Media Contact: Ruth Cummins
NOTE: This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of CONSULT, UMMC's monthly electronic newsletter. To have CONSULT, and more stories like this, delivered directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.
Five University of Mississippi Medical Center experts offer fresh, frank and sometimes funny discussions on current health topics every weekday on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
From 11 a.m. to noon, they can be heard on MPB Think Radio’s “Southern Remedy,” the network’s flagship wellness program. They’re led by Dr. Rick deShazo, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor and professor of medicine and pediatrics.
If there's a remedy for what ails you, deShazo will prepare a good-sized dose every Wednesday – but not before he delivers a primer on your health dilemma.
So will Dr. Jimmy Stewart on Thursdays and Dr. Michelle Owens on Fridays. Add to the mix Dr. Susan Buttross on Tuesdays and Dr. Josie Bidwell on Mondays.
“We focus on health literacy and individual needs,” said deShazo, the original Southern Remedy radio host dating back to 2004. “We do have a general topic for each show, but it's not a talk show. We let the audience drive it.”
Southern Remedy's all-star lineup is anchored by deShazo, who covers “General Health,” a topic so broad that deShazo knows to expect the unexpected.
“I remember one caller telling me, 'Dr. Rick, it sounds like you've had every disease you can have, including women's diseases,'” he said.
Bidwell, associate professor of nursing, presents “Healthy and Fit.” The show addresses any aspect of health promotion and disease prevention, she said.
“We try to look at the problems facing our state and address them in real-life, practical ways,” said Bidwell, a nurse practitioner. “I always start my show by introducing a topic and how it connects to the larger picture of overall health and wellness.”
Buttross, professor of pediatrics and child development, uses her broad expertise to explore child and family relationships during “Relatively Speaking.”
“We discuss anything from children with autism or ADHD or dyslexia all the way up to blended families and divorce,” Buttross said. “We've had shows on hoarding and we talk about mood disorders. It's just anything that can affect the family and family relationships.”
Stewart, professor of internal medicine and pediatrics with a focus on hypertension, covers the sometimes tumultuous child and adolescent years in his “Kid and Teen Health” segment.
“Pediatrics is one of those areas that gets overlooked, and there are specific things in pediatrics that are handled a lot differently than in the adult population,” he said. “We get a lot of questions about medications that kids are taking for chronic conditions, and immunization is a hot topic – why we immunize, and the possible side effects.”
And Owens, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, calls on her passion for improving the health status of all Mississippians, especially women and girls, in “Women's Health.”
“We give women's perspectives on issues that might affect them, such as gynecological or obstetrical women's health,” Owens said. “But our show isn't just that. Women also have heart disease and hypertension and diabetes.”
deShazo and the other hosts generally choose an opening topic and often pair it with a guest expert, but the callers are king when it comes to the questions.
“Our most repetitive question is about toenail fungus,” deShazo said. “We get a lot of coded questions about sex. They won't come out and tell us they have a sex question, or an STD. We have to read between the lines.”
For one particular show, deShazo invited Dr. Ross Thurmond, a UMMC cardiology resident, to be his guest. Their topic: the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease linked to severe brain damage in the babies of women who were pregnant when bitten, or who became pregnant soon after.
“That's the great thing,” deShazo said. “We can bring on specialists for anything that's hot.”
The hosts say their blend of chemistry, respect for each other and individual approach to health problems is good for listeners. That's not to say their philosophies always match.
Try as they might, sometimes they feel like they've failed a caller.
“We were talking about loss on one show, and a sweet gentleman called in,” Buttross said. “He had lost his wife and was very sad, even though she died several years ago. I started giving him ways he could deal with his grief, including thinking about the positive times.
“He said that wouldn't really work for him. I told him that sometimes, just talking to other individuals about a loss really makes a difference. He said that wouldn't work.
“I talked to him about counseling. He'd already done that. I said that maybe he could journal his thoughts and feelings, and that sometimes getting it out of your mind and body is helpful. He told me that wouldn't work, either.
“I finally told him, 'Sir, I am sorry for your loss.' I could only hope that his talking about his feelings was helpful. Sometimes, just getting your thoughts out is therapeutic.”
But broadly speaking, deShazo said the hosts have a tremendous reach.
“Each of the shows have now found their audiences, and they are making a greater impact delivering service and value to listeners,” said Jason Klein, MPB’s director of radio.
To listen live to “Southern Remedy,” visit www.mpbonline.org/programs/radio/listen-live/.
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