Susan Perry is part of an ever-smaller club — current MinnPost writers who started at the website’s launch. But today, after some 3,000 Second Opinion columns and a multitude of awards, she’s saying goodbye.
In 2007, Susan set out to make sense of the latest health research and trends — as she put it, “separating the hype from the evidence.” An experienced health writer, she combed the medical journals and explained not only the results of new studies but their context, limitations and potential ramifications as well.
A look at her early columns shows subjects that would come back again and again as new studies came out. MinnPost readers always got the straight scoop on what was known, and not known, whether it was the danger of cat bites or the prevalence of lawnmower injuries. If it had to do with health and well-being or their opposite, Susan was on it.
She often chose offbeat subjects for the end-of-the-week columns, frequently on psychology. The most notable being “Why psychopathic film villains are rarely realistic and why it matters” — with a photo of Norman Bates, of course.
Speaking of photos, Susan proved especially adept at challenging creative director Corey Anderson to come up with the right, if highly specific, piece of art, offering suggestions like: “A photo showing people using the Minneapolis bike-sharing program (but not tourists) would work” or “Can you find a photo of lots of tourists staring at their smartphones??” Though my personal favorite has always been: “A photo of a particularly nasty spider would work.”
A dozen years into all this, Susan responded to the coronavirus pandemic, helping to bring readers critically important information on early studies and other research: on COVID-19 patients losing the senses of smell and taste, on how one in five hospitalized COVID patients are young adults, on how to shop safely during the pandemic, on warnings of bogus coronavirus “cures.” That continued right up until Thursday’s “Pandemic-related delays in medical care for Minnesota’s non-COVID patients has caused harm to some, physicians say.”
Over the years, Susan’s professionalism was not only recognized by readers — her columns are often among the most highly trafficked stories on MinnPost — but by her peers. She won numerous Page One Awards from the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, including this year’s First Place award for Best Independent News Blog.
MinnPost will continue to cover health issues, though the Second Opinion column will be retired with Susan. We will certainly miss Susan’s work, her dedication and her expertise. And I, as her editor for 13 years, will miss my daily interactions with her. We wish her all the best.