Whole Health Family Medicine
An interview between Kiki Hooton and the owners of Whole Health Family Medicine, Dan Schaefer and Karassa Yeomans Schaefer
Q: Thank you for being a member of Local First! Why do you think supporting local, independent businesses is important?
Dan: Big picture, it’s really at the core of my training in college and in medical school and it’s the reason that we decided to move to Durango. Karassa is from Mancos and we wanted to be closer to home, and also wanted to raise our kids in a community that is focused inside-out instead of outside-in. Additionally, as two people who recently opened a small business, the satisfaction really comes from working with other small local businesses that not only like the idea of our practice but can really invest and speak with their feet and their purchasing power.
Our philosophy of practice is eliminating distractions and limiting third party interactions to give individuals control over the situation. We believe this because health IS a local issue; it’s local to the individual, it’s local to their family and to the community that they live in, and that’s been forgotten in the medical field. Even before we opened Whole Health Family Medicine Clinic a year-and-a-half ago, we have always believed it’s important to not only get to know our patients, but also their families, their hobbies, and the context of their lives so we can help give them the best treatment possible.
Q: Can you tell us about the services offered at Whole Health and why it’s unique?
Karassa: We are a Direct Primary Care practice, which is a membership based model where we don’t contract with insurance companies and instead partner with the patients directly. Patients pay an affordable monthly membership fee in exchange for unrestricted visits (no copays, no additional fees for those visits, or deductibles). This really allows for the patient to be in the driver seat for how they access their care. There are many frustrations to the current health care system, whether the issue is unaffordable health care, inadequate access, not enough time to address medical needs, or not being able to communicate directly with the provider, we are here to provide a solution.
Dan: We also collaborate directly with small businesses to develop health care options for employees that can compete with mainstream healthcare options. We know that it’s hard to offer health care benefits to employees but at the same time it’s very important for employee retention. By using the direct primary health care model and our business membership option, it allows small business owners to provide affordable, accessible, personalized healthcare.
Q: People don’t always realize how much small businesses do for their community. What does your business do to make Durango a better place?
Dan: We are involved with helping support the local business community by attending Economic Alliance meetings, Chamber events, and volunteering for the 9Health Fair. We are also very involved through our children. We have two boys, ages 3 and 5, so they keep us busy and get us involved in our community. Additionally, we really advocate for individuals and small businesses taking charge, especially in health. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies have a lot of influence over the health industry and we have stepped out of that model with our local, independent grassroots business. We advocate every day to keep those third parties out of the exam room. We use the Direct Primary Care model to keep the focus on local health care so more people can have access to these services.
Q: When you’re not here at your business what is your favorite local spot to go to?
We love the Rec Center!
Durango Natural Foods
An interview between Monique DiGiorgio, Local First Managing Director and Kamaljit Punia, Director of Marketing and Outreach at Durango Natural Foods.
Kamaljit Punia and employee Crystal Mondor present some of the colorful and tasty local produce found at DNF.
Q: Thank you for being a member of Local First! Could you tell us why you think local, independent businesses are important for the community?
Kamaljit: What I always say for DNF, because we get asked very similar questions on why people should support us instead of a regular grocery store is the resilience it creates in our community. To say that we have a little buffer zone so that we are not at the whim of whatever happens in Washington D.C. politically, that we have cooperation and economic resilience so that we can weather any of the storm those politics make and in the best case scenario, it doesn’t even get this far and affect us at all.
Q: Can you tell us about the service that Durango Natural Foods offers and what the benefits are for being a member of a co-op?
There are so many! Being part of this co-op is more than just being a member of a grocery store, you are a member of a movement. That movement includes having respect and taking care of the land and the earth, your local economy, and your community by making sure that everyone in your community has access to the things they want or need. That may not just be groceries, it could be a specific product or even a service, like needing a garden at a school. We can call on our partners like SouthWest Garden Project and help make that happen. We are really serving as a central location where you could express your needs and we bring the resources where they are needed.
Another important service that we offer that most people don’t know are our services to other businesses. We call this our Outside Sales Program so if a business comes to us and needs cases and cases of an item, such as Harvest Grill does for lemonade and chips, we order that item for them and help them source locally for items that they have trouble getting otherwise!
Q: What does Durango Natural Foods do to make Durango a better place?
I’m glad you asked and I’m going to refer to our 2016 Annual Report because these numbers surprised me! When I decided I wanted to create an infographic of where our money was going I didn’t realize just how big of an impact we were making. You know we are a nonprofit so any money that we make above operational costs we reinvest back into the community so we keep our primary focus on purchasing local produce and products. Last year we spent $185,673 with local farmers and producers! That’s why we call ourselves a small store with big impact. When stuff breaks around here, which refrigerators love to do, we spent $100,135 in local services for repair. In total DNF spent $843,406 dollars locally, reinvesting money back into the community.
Q: When you aren’t spending time at DNF, what’s your favorite local spot?
Oh there are so many! I live over on 32nd so I am loving how the North Side is blowing up!! I have some North Side love so Zia’s, 81301, and North Slice are some of my favorite places to hang out.