Gwen E. Erkonen, MD, MME, FAAP
Chief, Section of Palliative Care
Dr. Gwen E. Erkonen serves as chief of the Section of Palliative Care and leads the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. She is also a cardiac intensivist with The Heart Institute. Dr. Erkonen earned her medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. She completed both her residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric critical care at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Dr. Erkonen also holds a Master in Medical Education from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Her clinical interests include providing comfort and support for children with serious illnesses and their families. Dr. Erkonen’s research interests involve medical humanities, narrative medicine and physician burnout.
Prior to joining Nicklaus Children’s Health System in 2020, Dr. Erkonen was a pediatric intensivist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where she developed the Medical Humanities Program within the Division of Palliative Care and provided care on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and as a member of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) team.
Dr. Erkonen is board certified in general pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and American Medical Women’s Association. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed articles, she has presented at medical conferences and contributed to medical textbooks.
Dr. Erkonen is employed by Nicklaus Children’s Pediatric Specialists (NCPS), the physician-led multispecialty group practice of Nicklaus Children’s Health System.
The Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Nicklaus Children’s specializes in providing comfort and support for children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses and their families. The team’s goal is to work with the family and care providers to enhance quality of life by providing the child relief from symptoms of serious illness, while also promoting stress reduction for the entire family.