Episode #47: Rachel Trobman
Rachel Trobman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Upside Health, which is dedicated to reducing the economic and social impact of chronic pain for patients and providers, primarily through its technology product, Ouchie. Prior to her foray into healthcare, Rachel was a digital content producer, working for a wide range of news outlets including NY1, the New York Times and the TODAY Show. When she’s not wrangling health systems, Rachel is wrangling her two young daughters, Maisie and June, and is exploring the best ice cream spots in NJ with her husband, Jason.
When Rachel Trobman was diagnosed with non-specific connective tissue disease in college, the experience was formative in a few different ways. Not only did she now have a diagnosis, but the rheumatologist who diagnosed her, Dr. Michael Lockshin, showed her that healthcare could go beyond personalized: it could be humanized. In addition, as he began to treat Rachel, the focus was on her symptoms, not her disease. Today, both of those principles play out in an app called Ouchie, a product created by Upside Health, the company Rachel co-founded. On today’s episode, Rachel and I talk about the challenges of having a “non-specific” diagnosis, how she handles symptoms as they come up, and how Ouchie supports people so that they can live their lives while managing their chronic pain.
Here are some of the things Rachel and I chatted about:
Having a colonoscopy in high school, when her peers were more focused on things like prom
The rheumatologist who diagnosed her with non-specific connective tissue disease
Why she’s attracted to symptom management versus disease progression management
The medication that keeps her flare-ups at bay, and also helps lupus patients (like her mom)
The tough decision she has to make every time she notices or feels inflammation in her body
Recently discovering she has a lipoma the size of a golf ball (or bigger) in her parotid gland
How both guided meditation and spending time with her kids help her manage her illness
Learning to allow herself to take naps, and then remembering that her mom used to nap too
Watching her mom and step-brother navigate their own complex chronic conditions
Founding Ouchie, an app for pain management built around pain support, regardless of cause
The many ways that people engage on the app, whether they have a diagnosis or not
The idea of humanizing medicine, and how that dynamic is one of Ouchie’s core values
The challenge of prioritizing self care while also being dedicated to a growing business
Support for this episode comes from Ouchie. Ouchie is a free app for iOS and Android that provides solutions for chronic pain management. It uses evidence-backed tools like cognitive behavioral therapy, pain tracking, community support, access to resources, and integration with clinicians to help people feel better, faster. Check out ouchie.com and download the Ouchie app to see for yourself. Make sure to share with them that you found the app through Made Visible!