Massachusetts Medical Society's Physician Focus



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?

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

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