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    Katie Couric Makes Health Headlines

    The CBS Evening News anchor is committed to broadcasting her passion for prevention, new research, and resources.


    She says several factors have played a role in the switch: Managed care has forced patients to learn more about their health; the Internet has made it possible to learn about everything from tonsillitis to trauma; and the all-powerful baby boomers -- trying to defy the inevitable -- are doing whatever they can to combat aging to ensure that they have long, healthy, active lives.

    So it comes as little surprise that Couric's viewers -- an average 7.6 million a night -- are eating up the news about their health. According to a CBS Evening News staff member, the network receives thousands of positive emails after health installments on the broadcast, a clear testament to the value that viewers place on medical information. Among the health topics recently broadcast were the decline in cancer deaths, the new cervical cancer vaccine, brain health, supplements, and ways to beat the high cost of prescription drugs. And in March, Couric will introduce a three-part series called "Bedside Manner," which focuses on improving the communication between doctors and their patients.

    If Couric can make her viewers more aware of risks, educate them about warning signs, and persuade them to get screened and tested, then she is achieving her goal, she says.

    "I did a public service announcement once. It said: Don't end up saying 'If only.' Get tested," Couric says. "My husband was 41 when he got sick. He didn't even have a doctor. He thought -- like so many people his age -- that he was immortal. So my message is: You could be a statistic. And you don't have to be."

    Fighting Cancer Behind the Scenes

    After her husband's death, Couric used the connections she had made during her years in broadcasting to strengthen the fight against the nation's top two cancer killers -- lung and colorectal cancer. She teamed up with Lilly Tartikoff (whose husband, NBC President Brandon Tartikoff, died of Hodgkin's disease at age 48) and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the philanthropic heart of the entertainment industry, to form the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in 2000. The NCCRA has recruited the country's top minds in science and medicine to work together toward creating more effective, less invasive diagnostic screenings and, eventually, finding a cure.

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