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Dr. Herbert Smitherman hosts 'OurHealth Urban' series on Detroit Public Television
The host of a new health show on Detroit Public Television will be familiar to the students, faculty and staff of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Herbert Smitherman Jr., M.D., assistant dean of Community and Urban Health, is the host of "OurHealth Urban," a 30-minute program on PBS outlet WTVS-TV.
Smitherman taped three pilot episodes, two of which aired Nov. 13 and 20. The third is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 27.
Each show breaks down a specific health concern, educating the audience via interviews with health experts, personal stories and on-location segments, and providing community health care information resources. It even identifies, by ZIP code, the effect of diseases such as diabetes on the urban community.
Click here to watch the debut episode about diabetes. More shows are expected in the coming months and producers hope to expand to other markets.
"That is our plan. We are looking for underwriters to work with us so we can run a full season," said Lillian Preston, executive producer. "That is our goal, to get health information out to urban areas across the country, and help people identify and find resources, and get access to care."
Preston, a former news producer and now president of OurHealth Media Network, created "Our Health Urban" to address the disproportionate rate of chronic disease, death and disability in urban communities like Detroit. The program has been in the works for more than a year. "The community needs this and we can't wait any longer," she said.
Preston has known Dr. Smitherman since 2001, and approached him to host.
"He's very good at breaking down information and relates to patients well. He brings the whole gamut into health care, and has all the experience needed," she said.
Dr. Smitherman, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, is considered a national expert on creating sustainable systems of care for urban communities. He spent more than two decades working in Detroit to develop urban-based primary care delivery systems. He was appointed to the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency Board in March, and serves as co-chairman of the $16.2 million "Fighting D in the D, text4health" initiative launched in February by the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community.
In June, Dr. Smitherman was invited to the White House to meet with United States Health and Human Services officials to discuss how health information technology can improve care quality and patient health.
"The number of people affected by diabetes and hypertension in Detroit is almost doubling each decade," he said in statement about the show. "Improving access to care, educating the public and our patients, and helping them better manage lifestyle choices are the most effective ways to address the broad disparities that exist within our city."
The show will feature healthy cooking segments, fitness tips and trivia to motivate positive change in a way that engages the audience, Preston said.
"We need to invest in the tools and resources people need to get healthy and stay healthy. It's really the only way to work toward effectively managing the chronic disease epidemic in this country and subsequently controlling rising costs of health care," Dr. Smitherman added.