Ep 128 – Dr. Jeffrey Geller on Loneliness and the Power of Groups

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“But if my model works, I am positive people can copy it.  And group visits certainly have been part of the solution.  You see a lot of patients, you provide more services, you overcome barriers, you do it in a culturally competent way.  People get to know one another, they have a better sense of community, they’re less scared, they have less anxiety, less stress, and then they have better outcomes.  And I get credit for, as a doctor, when my patients have better outcomes, and have so little to do with it, that at least if I can put them in a good spot to get healthy, I’m moving the right way.” – Dr. Jeffrey Geller

Jeffrey Geller, MD, practices family medicine and integrative medicine and has been a pioneer in group medical visits.  He is widely recognized as an innovator in the delivery of health care by creating and using an empowerment model for shared medical appointments.

Dr. Geller began his work with groups in 1996 during his residency when he noticed that loneliness played a large role in his patients’ well-being.  He has since completed research studies showing a relationship between loneliness and increased hospital visits, as well as identifying a link between loneliness, depression, and chronic illness.

Dr. Geller has a particular passion for delivering care to underserved communities.  By sharing his experiences and training others to deliver health care in a group setting, he hopes to provide efficient care in a financially sustainable way that eliminates barriers to health and provides services otherwise unavailable to many patients.

I recently sat down with Dr. Geller to learn more about how loneliness plays a role in our health, how he’s implemented group visits in his own practice, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

*Dr. Geller’s bio adapted from im4us.org

In this episode we discuss:

  • Dr. Geller’s background and what drove him to change from a career in engineering to a career in family medicine
  • How loneliness plays a role in our health
  • His first experience with group visits and what he learned
  • The Empowerment Model
  • How Dr. Geller facilitates groups to allow others to be comfortable and vulnerable
  • The criteria he uses to select and form groups
  • The mistakes that he’s learned from
  • The logistics of billing and running groups within a medical practice
  • How Dr. Geller utilizes Integrative and Functional Medicine into his group visits
  • Some of the biggest things he’s learned from his patients
  • 3 things Dr. Geller does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Dr. Geller

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If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.


Ep 127 – Fighting Breast Cancer with Barbells: Barbells for Boobs Founder Zionna Hanson

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“She said when she went in with the lump they basically denied her mammogram and said, “You’re too young for breast cancer,” and they wrote on her medical documentation “mammography recommended at age 40.”  And, once I heard that, I knew that her story needed to be heard.  And that, number one, I wanted to make sure that that never happened to another woman again.  And for me, it was more about advocating, I think that’s what CrossFit has really taught me, is how to advocate for my own health, how to advocate for my body, how to be aware of my own health, and how to take ownership in that, right?  And so, while I was teaching that to people everyday, my friend, and the healthcare system we have, kind of failed her in a sense.  And she failed herself.  You ask Cecy today, and you ask her what does she want to tell people from her story of breast cancer, and she’s like, ‘advocate for yourself!’” – Zionna Hanson

Five years ago, our family first gathered around the living room on Christmas, put on our favorite holiday movies, and took turns rowing until we reached a marathon – 42,195 meters.  Over the years, what started as a small way to stay active and spend time together during the holidays has grown into a worldwide fundraising event.  Last year, we had teams from across the globe competing in support of a charity run by Dani’s family, Educar es Avanzar.

This year, we’re choosing to raise money for Barbells for Boobs – an incredible organization that works hard to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with breast cancer.  Breast cancer has hit our family in a big way over the past couple of years, with my Aunt Nancy currently in remission and Dani’s mom, Barbara, just recently diagnosed and beginning her treatment.  We know personally how difficult it can be to navigate this process, and want to give back to an organization that is working hard to make it easier for so many.

As a part of this initiative, I was excited to speak with Zionna Hanson, the founder of Barbells for Boobs.  Zionna’s life has also been greatly impacted by breast cancer:  in 2009, her best friend was diagnosed at the age of 26. Zionna rallied the CrossFit community to support her friend, and from that small event, Barbells for Boobs was born.  Over the past 10 years Zionna has guided Barbells for Boobs as it has grown into a global movement.   What started as a nonprofit with a focus on funding mammograms has evolved into an organization dedicated to providing community and resources after diagnosis through fitness.

Zionna and I caught up to chat about the challenges breast cancer patients face, what donors should look for in a nonprofit they’re choosing to support, and the importance of being open to opportunities for evolution, change and growth.

If you’d like to join in the 6th annual Christmas Marathon Row in support of Barbells for Boobs, please sign up here!

In this episode we discuss:

  • My experiences with Barbells for Boobs
  • How Zionna came to have a passion for CrossFit
  • The origin story for Barbells for Boobs
  • How CrossFit helped catapult Barbells for Boobs to success
  • What is was like for Zionna to begin a nonprofit, and the lessons she learned along the way
  • Things donors should look for when selecting a nonprofit to support
  • How Barbells for Boobs has evolved to its new focus of supporting women in getting back to the gym after treatment
  • What prompted Zionna to step down from her position as CEO and how that’s changed her day-to-day routine
  • 3 things Zionna does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Zionna

You can follow Zionna on Instagram, and you can follow Barbells for Boobs on their websiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Links:

Related Episodes:

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

 


Ep 126b – Nicole Christensen on Coaching Pregnant Athletes

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“It was really fascinating because I think there’s such a disconnect, right? So, on one hand, we have the whole population of people that are criticizing women doing CrossFit while they’re pregnant. And it literally helps develop the natural– squatting, CrossFit, and doing it while you’re pregnant– develops the natural anatomical position for how people want to have babies, or how they have babies naturally. And then here, on the other hand, all these women that want to have a natural birth couldn’t get there. “ – Nicole Christensen

Nicole Christensen started CrossFit Roots out of her one-car garage in 2008. Since that time, she and her husband Eric have grown Roots into a 10,000 square foot facility with an accomplished team of full-time coaches and staff. She got her coaching start as a swim coach in the Northern Virginia Swim League. 10 years later when she found CrossFit, she knew that it combined her passion for coaching with her belief in a lifelong pursuit of fitness and health.

In 2009 she was hired to the CrossFit Seminar Staff, and for more than ten years Nicole has traveled around the world to teach and coach the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Courses.

Nicole has an extensive competitive background and competed in five CrossFit Games Regionals, placing in the top ten four times. She is a well-known resource for women interested in continuing CrossFit throughout their pregnancies, drawing on her own personal experiences of training and competing while pregnant alongside her experiences coaching Roots athletes through own their pregnancies.

Nicole and I had the opportunity to chat at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and our conversation ran the gamut. In part a, we talk about her background, how her education as city planner influences the processes and systems that have helped grow CrossFit Roots into a thriving affiliate, and why she loves the community aspect of CrossFit. In part b, we do a deep dive on best practices for training while pregnant, to how she maintains her fire and love for CrossFit after 11 years in the business.

*Bio adapted from crossfitroots.com

In Part B of this episode we discuss:

  • Her experience with CrossFit and pregnancy and the guidelines she uses when training others
  • How CrossFit Roots accommodates pregnant and postpartum athletes
  • How Nicole and her husband balance their work/life relationship
  • The systems and planning she uses to streamline her business and personal life
  • 3 things Nicole does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Nicole

You can follow Nicole on Instagram, and you can follow CrossFit Roots on Facebook and Instagram.

Links:

Related Episodes:

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.