Can medical empathy be taught? Helping medical and nursing students understand the value of human, emotional connections is the goal of the Standardized Patient program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. It pairs patient actors with students, and charges students with empathically delivering bad news to the actors.

We discuss the program and the value of empathy in medical settings. In studio:

  • Dr. Robert Horowitz, M.D., chief and professor of palliative care in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Marta Brewer, former Standardized Patient educator at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Julie Gissin, actor in the Standardized Patient program at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Nichole Roxas, URMC graduate and now psychiatry resident at Yale
  • Brett Dahlberg, health reporter and producer for WXXI News

Experts say Lyme disease is spreading, and as we’ve learned, so has to the controversy surrounding it. Mainstream medicine rejects the idea of chronic Lyme disease, and some doctors who speak out against it are harassed or even threatened. But patients who say they have chronic Lyme disease emphasize the treatment they’ve received from “Lyme literate” doctors helps.

So what does the science say? And how can humans protect themselves and their pets from Lyme disease? Our panel discusses it. Our guests:

  • Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg, M.D., professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at URMC
  • Dr. Jackie Walker, DVM, veterinarian and Churchville Veterinary Hospital
  • Marcie Kreydt, Lyme disease patient, and Southern Tier regional director for Camp Good Days in Special Times

Physicians are reacting to President Trump’s recent decision to appoint Dr. Mehmet Oz to his Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition. Many doctors and lawmakers across the country are criticizing the move, saying the celebrity doctor has promoted unscientific methods, discredited research, and “miracle” products on his program. He also faced backlash in 2012 for his episode on reparative therapy, which he claimed could turn gay people straight.

Oz tweeted that he’ll be advising the president on how to improve children’s health programs in school systems. Our guests discuss what the appointment could mean in the broad context, and the dangers of promoting pseudoscience. In studio:

  • Dr. Robert Cole, medical director for the Rochester Regional Health Primary Care and Ambulatory Specialties Institute
  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, pediatrician at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong

Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway are joining together to launch a new healthcare company. They may seem like strange bedfellows in the healthcare industry, but they think their partnership and ideas could help drive down the cost of care for their employees – about 950,000 people worldwide.

How will they do it? One option is offering telemedicine technology to providers. It’s a growing service that is already widely used in our area. So what will the future of healthcare look like – not only for the employees of these companies, but for all Americans? We talk about the impact of telemedicine and other innovative services, and how they could change the way you visit your doctor. Our guests:

  • Dr. Neil Herendeen, M.D., professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children's Hospital
  • Cynthia Gordon, director of telehealth services at Rochester Regional Health
  • Christopher Bell, executive director of the Monroe County Medical Society
  • Lois Irwin, president of EZaccessMD


Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein sparked a wave of headlines about vaccines when she praised vaccines, but then said that Americans no longer trust regulatory agencies that approve vaccines. Stein said that there are "real questions" about vaccines and vaccine schedules. She has been roundly condemned by doctors, but she's not the only presidential candidate to dispute the facts on vaccines (Donald Trump has, too.).

This month, the medical community is pushing vaccine awareness, urging everyone to understand the facts and the tremendous benefits of vaccines. Our guests discuss it:


Governor Cuomo and leaders in the Senate and Assembly say that have reached an agreement on a package of bills aimed at combating heroin and opioid abuse.

Among the many measures agreed to by lawmakers: limiting opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days, requiring insurance companies to cover more of the cost for rehab and recovery programs, as well as enhanced treatment services

One local doctor says that's a great start, but more should be done.

In this episode of Second Opinion LIVE, we focus on headaches: from migraines, to tension headaches, to stress headaches, and more. We discuss diagnosis and new treatments with our guests:

  • Lou Papa, M.D., primary care physician at Olsan Medical Group, and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Joseph Mann, M.D., physician at Greater Rochester Neurology, and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Check out these three recent headlines:

CBS News: Zika virus likely to spread to southern U.S.
NPR: Big Zika virus outbreak unlikely in the U.S.
Washington Post: Why the United States is so vulnerable to the alarming spread of Zika

Why the disparity? We welcome an infectious disease specialist from Brazil who is working with URMC physicians and scientists on disease studies. He has witnessed the Zika outbreak in Brazil and has treated pregnant women with the virus. Our guests:

  • Dr. Esper Kallas, infectious diseases specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Dr. John Treanor, chief of infectious diseases at UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital
  • Dr. Eva Pressman, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UR Medicine's Strong Memorial Hospital

In this episode of Second Opinion LIVE, we take an in-depth look at the pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals (supplements) that we are putting in our body. We discuss how we take them, if all are created equally, and if they are really making us healthier. Our guests:

  • Roger Oskvig, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and geriatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Lisa Kuras, PharmD, clinical staff pharmacist at Highland Hospital

Texas recently brought 100 top-level researchers to the state to search for cancer treatments. How did Texas poach talent from other places? A new state priority on research funding. And now an association of New York medical schools is asking our state to do the same.

Is this how we cure certain cancers, or triumph over diseases? It's possible: the schools argue that it's also how we create jobs and prevent other states from stealing our talented men and women. So how much should taxpayers contribute, and how does the process work? Our guests: