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

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

“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


Related episodes:

Ep 80 – Greg Glassman on Networking CrossFit Physicians and Fighting Chronic Disease

Ep 86 – James Maskell on Fighting Chronic Disease with Community-Based Healthcare

Ep 109 – All About Functional Medicine with Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine

Ep 111 – A New Model for Primary Care with Dr. Ken Rictor

Ep 116 – How Healing Works with Dr. Wayne Jonas

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.

This post was originally published on December 24, 2019.

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