Doctors Amy Mechley and Eleanor Glass are the owners of Integrative Family Care, a “Direct Primary Care” family clinic in Cincinnati. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Direct Primary Care, it’s a somewhat new model of providing care directly to patients without going through the hassle of insurance company billing, co-payments, and headaches. It’s one of a handful of non-traditional (or some would say “more traditional”) approaches that put patients first, and are actually changing the face of healthcare.eleanor-glass-amy-mechley-integrative-family-care-1024x576.png" alt="Image of The Distiller Podcast video chat with direct primary care doctors Amy Mechley and Eleanor Glass from Integrative Family Care in Cincinnati" class="wp-image-1935">Recording our first “virtual’ episode with Doctors Eleanor Glass (top left) and Amy Mechley (bottom) of Direct Primary Care practice “Integrative Family Care” in Cincinnati, Ohio.
We spoke with Doctor Glass And Doctor Mechley about the factors that led them to create Integrative Family Care, and their frustrations with the more mainstream models. Both doctors studied at the University of Cincinnati and were in typical practice before starting IFC. For Dr. Mechley, she described a long career in medicine that was rapidly becoming more about statistics and insurance company numbers than actual care. Dr. Glass was relatively new to the field but was already experiencing burnout due to high patient volumes, and feeling like she wasn’t doing as much real good as she imagined.
For both doctors, the move to a Direct Primary Care model had risks. It was uncharted territory, and the financial risk was much more akin to a startup than typical private practice. But the benefits have far outweighed the potential negatives. For patients, those benefits include greater access to the doctors, a higher standard of regular care, longer in-person visits, and lower out-of-pocket costs for things like lab tests and basic care.
To learn more about IFC, and about Dr. M and Dr. G, check out the links and information below. They regularly hold information sessions about the Direct Primary Care model, and about IFC. And you can learn more, and get a sense for the practice, on the IFC Facebook and Instagram pages as well. And yes, they are accepting new patients… these could be your doctors!
At the end of our conversation Dr. Glass mentioned the “Glitter” story of keeping your house and your family protected. Here’s that video:
We also talked about the Weekly Updates the doctors are sending out. Here’s a link to the latest email update, dated March 27, 2020 (click on the image below to open the email update in a new window):
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Lauren Worley has perhaps the most immediately impressive resume of anyone we’ve had on the show so far. Press Secretary for NASA. Global Talent Lead for Bono’s ONE Campaign. High-profile jobs in political strategy and public education. And most recently, Lauren has just taken a job as the Global Newsroom Leader for P&G. For Lauren the common thread is finding a job, a cause, an organization where she can bring the full force of her energy and experience to bear. Lauren looks for places her “all-in” nature can find challenges big enough to take on.
In any job where you’re writing or communicating on behalf of someone else, it can be challenging to find space for your own narrative. Lauren’s extroverted nature, and her insatiable curiosity have the effect of allowing her to fully inhabit someone else’s story and make it her own. And her obvious passion and energy lend an authenticity to her work that make her impressive resume unsurprising. After all, how could anyone not want that combination working on behalf of their brand, or organization?
And our location for this episode – Cherbourg Cyprus Bakery. Cherbourg Cyprus is an amazing gluten, nut, and dye-free bakery in Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine neighborhood, just off the historical Findlay Market square.
Lauren hearkens to the fictitious nanny as someone who was 100% present at all times. But once the job was done, she had no qualms about moving on to the next task, or family, or town. For those of us who haven’t been able to find a single role, or company, or job to hang our “vocation” hat on, that’s a reassuring message.
For some people work is inherently itinerant, and the goal is to find ways to bring your whole self to what you’re doing at the time. That’s a refreshing break from the narrative of continuity, predictability, and (supposed) security that we’re often made to believe are the only acceptable definitions of career success. Lauren Worley’s journey is in inspiration that we’ll continue to watch and enjoy.
Photography for this episode by Angie Lipscomb Photography
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Colin designs systems furniture – furniture for large offices and industrial installations. On the surface it might seem straightforward: design furniture for professional settings with a few customizable options. But when you get into the details you see how infinitely complicated it is. Colin Nourie designs systems that facilitate human interaction and collaboration.
