Dr. Kevin J. Payne
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Kevin is a social psychologist and entrepreneur, author, podcast host, speaker, teacher, and frequent guest interview or panelist. He shares the results of his extensive research concerning how to live a quality life with chronic distress, pain, and illness. He also shares his personal exploits as a collector of experiences — even while battling Multiple Sclerosis for decades. Life is too remarkable to sit on the sidelines, even when we’ve got to get more creative about how we get in the game!
He was born and raised in the Kansas City Metro area. He can’t have too many books, is a lifelong tech geek, loves collecting new experiences, is devoted to his animals, pretty fond of his kids, and sometimes appears as a pirate.
He also never misses a chance to jump from a perfectly good airplane.
Kevin holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He spent 15 years as a professor and headed a large program with 150 instructors serving over ten thousand annual enrollments.
In an active research career spanning three decades, he’s authored over 40 peer-reviewed academic articles and presentations. He has also designed, analyzed, managed, or consulted on over a thousand basic and applied projects. His academic specializations are in social and behavioral research methodology, and in studying why people succeed or fail under challenging conditions. His new book, Your Life Lived Well, will be published in Fall, 2021.
A lifelong tech geek, he first set down in front of a computer in 1977 and was hacking into the ARPANET by the early ’80s. He has always employed computer modeling and digital technology in his research approach, effectively doing “data science” long before the field formally existed.
Kevin had a childhood dream of flight. He was serious about it, but fortunately managed to avoid major injuries from his youthfully misguided experiments with homemade parachutes. In the ’90s, he first took the Accelerated Free Fall skydiver training and logged a handful of jumps.
Then a lot of life got in the way: finishing his doctorate, growing his family, building his career, supporting a wife’s decade-long battle with cancer, and years of enduring the capriciously terrifying challenges of a body plagued by Multiple Sclerosis. Eventually, he despaired of ever returning to his dream.
But he vowed to find a way. In the summer of 2019, he threw himself into figuring out a way to make his wonky body safe and functional at terminal velocity, or landing a parachute even when he couldn’t feel his legs. With a lot of support from his sky family and lots of extra work, he managed to log more than 500 jumps (earning his coach rating) over the next year-and-a-half — 370 jumps in 2020, alone.
Now, weather permitting, you’ll find him in the sky. As he’s been known to quip, “someday, I may no longer be able to walk, but I will still fly!”
Living with MS
Dr. Payne has lived with multiple sclerosis for decades. He’s faced chronic pain, fatigue, trauma, and depression. He once gained and lost 120 pounds in the span of four years (and has kept it off since early 2002). He spent a decade supporting a wife on the verge of dying of cancer. He’s lived the challenges of chronic health conditions, both as diagnosed and caregiver.
Those experiences radically changed the course of his life. As a researcher, He did the only thing he knew to do: turned himself into a guinea pig and experimented relentlessly. But he wasn’t happy finding answers just for himself, so he interviewed hundreds, surveyed thousands, scraped 2.23 million data points from the open web, and re-analyzed over 7,000 studies on more than a hundred conditions to build practical solutions.
He discovered that most of our challenges aren’t directly from our medical symptoms, but from the practical, mental, emotional, and social fallout of managing a condition that will never go away. Medicine doesn’t have our solutions, or our conditions wouldn’t be chronic. We need quality of life care: grounded in science, driven by data, delivered with compassion, and personalized for everyone.
In 2012, Dr. Payne left the academy to become a full-time tech entrepreneur. He’s led enterprise generating millions in annual revenue and double-digit growth. He served as Founder of DART Research, Inc., Co-Founder of TeraCrunch, LLC, Chief Data Scientist of Sickweather, Inc., among others.
Through decades of consulting, he has advised dozens of enterprises. He focuses on helping early and growth stage, technology-driven companies — especially in the health, wellness, and education sectors. He remains committed to selectively advising these ventures.
His current company is his labor of love. Your Life Lived Well, LLC (formerly Chronic Cow, LLC) brings a new approach to supporting the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, and environmental quality of life challenges faced by those whose lives are touched by chronic illness. It delivers the education we need to live well under the strain of chronic distress, pain, and illness; the technology that analyzes us to find how each of us can successfully make — and stick with — the life changes we need; and the ongoing support to see us through the process.
Your Life Lived Well
A better way of living with, and giving care for, chronic health conditions — for those diagnosed; loved ones and caregivers; and medical, therapeutic, health, and wellness professionals.
A chronic diagnosis can overwhelm the rest of our lives. Yet half of us now live with these mostly unseen challenges. We soon find out we can’t think, feel, act, relate, or operate the same as others. But we still need to live good lives.
Medicine doesn’t have our solutions, or our conditions wouldn’t be “chronic.” We need the best health care, but we also need a better approach to quality of life care.
Most of our challenges are non-medical: managing our condition, changing our behaviors, improving our mindsets, calming our fears, maintaining our relationships, and attending to our quality of life.
Dr. Payne has spent years pioneering the interdisciplinary research that solves these problems. He’s interviewed hundreds, surveyed thousands, scraped 2.23 million data points from the open web, and analyzed more than seven thousand studies of over one hundred conditions to find what really works.
Unsure whether Your Life Lived Well is right for you? Join our Patreon community and find out for yourself!
Your Life Lived Well is grounded in science, driven by data, delivered with compassion, and personalized for you.
Dr. Payne delivers a full curriculum of in-person and virtual keynotes, seminars, workshops and classes for:
- those living with chronic diagnoses
- their loved ones and caregivers
- couples and families
- medical, therapeutic, health, and wellness professionals
9 October 2017
Collecting LossesMy dog died last night. Despite a frantic, late night dash to the animal ER and some exceptional measures, Nimo couldn’t be saved. He was my companion for more than 11 years. He was with me, showing that quiet, unshakable — almost mythic — canine love, through some aching...
29 May 2017
This Memorial Day: In Remembrance of RitualEvery Memorial Day, as a child, I recall the family dressing up, loading a variety of floral arrangements, and trekking across country to spend the day visiting cemeteries. The lumbering station wagon would kick up a mighty plume of dust as we pulled into the necropolis. ...
27 May 2013
Meditation on GratitudeIt’s Memorial Day, and that’s an apt opportunity to reflect on gratitude. My father is Vietnam Veteran. He was drafted in 1966 and answered the call — even though he had a lot of life to put on hold at the time: married only a few years, trying to start a fa...
I selectively advise early and growth stage tech, health, and wellness enterprises through my unique blend of behavioral science, data science, entrepreneurial expertise, and life experience in technology and healthcare.
Workshops & Training
Teach executives, professionals & employees about two things:
(1.) how to easily integrate data and scientific thinking into your better decision-making, and (2.) how to operate successfully under distress.
Advising & Consulting
Advise organizations on the best ways to include data and social & behavioral science insights into existing workflows and decision-making so they won’t become blindsided by poor planning and wishful thinking.
Critical analysis of your organization or a specific program, process or policy, backed by real data and validated science, along with practical instructions for implementation, improvement and monitoring.
Interpretation & Reporting
Using social and behavioral science, as well as business & management experience, to answer all-important questions for technical, business, or consumer audiences. Formats include written reports, presentations, slide decks & dashboards.
A full range of statistical & machine learning approaches; parametric, nonparametric & mixed methods; predictive, prescriptive & causal models. I select the right technique to insure you have trustworthy answers.
Bad data are worse than none. Make sure you’re collecting the right data in the right ways to reliably answer your organization’s questions. Includes surveys, interviews, focus groups, experiments, incidental & secondary data.