About What’s the Alternative?

In What’s the Alternative, medical journalist Portland Helmich meets with health experts, psychologists and healing arts practioners to explore non-traditional techniques for a healthy mind and body.

Portland Helmich

Portland Helmich

Portland Helmich’s interest in natural health and alternative medicine emerged over a decade ago in Vermont, where she had moved to escape the rigors of life in New York City. It was in Vermont that she hosted and produced the series “Journeys Into Healing” in the late ’90s. Since that time, Portland has explored storytelling from all sides. She has been a television host, reporter, producer, radio announcer and writer.

While in Vermont, Portland was a freelance alternative medicine correspondent for Oxygen, produced for “HealthWeek” on PBS and hosted “Rural Free Delivery” on Vermont Public Television.

In 2002, Portland moved to Boston with a dream in mind: to host and produce a national television series just like “What’s the Alternative?” Without a clear idea of how to realize her vision, she developed as many skills as possible. She worked as a medical producer at WCVB-TV, Boston’s ABC affiliate. She reported for “The American Consumer” on PBS, produced for “New Morning” on the Hallmark Channel and filled in for Barry Nolan as host of “Nitebeat,” a live talk show on The Comcast Network.

Portland also wrote for magazines, including Body & Soul and Alternative Medicine. Her voice was frequently heard on WGBH Radio, Boston, where she filled in as a news host during NPR programs, including “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.”

Portland began her career as an actress, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from New York University. She’s done countless voice-overs, and performed in theater, commercials and on soap operas, including “All My Children.” She also has a master’s degree from St. Michael’s College in Vermont in teaching English as a second language.

She considers “What’s the Alternative?” — which she hosts and executive produces — the perfect marriage of her skills and interests.