This week's Newsweek cover story is a harsh and lengthy attack on Oprah and her ever-expanding health care advocacy choices. The article questions the legitimacy of her choices and points out that some of her doctors and “experts” are far out of the medical mainstream.
I have never been on the Oprah Show, but last winter I was interviewed by Oprah's main doctor Mehmet Oz on his satellite radio show. Patients and e-mails flooded my office for months. This spring I was quoted in Oprah’s magazine as they interviewed one of my patients about bioidentical hormones. I learned first hand the power of Oprah and the success she brings to everyone she touches.
At times while watching her shows and reading about her choices of experts I wondered about the lack of balance. I even wrote to her producers when I realized by watching her that her thyroid was badly treated and I knew she was not getting good advice.
When she talked about bioidentical hormones I was thrilled. Her choice of experts and spokeswoman for the hormones, Suzanne Somers, left me cold. But it was Oprah who opened the door to bringing bioidenticals to the mainstream so I applauded her effort. When I gave my lecture on bioidentical hormones at Harvard in February 2, 2009, the first slide I showed was the one of Oprah with Suzanne Somers.
I asked the chairman of the department of ob-gyn, Isaac Schiff, MD and the rest of the physicians in the audience, “ How come Suzanne Somers and Oprah are the ones to teach the public about bioidentical hormones? What has the medical profession done with the information of the Women’s Health Initiative study? Nine years later and women are still suffering and the medical establishment has not stepped up to the plate to help women find safe solutions to menopausal symptoms. Why are bioidentical hormones still controversial?” They had no answers.
Oprah did. She did what no conventional media or conventional medicine has done. She has stepped up to the plate. She has given the public the missing information. Instead of indoctrinating us with the party line, Oprah has opened the door to other options. And the public has spoken. Oprah is their leader, not the American Medical Association.
Granted, Oprah may not have always chosen the best “experts” or figured how to provide a balanced view of their opinions. But then, who does? At least she has had the courage to bring to the public new ways of looking at health and has sparked interest in options that others would like kept under wraps. Don’t let the naysayers stop progress!