‘Physician Focus’ Health Information Television Program Is Now Reaching More Than 1 Million Viewers

WALTHAM and HOPKINTON, Mass. – Physician Focus, the monthly health program co-produced by Hopkinton Community Access and Media and the Massachusetts Medical Society, is now reaching more than one million homes through the courtesy of public access station managers throughout the Commonwealth, according to an announcement by the show’s producers.


First produced in September 2004, Physician Focus is a monthly, half-hour talk show featuring physician members from the statewide physicians organization and other expert health care providers. The show focuses on a single topic each month and is designed to provide useful information from physicians on a wide variety of topics in an easy-to-understand, patient-friendly, conversational format. It is produced specifically for public access stations in the state and distributed to them at no charge as a public service.

It can currently be seen in Western Mass. on Longmeadow Community Television; Northampton Community Television; Wilbraham Community Television; Ludlow Community Television, and in Springfield on Comcast Public Access Channel 12; Greenfield Community Television in Greenfield, Montague, Gill, Buckland, Shelburne, Bernardston, Northfield, and Irving; Community Television for the Southern Berkshires in Lee, Lenox, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and Sheffield; Pittsfield Community Television in Pittsfield, Dalton, and Richmond; Northern Berkshire Community Access in North Adams, Adams, Clarksburg, Cheshire, and Williamstown; Athol Orange Television in Athol and Orange;

Taped at HCAM-TV facilities, the show is produced by Hopkinton resident and Station Manager Jim Cozzens, Richard Gulla of the Medical Society’s communications staff, and show host and Hopkinton resident Bruce Karlin, M.D. Cozzens handles the technical end, and Karlin and Gulla, in concert medical society colleagues, handle the content and distribution. The show is directed by Mike Torosian, HCAM programming coordinator.

Karlin, a practicing internist in Worcester and member of the medical society’s Communications Committee, said that “while a television program cannot and should not take the place of direct physician-to-patient contact, our principal aim is to let patients know that physicians are a rich, robust, and primary source of health information.

“A strength of the show comes from the nature of public access television, which allows us to examine a topic in depth,” Karlin continued. “Understanding medical information requires more than sound bites, and public access television offers a wonderful venue for extended, focused, uninterrupted discussion.”

The growth of this program has been quick and very rewarding, said Cozzens. “In less than a year, because of the willingness and courtesy of public access station managers across the Commonwealth, the program has gone from being broadcast to just a few thousand households to more than one million.”

The producers say that as of Sept. 1, 63 public access stations broadcasting to residents in 96 communities and nearly 1.1 million households will be receiving the program every month.

“One of the most gratifying aspects of the effort,” said Gulla, “has been discovering that for some stations Physician Focus is the first regular health care show they have. So we’re pleased we’re adding value to local access programming with important health information on a consistent basis.”

Physician Focus has covered such topics as health literacy, end-of-life care, infectious disease, patient safety, diabetes, osteoporosis, polio, occupational medicine, public health and geriatric care. The producers welcome suggestions and feedback through its E-mail address PhysicianFocus@mms.org, .

The television program is one part of a multi-media public information campaign that first began with monthly print articles, and then progressed to a radio program with WJDA Radio in Quincy that broadcasts throughout the South Shore, and the use of the Medical Society’s Web site as well.

For more information on the Physician Focus television program, including show topics and communities receiving the program, visit http://www. hcamtv.org/series/physicianFocus.htm

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 18,300 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s leading medical journals; the Journal Watch family of professional newsletters covering 11 specialties; and AIDS Clinical Care. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information, visit www.massmed.org.

HCAM-TV (Hopkinton Community Access Media) was founded April 1, 2004 by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hopkinton as a nonprofit corporation to manage local access to cable broadcast facilities. For information on volunteering, management and programming, visit http://www.hcam.tv

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