NEW YORK: New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center is preparing for the media spotlight this fall, as its director, Dr. Mehmet Oz, will host the Discovery Channel's new series, Second Opinion With Dr. Oz.
The pre-recorded, 13-part series challenges viewers to take control of their health by showing actual hospital procedures and first-hand accounts on overcoming conditions.
According to Oz, Second Opinion "moves away from passive entertainment." He added, "there has been a lot of education about health on television, but not enough transformation."
The series provides viewers with what Oz referred to as "concrete steps" toward improving health.
For a portion of each show, the host appears in front of a studio audience, where he discusses a particular health topic. What follows is either an interview with a patient, a relevant celebrity - Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Naomi Judd, and Joe Torre, to name a few - or footage of a surgical procedure.
Oz said the series' mission - to empower patients - limits his openness to pitches from PR people.
"Pitches come, but they come from people who don't understand the show," said Oz. "I'd like to hear about a great graphics program that allows me to better demonstrate what cancer cells do, but I'm not interested in promoting drugs or medical devices."
Last Tuesday, New York-Presbyterian Hospital's media relations team hosted a launch event, where members of the press were shown eight-minute video clips of the series.
Bryan Dotson, manager of media relations for the hospital, said his department would continue pitching Oz to media outlets as an expert on health issues in preparation for the show's premiere.
"Reporters aren't going to want to do a story just on Dr. Oz having his own show," Dotson explained, "so we've got to position our pitches as human-interest stories."
Generating internal awareness among New York-Presbyterian's employees is also an important pre-premiere focus, according to Dotson. Mass e-mails are being sent, reminding staff members of the show's start date. Daily messages will also be disseminated once the series begins, letting employees know what topics will be covered.
"Keeping the staff informed is important because they should know what's going on with the physicians they work with," explained Dotson. (Several New York-Presbyterian doctors, in addition to Oz, appear in the show)."It's a potential audience of 14,000 people," he added, Second Opinion premieres on October 20 at 5pm EST.