The Healthline Tradition

By Tim Rumsey, MD
Forty-four years ago, seeing the value of the W7th News that had launched earlier in the decade and looking for a way to add to the newsletter health information that would be relevant to readers, I launched the Healthline column. Though it has changed hands several times in the past decades, it has been a thrill to watch it grow and see other healthcare providers in the neighborhood carry the torch. 


1977 – 1986
The very first Healthline column dealt with the work that my colleagues and I did at the free clinic, Helping Hand Health Center. Common medical conditions with a self-care focus were highlighted. Deeper topics presented included crib death, drug use and mental health challenges.
Helping Hand nurses and our dentist, nutritionist and psychologist contributed guest columns. Healthline received a runner up in the Page One Awards’ “Best Twin Cities Community Paper” health column in the early 1980s.


1995 – 2008
Healthline took a break before reappearing in 1995 as a joint venture between United Family Medicine and Helping Hand. There were multiple contributors – physicians such as Dr. Chris Reif, Dr. Ravi Balasubrahmanyan, Dr. Jerry Montie, Dr. Kate Vickery as well as nurse practitioners such as Tamson Morgan, outreach workers such as Connie Walsh, and psychologist Paula Coyne. Even neighbors like Gina and John Lotzer sometimes contributed. Topics included homelessness, lead toxicity, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain and living with Bi-Polar disease.


2009 – 2016
In 2009, the Community Reporter’s incoming editor, Jerry Rothstein, resuscitated Healthline with vigor and new guest columnists. Dr. Ian Grunberg, a chiropractic doctor, and Cora Peine, a physician assistant, as well as family practice residents at the United Family Medicine clinic wrote about how we could help families without insurance and helped readers make sense of the health care reforms that became known as “Obamacare.”
Rothstein wisely continued the column’s title, despite a certain doctor-writer’s insistence that it should evolve into an off-the-wall name like “What the Health?” or “How Bad do you Want to Feel Good?” which, in retrospect, might have been a risky mistake. 
The column grew, with new topics often about age-old health challenges, advanced directives, centering pregnancy, community engagement and trauma.


2017 – Present
After completing his residency in family medicine, Dr. Jonathon Dickman has led the Healthline column into new territory. He approaches resident physicians to write about their areas of expertise and interest, helping guide them in writing columns such as “Little Women of Color” by Dr. Jene Carter, “How to Sleep Better” by Dr. Emily Friedricksen and “Racism in Medicine,” by Dr. Jenny Zhang. 
Forty-four years ago, seeing the value of the W7th News that had launched earlier in the decade and looking for a way to add to the newsletter health information that would be relevant to readers, I launched the Healthline column. Though it has changed hands several times in the past decades, it has been a thrill to watch it grow and see other healthcare providers in the neighborhood carry the torch. 

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