Ann Curry helps med­i­cal pa­tients in ‘Chas­ing the Cure’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

If a meet­ing be­tween a patient and doc­tors on live tele­vi­sion can have a suc­cess­ful re­sult, Ann Curry wants to get it done.

The Emmy-win­ning news cor­re­spon­dent, for­mer “To­day” co-an­chor and re­cent “We’ll Meet Again” host fo­cuses on med­i­cal mat­ters as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and the an­chor of “Chas­ing the Cure,” which TBS and TNT both pre­miere Thurs­day, Aug. 8. The 90-minute episodes tackle real-life mys­ter­ies as peo­ple whose ail­ments have been un­solved, un­di­ag­nosed or mis­di­ag­nosed seek help from ex­perts in real time, with so­cial me­dia and a ded­i­cated web­site (Chas­ingTheCure­Live.com) also as ma­jor com­po­nents.

In an interview for this ar­ti­cle, Curry dis­cussed the series.

Q: What is your over­all approach to do­ing “Chas­ing the Cure”?

A: It’s all about find­ing a new way of con­nect­ing peo­ple with top doc­tors through­out the coun­try. Most of that will be hap­pen­ing on­line, where our web­site will be manned and wom­anned 24/7, then we will high­light cases for 10 weeks over 90 min­utes – and see if we can punch a hole in what keeps peo­ple from get­ting all the in­for­ma­tion they need to live bet­ter, longer lives.

Q: How are you find­ing the med­i­cal com­mu­nity’s gen­eral re­ac­tion to this?

A: We can’t op­er­ate un­less we’re well-em­braced by the med­i­cal com­mu­nity, and their ini­tial con­cern was the same con­cern I had as a jour­nal­ist ... “What are the stan­dards that we’re go­ing to op­er­ate un­der?,” com­bin­ing the tal­ents of TV creators, jour­nal­ists and tech­nol­o­gists with medicine. What are the pri­or­i­ties? The first re­sponse was to pro­ceed with cau­tion, which speaks to how re­spon­si­ble we want our doc­tors to be. We did di­rect out­reach to them, and they weren’t easy to find, be­cause they weren’t look­ing to be on tele­vi­sion.

The re­sponse now is that doc­tors, nurses and pro­fes­sors of medicine are say­ing, “Thank goodness you’re do­ing this.” I think ev­ery­body rec­og­nizes that some­thing has to hap­pen to al­low more peo­ple into the fold. The best physi­cians will ac­knowl­edge that there are just too many ways that peo­ple are left be­hind, so what we’re get­ting now about this is a lot of ex­cite­ment.

Q: You’ve been so­lic­it­ing the pub­lic’s sto­ries for “Chas­ing the Cure” via on-air ads and the show’s web­site. What have you found the re­sponse to be?

A: It’s been sig­nif­i­cant. In fact, we’re a lit­tle worried, be­cause it might ex­ceed our ex­pec­ta­tions. Even when this was just an idea, peo­ple were sub­mit­ting things. It’s re­mark­able how many of us know some­one who is strug­gling med­i­cally and is strug­gling to get a di­ag­no­sis. We’ve re­ally tried to open our arms as wide as we can and do what we can for what we un­der­stand are mil­lions of peo­ple.

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