Can't pluck the name of "America's doctor" out of your mental hat? Don't beat yourself up. Few Americans probably can. (No, it's not C. Everett Koop.) But ask us to name a celebrity doc and the names just seem to roll off the tongue: Dr. Oz, Andrew Weil, Dr. Phil...
Writer Marni Jameson takes a look at this phenomenon in the most recent Los Angeles Times Health section. She notes:
"Fame alone seems enough to make many Americans trust their health and relationships to men and women they've never met. Unlike just a decade ago, when television and books were the only way these media doctors reached us, we now have multiple channels of media serving them up — there's no avoiding them. And our growing appetite for health and wellness information fuels our addiction to their advice." Read the full story: The cult of celebrity doctors
Sure, they're articulate and, appearances would suggest, wise and trustworthy. But our trust in them might say more about us -- and today's society -- than it does about the docs.
The current surgeon general is Dr. Regina Benjamin, by the way. (This L.A. Times story of a couple years back offers a bit of background on the job: Why the surgeon general wears a spiffy uniform -- and more)
We won't even bother with the "name the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services" challenge. It's Kathleen Sebelius.
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Dr. Regina Benjamin, known by some Americans as the U.S. surgeon general.
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