His work is based on research about human behavior, and the office systems he designs are specifically designed around the kinds of behaviors that result in the best work. For a creative office setting that might mean desks and office furniture that allows people to collaborate easily. It’s about spaces and settings where people can gather comfortably. But it’s also how Colin manages and hides the details to make those systems elegant and beautiful. Colin seamlessly integrates technology and infrastructure to arrive at a perfect combination of form and function.
And our location for this episode: Red Feather Kitchen
Colin describes how design as an ethos has always been a part of his life. But although industrial design was in the plan for him pretty early, starting your own firm is an entirely different thing. Colin founded his industrial design firm Collective Ten just about a decade ago. And alongside his growth as a designer he’s had to chart a course as a consultant and business owner. Colin talked at length about the opportunities and challenges of going out on his own. He also described the desire to really see what he could do as a designer, and the knowledge that he’d never really know if he didn’t take the leap.
It’s obvious now that the leap worked out for him. Colin Nourie continues to win awards and to solidify his name as a designer of renown. And obviously with clients like Herman Miller, Geiger, and Steelcase, who keep coming back year after year, the proof has been in the work.
Photos for this episode by Angie Lipscomb Photography.
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As the food & dining writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Polly Campbell covers anything and everything going on in Cincinnati that has to do with restaurants and food culture. That means covering trends, and writing about food and dining events. And, yes, it means reviewing restaurants and helping people find great food in town. Polly’s bio at the Cincinnati Enquirer website says she “helps people find good places to eat, and tells stories about the people who feed us.“podcast-polly-campbell-enquirer-1.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-1849">
A sampling of Polly’s recent articles paints a picture of her work. There’s an article on the impact food delivery is having on local dining. A piece on how Cincinnati restaurant group Thunderdome creates consistently great places. Under reviews, Polly has a guide to “Ordering like a pro” at Thunderdome’s new Italian restaurant. And a wonderful year-end list of the best things Polly ate in 2019. It’s easy to understand why Cincinnati readers think of Polly as their own trusted resource for finding the best food in town. And she doesn’t disappoint.
But Polly never set out to be a journalist, much less a food & dining writer. After all… how would someone actually set out to do that? How do you get Polly’s job? She’s asked that all the time, and the answer lies in a circuitous path. Perhaps the only real key is writing. Polly talks about her somewhat “flighty” (her word) path, and how she really did follow her passions. In her case it ended up with finding something she never would have guessed would be her dream job when she started out.
And perhaps that’s why Polly Campbell’s take on “meaningful work” is so compelling. Because she’s a living success story of following your heart, and seeing it pan out in ways you never could have predicted. Today she feels deeply the responsibility to her readers, but also the need to be cognizant of the blood, sweat, and tears restaurant owners put into their work. At the center of it is the food, and the connections we all have to, and through, food. Ultimately Polly tells stories.
Photography for this episode by the amazing Kyle Wolff.
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In order to understand the work Brandon Irvin does, it’s important to first understand how the patient population he treats is different from other environments. It’s no overstatement to say that Brandon’s patients are the “sickest of the sick” in terms of their mental health. After all, in order to qualify for mental health services through the V.A., veterans must be in pretty dire need – posing a danger either to themselves or others. That means that the patients Brandon sees are generally experiencing pretty dramatic degrees of mental illness. As he said when we talked, the pathway to get to him is pretty much always through the emergency room.
For most of us without Brandon’s training, coming into contact with people dealing with this degree of mental illness is frightening. But talking with Brandon you see how treating mental illness is not just about having the skills to help people. It’s about having the insight and the training to be able to see the person behind the illness. To respond to and provide space for the true humanity of the person to come through. And it’s easy to imagine how just that gesture can be so healing to people who see nothing but fear in the eyes of others all day long.
It takes a unique kind of person to do this work. In fact it takes a particular kind of person to get into this work in the first place. Brandon talked about both the practical and philosophical reasons for entering the field of psychology, and what he’s learned about himself along the way.
We knew learning about Brandon’s work would be interesting. But what we may not have anticipated was the degree we came away from this conversation with deep gratitude. The people Brandon serves need his help desperately. He, and the other physicians at the Durham VA and in similar environments across the United States, are doing some of the most meaningful work we can imagine.
