Tricks of the Trade: Supportive Info for Any Interested Particles for an Integrator 2.0

Tricks of the Trade: Supportive Info for Any Interested Particles for an Integrator 2.0

I have frequently joked with people that I am the very best at what I do in the Integrator – and also the worst. It’s a dual assignation earned by anyone who is essentially an N of 1. Thus I too know that ending regular publication of the Integrator, in some form a fixture in the field since 1997, will leave a hole. I have been contacted by a few who are interested in something like it continuing. At least one dyad imagines a group of parties might be interested in a collaboration. I have made it clear that, while I am not taking responsibility to insure something continues, I am happy to support legitimate efforts toward a sort of Integrator 2.0 (under whatever name). I’d like to have access to an ongoing resource myself! For anyone interested, here is some basic clarity about the current model. I am happy to link interested parties, if they would like.

Attracting the Right Writer(s)/Curator(s) to the Center of the Known Universe

In early 1997, I was asked by representatives of then St. Anthony Publishing, a medical and coding publishing company, if I wanted to the chair of the editorial advisory board of a new publication they were going to begin on “integrating alternative medicine into healthcare organizations.” I had a background as a journalist from 16 years earlier. I was also then writing a column called “Charting the Mainstream: A Review of Trends in the Dominant Medical System”, for the Townsend Letter for Doctors. I told St. Anthony’s people that I would rather write the newsletter than have the honorific position. Because St. Anthony was a recognized brand in the medical mainstream, this gave me an opportunity to call up anyone related to the field, activist, insurer, hospital CEO, employer, professional association leader and others. This should be a lure for the right individual or team. One can busy-body oneself right into anyone’s business! Experience reporting is useful but not necessary to provide a good deal of service. More on this below.

The Audience is Not Huge – and Will Likely Remain that Way

Think about it this way. A subset of clinicians in any profession is interested in or involved in that profession’s political activity. Of that subset, another subset is interested in peering beyond one’s own business or professional borders to be aware of the activities of other professions and stakeholders. Not everyone is more for the profoundly interprofessional cultural economic clash of the integrative space. I like to quote a now deceased editor of Commentary that he “wrote for a small but influential journal.” I may be an N of 1 – and the N of Integrator readers is not that large. Open rates and click through rates, however, are strong relative to most newsletters. If the right team comes along, I will warn you and share the Integrator list.

Basic Curating and Networking Sources

The core of the business is network the diverse players – professionals and stakeholders – so that optimally they know more about what each other are up to and can find their ways into more relationships.The curation process presently involves selecting items to: 1) include in the “Quick Links”; 2) briefly cover as “Highlighted Action/Publication/Event”, or explore more deeply via a story.

To track what is going on, I rely principally on these sources:

  • Member newsletters, publications, for integrative organizations More that a dozen organizations have me on their member newsletter list, without me paying to join. Focus on: national policy activity; organizational priorities; key marketing efforts; etc. The assumption here is that other professions can learn from others – and will potentially simply find the intelligence useful. I also track Holistic Primary Care, Today’s Practitioner, and Integrative Practitioner.
  • Google Alerts  This is a core source of the Quick Links and is also a prompt to news items that I select as “Highlighted Action” or “Highlighted Publication” etc. I get alerts for “alternative medicine” (because, after all, this is still the term the public most uses), “integrative medicine,” and “traditional medicine”.
  • Mainstream medical organizations  This is for principally 2 purposes: 1) see what they may be doing, of anything, directly relative to integrative health; and 2) the charting the mainstream look at what they are doing that most dovetails with the direction for healthcare we would most like. These latter are the bridge abutment in the medical mainstream that bridge-building requires. Also looking for news of major screw ups. Here I rely on newsletter for Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Public Health Association.
  • Mainstream news outlets Medpage Today, Kaiser Health News, Medscape.
  • Friends and colleagues Friends and colleagues send me notice of developments or news that they feel are Integrator fodder.


Start up would be a website and or web-pages on another site. The cost is not high – a couple thousand. I use Word Press for articles and GoDaddy for the newsletter and mail functions. The non-aligned nature of the Integrator suggests that it might be best not housed inside an organization or entity, though I imagine if the product is good, and even-handed, no one will complain much. I will hold on to the Integrator Blog site ( which is essentially an archive site now. The 2.0 can link to it. Similarly, I will also continue to own my articles since 2016 at, though a 2.0 can also link. I anticipate keeping these two sites alive for a few more years in some fashion.


I have done it as a solo act, with only irregular assist from a computer tech person. It helps that I like constructing the little visuals icons that go with the articles. My spouse thinks that I am likely to grossly understate how much time it takes. I write and work on the fast side of fast, as my typos will likely have taught. The pay, lately – see below – has not compensated very well for time spent.  Bottom line: basically the only overhead is writing and production, easily a one-person job ones the format is set up.


Basically the only costs are fee to the writer, and some annual web-hosting and mail service charges. In the first years of intensive community building and hosting of many “Reader Comments” articles (roughly 2006-2010), and the extensive “Integrator Round-up” newsletter within the newsletter, I basically had 5 sponsors who each paid $1,000/month. I felt lucky getting $60,000 a year to do that work. In recent years the philanthropic partnerships have been small, at $25,000-$35,000/year. At the same time, I have been writing fewer articles, and no longer as engaged in engaging readers then publishing forums. This would potentially be a good function to bring back. Then again, those comment exchanges may have been particularly good for that moment in time for the field – and prior to the present deluge of content in which we are each swimming. I have a financial sponsor for donors who wish to make the grant as a not-for-profit. Others write off their participation as marketing, or as a straight gift.

This is a basic overview of current methods. New energy will bring new methods.  The harder to reprise are the kinds of value I have been able to bring through my decades in the field. I personally think that the right community organizer, equipped with a nose for curation, and passion for the field, could have a great deal of pleasure, as I have had, of accumulating expertise and relationships issue by issue.

%d bloggers like this: