About Dr. Payne
Dr. Kevin J. Payne
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Kevin is a social psychologist, 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, 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 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 intervened: 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. He thought he’d given up.
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, and to stand up a parachute landing 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. “Someday, I may no longer 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 8,000 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.
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 October, 2021.
A lifelong tech geek, he first sat 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.
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. Now, his advising focuses on helping medical, therapeutic, health, and wellness organizations more effectively serve the needs of those with chronic health conditions. 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.
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YOUR LIFE LIVED WELL Podcast
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For those living with chronic health conditions, their loved ones and caregivers, and for medical, therapeutic, health, and wellness professionals.
The guidebook for getting the best from your life, even while living with or caring for a chronic health condition.
Dr. Payne has spent more than a decade researching, testing, and living what really works.
Don’t let your chronic condition keep you down!