power that he feels...


"The Long Journey," featuring Ryder Avalon

Meet Ryder Avalon – model, songwriter, ink enthusiast, and self-described “LA sewer ninja.” In this episode, Ryder alks about her experiences interacting with health care professionals along her journey as a woman who identifies as “transsexual” and biracial. She explains why she prefers the word “transsexual” to the word “transgender” to describe herself, and she talks about how concerns about possible mistreatment may make trans-identified patients anxious or hesitant to be forthcoming...


"What It Feels Like to Be Me," featuring Brandon Wolf

Meet Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and Vice President of The Dru Project, “an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization on a mission to spread love across the nation and promote gay straight alliances.” In this episode (recorded on May 22nd before the Manchester bombing), Brandon talks about identifying as “intersectional,” Black, White, gay, and male and the ways in which these identities have influenced his thoughts and feelings about healthcare. Brandon describes the...


"My Disability is Part of My Journey," featuring Lindsey Nebeker

Meet Lindsey Nebeker, a pianist/composer, disability rights advocate, and person on the autism spectrum. In this episode, Lindsey talks about what it’s like to seek and receive health care as a person on the spectrum. She describes when and why she discloses (or decides not to disclose) her autism diagnosis to health care professionals, as well as what healthcare professionals can do to make the clinical environment more welcoming for people on the autism spectrum. Lindsey and I also discuss...


"Wait, Lesbians Use Toys?" featuring Kelli Dunham

Meet Kelli Dunham, self-described "ex-nun genderqueer nurse author nerd comic." Kelli and I talk about what it's like to be the caregiver and advocate for two partners who died (both at the age of 38), what it's like to be a nurse viewing the healthcare system through the eyes of a patient, and what it's like to be a nun in a habit going to the gynecologist. You can follow Kelli on Twitter at @KelliDunham


"Safe Passport," featuring Dr. Majeda El-Banna

Meet Dr. Majeda El-Banna, an Assistant Professor in the George Washington University School of Nursing. In this episode (taped on March 27th, Muslim Women's Day), Majeda and I talk about Islam, her experiences as a Muslim nurse educator who wears hijab, and her experiences attending graduate school in the midwest while raising two young children. You can follow Majeda on Twitter at @Majeda_Elbanna


"The Weight of the World," featuring Nina Rodgers

In this episode, Nina and I talk about her experiences as a Black woman interacting with healthcare professionals, particularly around the issue of weight. We explore the complicated history that healthcare has with Black people in America and the ways that medicine’s past discriminatory, deceptive, and exploitive practices have shaped the way healthcare is viewed today. We also talk about hospice, hair care and exercise, and the strength of Black women.