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Four years after Tommy Rueff to Cincinnati from Chicago to start an advertising agency, a chance event changed his life and pointed him in the direction of his life’s work. He wasn’t looking for a change. He wasn’t even unhappy in his work. But inviting a group of local schoolkids into his personal art studio opened a door, and Tommy chose to walk through it. It wasn’t an overnight shift, but twenty years later the organization that formed that night is still serving Cincinnati families with shared creative experiences that truly change lives.inc-toy-lab-1024x358.png" alt="Happen Inc and the Toy Lab at the corner of Hamilton and Chase avenues in Cincinnati" class="wp-image-1810">Happen Inc. and Toy-Lab at the corner of Chase and Hamilton in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Happen Inc., along with the sister organization lab.com/">Toy-Lab, sits at the corner of Hamilton and Chase avenues in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood. Day after day, week after week, kids stream in for events, workshops, concerts, parties. One look at the Happen Inc. event calendar and you see the diversity of programs and, more importantly the joy, that Happen brings to Cincinnati’s most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood. For twenty years Tommy Rueff has been at the heart of that activity, and he’s going strong.
The most striking thing about sitting with Tommy Rueff is how little attention he gives to the topics of most work conversations. Reputation, career ladders…Tommy’s focused on the present. It’s not that he’s not aware of that world. He’s just too busy working to pay much attention to it. He’s figuring out how to get tomorrow’s project done, how to take care of the kids who’ll be making Christmas decorations at Happen this weekend. Sure there have been times over the years where it seemed like Happen was ready to “blow up” (in both good and bad ways). Tommy’s work has been recognized far and wide, and he’s had some pretty heady encounters as a result. But the mission of Happen hasn’t changed and, if anything, over the years those brushes with fame have focused him on what Happen is really all about.
Before the recession Happen had a large staff, an ever-increasing yearly budget, and dreams of widespread fame and influence. Since then Happen has “grown” back down to a more sustainable size. Tommy and a small staff keep things manageable. He knows the work is not about press coverage. It’s about the look on a kid’s face when he does something he didn’t think he could. The clothes they were able to help provide for a kid in the neighborhood who needed them. It’s the joy and the wonder of creating beauty, and community, in the place you live. Northside, Cincinnati is lucky to have Tommy and the Happen Inc. crew there at the corner of Hamilton & Chase. Hopefully that will be true for another twenty years.
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Okay, pardon the pun, but it’s true. First, they know flavor in a way that is an entire vocabulary. But as a part of their work in flavor science, they also understand what people want, and what makes something taste great. That combination of skill and orientation, the classic “art and science” hybrid, is what makes them great at what they do. And what they (and others in their field) do is create the ingredients that go into so much of what we eat and drink. Seldom do we get to talk about an industry that so many people encounter every day, and about which they know so little. As we talk about in the episode, Tony’s work was actually one of the original inspirations behind The Distiller.podcast-lew-weeks-tony-moore-1.jpg" alt="Flavorist Tony Moore gestures while talking with host Brandon Dawson on The Distiller podcast" class="wp-image-1752">
Obviously there’s a lot controversy about food additives, GMOs, organics, and nutrition and healthy food in general. Tony & Lew’s perspective is unique in that for them, all food, all flavor, is chemical. As Lew describes, Tony’s background is in natural flavors, including organics and essential-oil based flavors. As such, he’s not trying to “back into” naturally derived flavors, it’s where he starts. Hearing both Lew and Tony talk about what it means to eat well is interesting and informative. Both advocate for knowing your food better, paying less attention to the front of the label and more to the back. Hopefully hearing this perspective will help you not only know more about where your food comes from, but help you make better decisions when you take it home.
Photos for this episode by the amazing Angie Lipscomb. Check out her work! Hire her!
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Bob Dylan once sang “The country I come from, is called the Midwest.” For a creative professional, sometimes working in the Midwest really does feel like another country. Finding a way to stand out in your field can be particularly difficult if you’re not on the coasts or in Chicago. But where others find challenge, Jason Snell finds advantage. Having worked for the big clients, and worked in places like Austin and Seattle, Jason has found his place in the community of design and music in his home state of Ohio.
