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Mercy patients Susan and Sarah Ford are the focus of a recent article by The Wall Street Journal.
Photo provided by Mercy Springfield Communities
Mercy patients Susan and Sarah Ford are the focus of a recent article by The Wall Street Journal.

Blog: Springfield’s having a banner month in national news

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Following less-than-flattering coverage of the Springfield Police Department via CNN late last year, the Queen City’s had a good start in 2019 when it comes to national news coverage.

At least four Springfieldians were identified during the past week in reports by The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic.

The topics? Virtual health care and comedian Jeff Houghton’s “Instagram Husband” viral phenomenon.

The Wall Street Journal last week published a report, “The Psychiatrist Can See Your Child Now, Virtually,” about Mercy’s virtual health care, with multiple Springfield mentions.

The article discusses 14-year-old Sarah Ford’s battles with depression, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. When she told her mother, Susan Ford, about the issues last year, Susan contacted their pediatrician, Dr. Ashley Merrick, of Mercy Springfield Communities. From there, Cassie Turner, an advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at Mercy Virtual in Chesterfield, provided assistance.

“I was able to get help and get it quickly instead of getting on a waiting list,” Susan told The Wall Street Journal for the Jan. 8 article that also appeared in the publication’s print edition.

Mercy in 2015 opened its Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield, a $54 million, 125,000-square-foot facility that houses more than 850 employees. Oddly enough, there are no patients. All of its medical staff work with cameras, tablets and monitors to assist patients in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

“With Mercy Virtual, what we’re trying to do is really redesign health care,” said Mark Saxon, Mercy Virtual’s vice president of clinical operations, in the November 2018 SBJ article. “We leverage technology and innovation as we do that.”

It’s often said that technology should be a force for good. This is certainly one of those cases.

In lighter news, Houghton got a shoutout in a Jan. 11 article dubbed, “The Instagram-Husband Revolution.”

“The Mystery Hour” host “solidified the term,” according to The Atlantic. That statement, though, seems to downplay Houghton’s influence, since here in Springfield, we know he created the “Instagram Husband” term.

It was the impetus behind the December 2015 video of the same name, which has since garnered 6.8 million views.

In the skit, which features Houghton and his wife Michelle, as well as A Beautiful Mess lifestyle blogger Emma Chapman and her husband Trey George, among others, the Springfield comedian lamented his life as a so-called Instagram husband, those who serve as “human selfie sticks” for their wives’ social media posts.

It’s a fantastic satire of a digital world filled with users obsessed with their online image, and it’s rightfully gotten a lot of attention.

It even was parodied in a recent ad by Taco Bell, which used the term “Instagram Boyfriend.” In an opinion piece last month, Houghton teased the fast-food chain over the ad, writing, “I’d love for you to be my husband. My Instagram Husband.” Interestingly, Taco Bell appears to have deleted the ad from its YouTube library.

Back to The Atlantic, the so-called revolution of the Instagram husband now has men proud to hold the camera and take internet-worthy photos of their wives. No longer are men ashamed, according to the report, though that’s debatable.

Regardless of the content, perhaps 2019 will be the year for Springfield in national news.

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