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Former GMA host Joan Lunden to host WXXI TV's Second Opinion health series

Daphne Youree

Award-winning journalist, bestselling author, and women's health & wellness advocate, Joan Lunden, has been named host of Second Opinion, public television’s Emmy-nominated national healthcare series.

Produced by WXXI Public Media, in partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center, the weekly television program engages viewers across the country as they watch doctors and patients talk through a variety of health issues. With Lunden as the new host, the series will now be called Second Opinion with Joan Lunden.

“As one of America’s most recognized and trusted personalities, Joan exemplifies Second Opinion’s mission in providing highly credible health information to our audience,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “With Joan as the new host, and the heightened interest in healthcare, Second Opinion with Joan Lunden is the right show at the right time for public television stations across the country,” he said.

For nearly two decades, Lunden greeted viewers each morning on Good Morning America, bringing insight to the day’s top stories. As the longest-running female host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered five presidents, five Olympics, and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families, and their health. As host of Second Opinion with Joan Lunden, she will draw from her years of experience as she guides medical professionals and lay people in honest, in-depth discussions about life-changing medical decisions. Season 17, with ten episodes, is slated to debut in February 2021, airing in 90% of the country.

“It is my absolute pleasure to be joining the team at Second Opinion which has been enlightening viewers on health issues for sixteen years,” said Lunden. “I’d always imagined I’d follow in my father’s footsteps, a cancer surgeon who was dedicated to his patients’ wellbeing.  While I did not become a doctor, as a broadcaster and health advocate, I have had a lifetime opportunity to educate and empower others to better control their health and longevity.  I look forward to becoming a part of the PBS family!”

Lunden has served as national spokesperson for various organizations such as The American Heart Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The American Lung Association, The American Red Cross, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The Colon Cancer Alliance.  

Second Opinion is a national multimedia health initiative that reaches an engaged audience through television, web, social media, and community and national outreach. Launched in 2004, its goal is to promote good health, improve doctor/patient communication and empower viewers to take charge of their own healthcare, and in turn, help them navigate the medical system for better health outcomes. The series hosts a comprehensive web site, and a robust social media following.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.