Jason is a pure creative. A kid who started out sketching Star Wars pictures, Jason now has his hands in art, design, video & motion graphics, music, and more. For a lot of creative people, balancing the demands of client work and personal artistic work is a struggle. But Jason seems to have mastered the balance of his personal and professional priorities, and that balance is instructive for those of us struggling to find it.podcast-jason-snell-2.jpg">podcast-jason-snell-2.jpg" alt="Designer Jason Snell of BLDG and Distiller Podcast host Brandon Dawson" class="wp-image-1740">
Snell originally graduated from DAAP (The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning). He recounted the early days of honing his craft, working on side projects while holding down the corporate day job. Eventually those side projects became significant enough to turn into his own business, the boutique agency We Have Become Vikings. Last year he sold WHBV to BLDG, where he’s now a Creative Director. He says he enjoys not having to worry about things like payroll and accounts payable, and focusing on creative work.
Jason also describes the inevitable effect of time on his work, and the transition from young-up-and-comer to (dare we say it) elder statesman. These days he enjoys mentoring younger designers, sharing what he’s learned and seeing them grow in confidence and ability. Jason is as visible as ever in the design community. His recent work in the BLINK festival is just another example of the cross pollination of design, media, community, and vibe that makes Jason Snell’s work unmistakable.podcast-jason-snell-1.jpg">podcast-jason-snell-1.jpg" alt="Distiller Podcast host Brandon Dawson stands with Jason Snell inside BLDG in Covington Kentucky" class="wp-image-1739">
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In fact, that’s even the URL of her website, LunaIsAmerica.com. And she should know, because she’s seen a lot of it. Luna Malbroux grew up in Louisiana, attended college in New York, and settled in San Francisco to begin her career. And what a career it’s shaping up to be. Part social worker, part diversity & inclusion specialist, Luna’s early experience as an actor is now coming to the fore in her work as a comedian, writer, and playwright. But to her it’s all of a piece, and it’s all with the goal of broadening the conversation around race, politics, and identity in America.podcast-luna-malbroux-3.jpg" alt="The Distiller Podcast with comedian Luna Malbroux at The American Sign Museum" class="wp-image-1696">
Luna now lives with her wife in Cincinnati. The opportunities may be fewer, not being in the epicenter of progressive thought or the hotbed of comedy. But living in the Midwest, among a potentially more conservative audience, forces her to think more critically about the issues she deals with. She sees that as a positive, and a way to ensure her material is not just created and performed in a bubble. From her play “How To Be A White Man,” to the EquiTable app she designed, Luna’s work is challenging, engaging, and hilarious.
At a time when the conversation around racial politics is increasingly fraught, Luna’s approach is accessible without letting anyone off the hook. It’s a powerful mix that people are starting to catch onto. And it seems likely we’ll be hearing Luna’s name a lot more in the future. We certainly hope so.
Photographs for this episode, from inside the American Sign Museum workshop, by Angie Lipscomb Photography.
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After all, she’s seen it work. As a career STEM/STEAM educator, Allison believes the interaction of technology and space is key to facilitating learning. For those unfamiliar with the terms, S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Some, like Allison, expand it “STEAM,” with the “A” standing for Arts.podcast-allison-lester-13.jpg" alt="STEM educator Allison Lester laughs while being interviewed for The Distiller podcast" class="wp-image-1660">
In preschool environments, in challenging middle-school special education classrooms, and most recently in her current work with the Breakthrough Collaborative, Allison employs the power of STEAM to involve students in the learning process. We talked about creating physical spaces (and allowing the kids to lead) during her work at the University of Cincinnati’s Arlitt Child and Family Research Education Center. She described how the opportunity to create the Digital Playscape with her People’s Liberty co-grantee Noah Glaser was the perfect opportunity to bring all her skills, background and interest into one environment.
Allison is a huge proponent of play in learning, and the Digital Playscape installation is the physical manifestation of that. From the vertical Lego wall to the maker stations to the coding and gaming kiosks…Digital Playscape is a learning playground for all ages. It’s wonderful to hear the story of Allison’s journey to this point. When you hear the genesis of this project in context you get a sense of the scope of her work and the arc of her emerging career. The Digital Playscape is just one piece of the puzzle, and we’ll be watching eagerly to see where Allison’s work evolves from here.
Photos for this episode by Kyle Wolff Photography
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