Massachusetts Medical Society's Physician Focus



Infectious Disease: Fear vs. Evidence
Infectious diseases have plagued humans since the beginning of time, and the arrival of a new contagion brings uncertainty, confusion, and a race for a vaccine. The experiences of SARS in 2003, of H1N1 bird flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014, and now the Zika virus in 2016 are the most recent examples of threats targeting the public’s health. Groups such as the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control go on high alert for these threats. The media are quick to label them “epidemics” and “pandemics,” raising fears on the part of the public. Has media overreaction become the norm for these outbreaks? What roles do such agencies as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control play on the international stage in addressing these outbreaks. And just how should the public react?
Physician Focus is a monthly, half-hour, educational talk show that brings important health and medical information on timely topics from practicing physicians and health care professionals to people and patients of all ages. 2015 marks the eleventh consecutive year of production, and since the first program appeared in 2004, more than 130 programs have been produced on a variety of personal and public health subjects.

Produced for public access television stations, Physician Focus is a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide organization of physicians, and HCAM-TV, Hopkinton. The program is distributed to some 275 communities in Massachusetts, reaching an estimated 1.9 million cable households in the state.*

The program has a national reach, via the website www.pegmedia.org, where public access stations across the U.S. can download the program for broadcast on their stations. And the program has a multiple online presence, available on YouTube, the website of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and here on its principal website, www.physicianfocus.org, hosted by HCAM-TV. With statewide and national distribution, Physician Focus reaches an estimated 2.5 million households.

In each edition, members of the Medical Society share their knowledge and expertise in patient-friendly discussions with a physician host. Bruce Karlin, M.D., a primary care physician in Worcester, Mass., is the principal host for the program, with several physicians also serving as moderators.

The Massachusetts Medical Society selects and develops the content and distributes the programs to public access stations as a public service. HCAM-TV provides the studio and production facilities and technical expertise for production. The show is taped at least one month in advance of distribution.

Executive Producer of the show is Richard Gulla of the Medical Society’s media relations office. Mr. Gulla has more than 30 years of experience in communications and public relations for some of the region's largest nonprofit and media organizations. The program is produced by HCAM’s Station Manager Jim Cozzens, who has over 30 years of experience producing television programs and overseeing community access television stations. It is directed and edited by HCAM’s Mike Torosian. Comments and inquiries about programming are welcome. Write to PhysicianFocus@mms.org.

*Subscriber figures from Mass. Department of Telecommunications and Energy, Cable Television Division

 UPCOMING PROGRAMS

Electronic Medical Records: The Pros and Cons
Medicine has seen the rapid advance of information technology in recent years, affecting both physicians and patients. The adoption of electronic medical records has been swift: some 90 percent of physicians in Massachusetts now use some form of electronic medical records. But the road to EHRs for physicians has been rocky, and the reception by patients seems mixed, with concerns about physician attention and confidentiality. What is the state of electronic medical records today? Are they improving medical care for patients? Do they facilitate or impede the physician’s role? Should patients be concerned about privacy and access to their confidential medical records by parties other than their physician? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this new technology, for both physicians and patients?


Men’s Top Health Risks: And What to Do About Them
When it comes to individual health, men fare far worse than women: Men are twice as likely to die of heart disease, more prone to be killed or injured in accidents, and more likely to suffer from drug or alcohol addictions. What causes men to do so poorly as compared to women? What are the main health risks that men face? And what should men do to reduce those risks?
Weekly Schedule First Airing Second Airing Third Airing Fourth Airing
Physician Focus Monday, 8:30 PM Thursday, 2:00 AM Thursday, 9:30 AM Thursday, 6:30 PM