In addition to monthly programs, the Massachusetts Medical Society and HCAM-TV occasionally produce special editions of Physician Focus, discussing critically important health topics affecting a wide range of people. Since Physician Focus first appeared in November of 2004, five specials have been created, intended to serve as primers on major issues of personal and public health. Each production included original public service announcements featuring local physicians and public health officials.
Our first special was Hunger in the Commonwealth and aired in September 2008. Its expert guests included physicians, leaders of the state’s major food banks and hunger agencies, and Congressman Jim McGovern, a long-time anti-hunger advocate. The show called attention to the rising incidence of hunger across the Commonwealth, particularly among children and youth.
In April 2009, MMS, HCAM-TV and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health collaborated to produce Obesity in Massachusetts, a one-hour program to raise awareness of and provide solutions to a major public health problem facing the state and the nation: the soaring rates of obesity among all age groups. It would be the first of three collaborative efforts with the Department of Public Health.
In November of 2009, the half-hour program, The Flu: What You Should Know, became the second special, with the Department of Public Health again participating as a co-sponsor. In addition to the discussion, the production featured two, original public service announcements on the importance of getting a flu shot, one directed at one of the most high-risk groups: pregnant women.
Diabetes: Chronic Epidemic became the third one-hour special, broadcast in May of 2010, with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health again a co-sponsor. This program included public health officials and physicians and nurses who specialize in the care of diabetic patients and called attention to the rising epidemic of diabetes in the U.S. and its impact on the health care system.
In 2012, the threats posed by Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus reached unprecedented levels across the state. To inform residents about these mosquito-borne diseases, as well as tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, the Massachusetts Medical Society, HCAM-TV, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health again collaborated to produce Mosquito and Tick-Borne Diseases, a program alerting residents about the dangers of these diseases and what people can do to protect themselves.
The topics covered in these Special Editions are still very much critical public health issues and likely will be for some time to come. While some information in these programs may be dated, the key messages of the shows remain as pertinent today as on the days the programs were first broadcast. As we are each month in producing our regular programs, we are proud to have created these specials, raising awareness and educating patients about the major public health issues of the day.
With our thanks to all the guests and the HCAM-TV volunteers who participate in our productions.