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A Physician Focus Special Edition
The Flu: What You Should Know

The Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Hopkinton Community Television have produced a special television program on the flu that has been distributed to public access television stations across Massachusetts.

The Flu: What You Should Know brings physicians and public health officials together in presenting information on the dangers of H1N1 swine flu and seasonal flu, vaccine safety and supply, how to protect against the infections, and what to do if you get sick.

The program is a half-hour special presentation of Physician Focus, the Medical Society’s monthly educational program on health care. In addition to being distributed to local public access television stations across the Commonwealth, it is available for viewing online above.

Guests on the program include John Auerbach, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner; Lauren Smith, M.D., a pediatrician and medical director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and Erin Tracy, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Hosting the show is Bruce Karlin, M.D., a primary care physician in Worcester and Vice Chair of the Medical Society’s Communications Committee.

“Whether in their offices or in emergency rooms, physicians are on the front lines of patient care for both prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Karlin. “It’s important that patients get up-to-date and accurate information from reliable sources, and bringing the medical society together with the Department of Public Health is a great way to accomplish that. Public access television is a wonderful venue for this effort, because it reaches into the community at the local level.”

The program also includes two separate public service announcements; one by Dr. Tracy, with a message about the flu for pregnant women; and one by Bruce Auerbach, M.D., past president of the medical society and vice president of emergency and ambulatory services at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, offering guidelines on when patients should go to the emergency room.

Physicians and public health officials strongly recommend that residents stay up-to-date about both the H1N1 swine flu and the seasonal flu by visiting the websites of the Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the Centers for Disease Control. Links to these sites appear above.

The Flu: What You Should Know is the second collaborative effort of the Medical Society, Department of Public Health, and Hopkinton Community Television.

Physician Focus is a noncommercial production of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide organization of physicians, and Hopkinton Community Television, HCAM-TV. Now in its sixth year of production, the half-hour program brings viewers health and medical information each month on timely topics from physicians and other healthcare experts. Distributed as a public service, the program currently reaches some 230 communities and more than 1.8 million households in the state each month through the courtesy of public access television stations.

For information or questions about this program, please contact the executive producer, Richard P. Gulla, Massachusetts Medical Society, 781-434-7101 or [email protected].

November 2009