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December 2022 - Give the Gift of Self-Care!

It’s the season of giving, and while it’s easy to take care of everyone around us, it can be more challenging to give ourselves the gifts of rest and care. What is something you can do – a moment you can carve out – just for yourself? Whether it's making an appointment with your direct primary care physician or taking a nap in the middle of the day (or walking in the sunshine, perhaps), creating space for your own sense of wellbeing is so important during this time of the year. 

Updates from Our Docs

Holiday Office Hours

  • Dr. Kirsten Lin will be seeing urgent appointments only during the week of Dec. 26-30.
  • Dr. Natalie Gentile will be seeing urgent appointments only during the period of Dec. 26-Jan 2. She will also be moving into her new office during that time! More information coming soon on her location in 2023. 
  • Dr. Loughner will be taking urgent appointments only from Dec. 19-Jan. 2 as she completes the transition to her Wexford office and celebrates the holiday with family. 

Holiday Events

Fun for the kids! There will be several holiday Little Medical School pop-ups happening, including:

  • Dec. 1 at Hampton Community Center: Enjoy medical-related crafts and games for kids from 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 28 at JCC South Hills: This pop-up event is for the little "future pharmacist" in the family, taught by Amy Scott, PharmD, from 10 a.m.-noon.
  • January 2023: Dr. Lin will teach a teen "future doctor" class for North Allegheny eighth graders. More details will be coming soon.

Flu Shots

Need a flu shot as we head into the holidays? Schedule an in-office appointment with your DCPP doc to get your yearly flu shot and feel better all season long!

Stay up to date: COVID-19, Monkeypox and more

  • Do you have questions about vaccines, boosters and staying healthy this holiday season? We’re here to help you keep track of the latest health guidelines. 

    The DCPP doctors have worked together to create online resources where you can learn about the latest on COVID-19, Monkeypox and more at

    We are here to answer any questions or schedule sick visits as needed. When in doubt, check it out!


  • Did you know: Dr. Loughner has a NEW Wexford location opening this month! She is currently offering enrollment with free in-home visits within 5 miles of the office for the initial new patient appointments until the office is ready. Share this with someone who may benefit from direct primary care. What a great gift to give! 
  • Starting Dec. 9, Dr. Loughner will start seeing patients in Wexford with limited availability in Highland Park (for current patients only). Starting Jan. 2, she will no longer be available for appointments in Highland Park but welcomes patients to come visit her at her new Wexford office!
  • Dr. Gentile was recently featured on two podcasts: “Proprietors of Pittsburgh” and “The Binge Eating Dietitian Podcast.” Give them a listen and learn more about what motivates her as a direct primary care physician and her passion for lifestyle medicine.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper featured Dr. Lin in its guide for navigating the open enrollment period. Read the story in full at

Recipe of the Month: Dr. Lin's Favorite Holiday Cupcakes

Looking for a perfect holiday treat that’s also plant-based? Give these a whirl! 

Vegan Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk
  • Crushed candy canes (optional)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a dozen muffin cups.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut milk, vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift dry ingredients into wet ones and stir until lumps are gone. 

Step 3: Pour batter into cupcake liners until about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. 

Step 4: When cool, whisk chocolate glaze ingredients until smooth and spread on cupcakes. Decorate with crushed candy canes, and enjoy.

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Patient Spotlight

Diane Dean, RN, LPC, CUG, is the owner and founder of Epiphany! Counseling and Wellness center, a practice that offers coaching and counseling services to help patients create lasting personal change. After experiencing her own struggles with mental health, Diane committed to helping others find meaning.jenna_aPwZpM5.jpeg

She helps her clients express their values in their day-to-day lives so they can feel fulfilled by creating important, long-lasting impact. Diane encourages her clients to focus on possibilities rather than on limitations. At the end of the day, Diane hopes her clients feel as though they’ve done what they set out to do.

Diane has been a patient of Dr. Gentile’s for over two years and worked at Direct Care Physicians of Pittsburgh during COVID-19 assisting with triage and doing mental health assessments. She appreciates that Dr. Gentile advocates for mental health and that she sees people as whole people rather than fragmented systems. She loves DCPP’s business model and often recommends DCPP. 

You can learn more about Epiphany! Counseling and Wellness at in a new tab)

Would you like to be spotlighted? Do you know another DCPP patient who would make for a great profile? Let us know, and you could be featured in a future newsletter.