By Stephanie M. Cline
Colorado Springs has a new addition to its publishing scene. Family Doctor, a Springs-based magazine that was created by James Hubbard Jr., M.D., MPH, hit newsstands in September.
“He started it because he was a doctor in a small town and became surprised by the lack of medical education among lay people,” said Leigh Ann Hubbard, the magazine’s managing editor and the doctor’s daughter. They didn’t know a lot of the basics he thought they needed to know to lead healthy lives.”
Family Doctor covers a variety of medical topics. The updates section provides information about medical studies, outlines the strengths and weaknesses of studies and offers “What You Should Do” advice. Readers also have the opportunity to write in to pose questions to doctors and other experts. “About one third of our magazine is devoted to question-and-answer columns,” Leigh Ann Hubbard said.
The housecalls section showcases letters to experts and their responses. The majority of contributing writers are members of the medical community. “We stick to medical doctors as much as possible, but sometimes nurses can communicate more effectively,” she said.
Family Doctor seeks to cover many aspects of healthcare including children’s health, alternative medicine and sexual health. “The magazine really is for everyone,” Leigh Ann Hubbard said. “We feel like the people who would be most interested in our magazine would be baby boomers and people who are a little older. You know, people who are starting to hear their bones creak a little more.”
Family Doctor, according to Leigh Ann Hubbard, also appeals to anyone who is interested in leading a healthier lifestyle.
The Hubbard family has been working to ensure that the content of the magazine is clear and easy to follow. “I, as a layperson, can make sure it is understandable to everyone,” said Leigh Ann Hubbard, who has no formal medical training. “We know it is hard for people to get reliable information. We consider the magazine an extension of the doctor visit. It provides more information, which is good in this world of managed care.”
Leigh Ann Hubbard said that too often people are rushed out of their doctors’ offices in an attempt to make time for as many patients as possible.
In keeping with their dedication to all health care issues, Family Doctor discusses the latest in dieting news. “In our next issue, which is on newsstands March 9th, we cover the Atkins, South Beach and Dr. Phil diets,” Leigh Ann Hubbard said. There also will be an article about herbal safety in the wake of the ephedra controversy.
Leigh Ann Hubbard said that the magazine’s staff, which is composed primarily of freelance writers, does not want to report only on the most current trends in the medical world. “Some publications like to jump on the latest studies, but sometimes the latest studies are not the best studies,” she said.
Though Family Doctor does report on alternative medicine, an increasingly popular subject, the coverage is always from an “objective” and “scientific” point of view according to Leigh Ann Hubbard. “We like to stick to the proven information,” she said.
Family Doctor also invites people who suffer from diseases and disorders to contribute articles to the magazine’s “living with” section, which offers a firsthand look into the realities of various diseases and ailments.
The magazine is available at Barnes and Noble, Media Play, Hastings Books and B. Dalton stores (look for Katie Couric on the cover). A one-year, six-issue subscription is $19.95 and can be purchased by visiting www.familydoctormag.com.
“We put out about 10,000 copies right now,” said publisher and editor-in-chief Dr. James Hubbard Jr. In light of the success of Family Doctor, the staff plans to publish monthly within a year. They are continuing to build their subscription base and are optimistic. “This is an industry where most publications fail right off the starting block,” said Leigh Ann Hubbard.
Leigh Ann Hubbard encourages people to visit the Family Doctor Web site to post questions to medical experts. “Just click on the ‘contact us’ link,” she said. “No question is stupid or too complicated.”