Merging Career and Health: Bringing a Healthy Balance to Work and Medicine

By: Heatherlynn Akins

Here at Powerhouse Planning, we are all about being healthy. If you’ve been following us or reading PowerTips for a while now, you know we’re big on finding a healthy work/life balance. For 2021, we’re taking it even further by challenging all of us to identify the unhealthy practices in our lives and make steps toward changing and improving them. That’s why we’re thrilled to feature HelloHealth founder Dr. Carmen Mohan this quarter.

Dr. Mohan spent three years as a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School before joining the faculty at Emory University Department of Medicine. While at Emory, she started a priority access health clinic for employees and staff of Grady Memorial Hospital, a level-one trauma center in Atlanta, Georgia. Given that she was treating mostly mission-driven, dedicated personnel who were committed to serving Atlanta’s underserved populations, Mohan quickly realized that she was leveraging her skills as a healer and not just a physician. She could address healthy living practices and offer consultations that helped her patients stay not just healthy, but well.

During her residency and first years as a doctor, Mohan started her family and eventually shifted her professional focus to becoming a hospitalist. It was while she worked as a hospitalist that she truly came to appreciate the fact that hard-working, career-driven professionals were being admitted to the hospital with severe issues when a bit of preventative medicine could have eliminated them. She recalls a particular woman who came in and died of a heart attack in the emergency room while she tried to save her: “She was the kind of woman who would have kept my young children from crossing the street when cars were coming by, and I felt the undeniable feeling that I could have saved her if I had been her doctor five years before the night we met.” That feeling stayed with Mohan and opened her eyes to just how many patients, particularly professional women, were suffering from preventable medical issues. She searched for months for a job that would allow her to bring her healing talents together with her medical skills to treat patients holistically. A chance meeting with five like-minded women in the medical field prompted her to launch a concierge medical practice “focused on women in leadership.” With those five women 100% on board, HelloHealth opened in 2018.

HelloHealth’s mission is to help career professionals, especially women in leadership positions, get the medical care they need. “Only 5% of CEOs are women,” Mohan says. “Why is that? Oftentimes when we think about our health, we think about how we felt in our 20s or 30s when we could take our personal energy levels for granted. At a time when our career trajectory is steepest, that’s when we very commonly suffer from dips in our personal energy levels that are physiologically mediated.” She goes on to state that women are burning out of the workforce due to “unprecedented levels of stress” because they’re “working even harder and longer and with more discipline.” With only so many hours in a day and only so long you can hold that razor-sharp discipline, something has to suffer—and it’s very often our health. With her 15 years of clinical experience, Mohan has found that health problems slow down women about 10 years earlier than they do men.

“We view health as the missing link to career stamina,” Mohan says. “We promote a systematic approach to well-being that helps leaders—especially women and their teams—experience enhanced resiliency.” She likens what HelloHealth does to the coaching that professional athletes receive. “Anyone who is a master in their field has a coach. We offer leaders the equivalent.” HelloHealth is a safe place, a space where you can “be in the backstage out of the spotlight.” And a place where healing occurs. “Research shows that employees feel a higher sense of satisfaction at work when employers invest in health. All of the services we offer help leaders maximize the investment they make in themselves and their teams.”

Mohan and her team offer a series of different programs that help promote well-being and increased health. One such is the Reimagine Lunch series. As Mohan says, “It gives everyone permission to stop for lunch.” HelloHealth’s Reimagine Lunch is a series of “mini workshops” held over the lunch hour, typically virtually, that explore a whole host of wellness topics from developing the skills necessary to manage stress and anxiety, to how to get started with health goals that patients can maintain and make work in real life.

Besides the Reimagine Lunch program, HelloHealth has executive health packages where true partnerships are built between health providers and patients. HelloHealth works with clients to build real programs that work. Each program is completely customized and incudes access to health coaching, annual physicals, wellness checks, cardiovascular risk assessments, and multimodal prescriptions for medical problems as they arrive. It’s a concierge service that understands the need to establish trust and loyalty between both patients and medical professionals.

Mohan’s favorite HelloHealth service is the outsourced Chief Well-Being Officer. “We provide full wellness content customized for the team’s needs and steward the overall health and well-being program for an organization.” It’s the epitome of being a coach, helping bring clients’ health needs to the forefront and offering real, measured ways to balance physical health and mental and emotional well-being. “Work identity is so strong for those of us with the highest ambitions,” Mohan says. “It’s important that we address personal health inside the work setting.”

Since launching 2018, HelloHealth has seen consistent growth. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been rewarding. Mohan says that the biggest challenge she and her team faced at the beginning was disbelief. “People just didn’t believe that a medical practice like HelloHealth was possible.” She was told no one would pay for medical services outside of insurance and that no company would be interested in paying for this kind of health content. She’s happy to have proved all the detractors wrong. “All we really have to do is allow people to experience these programs and the programs speak for themselves,” Mohan says. The other challenge they faced was one of communication. People tend to see things through the lens of what they’ve experienced. So, when you offer a product in an industry that people think they know all about, it can be hard to convince them that you really do offer something better and unique. “I’ve learned to allow people to experience [our services] before they buy,” she states. “The programs sell themselves. “

For Mohan, starting HelloHealth and entering the world of small business ownership has been a spiritual journey. Frankly, she says that the other options open to her once she knew what she wanted to do “hurt [her] soul. If we are aware of anything on this earth, it’s our own mortality.” Having spent a good portion of her adult life in a tough, emotionally draining profession, Mohan knows the rewards of being in a place where she can show up to work every day “centered in [her] authentic self.” She’s proud of living in the present and being a force for good in the world.

“At HelloHealth,” Mohan says, “we haven’t innovated anything new. Americans have been searching for a better way in medicine and in relationship with their doctors for a long time.” She sees it as HelloHealth’s goal to “find the magic elixir that erases the dehumanizing medicine that has come to be what people expect. We are experts on the human body, and we hold the best interests of those we serve at heart.”

With the challenges our world has recently faced, taking the time to get healthy and stay healthy is crucial. Mohan and her team at HelloHealth are working hard to bring that reality to their clients. They practice what they preach. Mohan herself is an avid runner who finds peace and meditation in running. She’s set a personal goal to run 2,021 miles this year. It’s just one of the ways she lives what she wants for others. Finding a way to help career professionals in leadership positions maintain health and balance is her calling. Sometimes that means providing traditional medical care and sometimes that means coaching and mentoring patients to healthier lifestyles. For Mohan, being a doctor, or any health professional, is about being present and listening. “That’s the magic for me in medicine,” she says. With HelloHealth she’s found a way to bring that magic to others.