Massachusetts Medical Society's Physician Focus

Diabetes: Persistent Epidemic
Diabetes is one of the country’s most prevalent chronic conditions, affecting nearly 29 million Americans. The disease is now the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. and contributes to a variety of other conditions such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney disease. Why and how has this chronic condition become so prevalent? What steps should be taken to reduce this epidemic? What are the latest treatments available for patients? And are we close to a cure?

Physician Focus is a monthly, half-hour educational talk show that brings important health and medical information from practicing physicians and health care professionals to people and patients of all ages.

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 each month to 195 Massachusetts public access television stations, reaching some 272 communities and an estimated 1.9 million cable households.* The program also has a national reach, available to public access stations across the U.S. via download from the transfer site, It is also available on iTunes. With statewide and national broadcasts, 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. The principal program host is Bruce Karlin, M.D., a primary care physician in Worcester, Mass. Other regular hosts include Mavis Jaworski, M.D., a primary care physician, James Kenealy, M.D., an otolaryngologist; Lynda Young, M.D., a pediatrician; and John Fromson, M.D., a psychiatrist. Other physicians may appear as guest hosts from time to time.

The Massachusetts Medical Society develops the content and distributes the programs to public access stations as a public service. HCAM-TV provides the studio and production facilities. The show is taped two months in advance of distribution.

Executive Producer of the show is Richard Gulla of the Medical Society’s media relations office. The program is produced by HCAM Station Manager Jim Cozzens and directed by HCAM’s Michael Torosian. Mr. Cozzens has over 25 years experience producing programs and overseeing community access television stations, and Mr. Gulla has more than 25 years experience in public relations and communications for some of the region's largest nonprofit and media organizations. The producers welcome inquiries and comments. Write to

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


Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Family Impact
Dementia describes a group of cognitive disorders primarily affecting older adults and is usually marked by difficulty with language, motor activity, and the ability to plan and organize. The most well-know of these conditions is Alzheimer’s disease, currently affecting 5.3 million Americans. The number of patients with Alzheimer’s, however, is increasing rapidly along with an aging population, and estimates are that by 2050, up to 16 million people will be afflicted. The impact of this condition on a patient is slow and tragic. Yet the effects of dementia go far beyond the patient. What should families consider when confronted with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s? What difficulties will patients and families face? And what resources are available to help them?

Guns and Public Health
Deaths and injuries from firearms continue to shine a spotlight on gun violence as a public health issue. Physicians believe gun safety should be a routine part of preventive care and have put forth proposals to reduce gun violence in America. Yet the issue is a flashpoint for controversy: laws banning physician discussion about guns with their patients have been passed, and the nomination of the U.S. Surgeon General was delayed for months because of his position on guns. Should gun violence or gun safety be considered a public health issue like infectious disease, tobacco, obesity, or traffic safety? And, if so, what role should health care, and specifically physicians, play in advocacy?

Common Eye Diseases
Eye injuries and disorders can occur regardless of age, but vision impairment increases rapidly with age, and as our population gets older, age-related eye diseases are expected to jump dramatically. Today, nearly three million people have glaucoma, and nearly 25 million have cataracts. And macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, currently affecting nearly 10 million people combined, are projected to double and quadruple, respectively, in the next 25 years. This edition of Physician Focus will discuss the major vision problems people over 40 may face, as well as examine the steps people of all ages should take to protect their eyes.

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and second most common cause of death from cancer among American women. The standard for preventive care has been the mammogram, and death rates from breast cancer have dropped 34% since 1990 largely due to screening. Yet differing opinions from health professionals about such screenings have raised concern and confusion, and some research has indicated overtreatment of breast cancer – from false-positives and over diagnosis –costs billions each year. What guidelines should women follow about screening? What are the risk factors for breast cancer? Is genetic testing a prudent path to take? And what are the risks and benefits of preventive mastectomies?
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