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Personalities: Television Mogul, Prevention Advocate

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As president and chief executive officer of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Peter O. Price is more accustomed to laying out the Emmy Awards red carpet than waving red flags about the state of American healthcare. Nevertheless, Price is the new nonexecutive chair of the media group at U.S. Preventive Medicine, a privately held company that seeks to partner with local hospitals and physician groups to develop exclusive, branded Centers for Preventive Medicine.

On prevention’s short shrift: As a country, we’ve been focusing on the patchwork system of treating sick people and how we give them better access to medicine to get them well. Of course you have to do that, but that doesn’t solve the underlying problem. We’re being forced to take some serious steps in dealing with an aging population. We have to help all those aging people have more good years to reduce the strain on the system. The way to do that is not just through better medicine—it’s through education and prevention.

On getting providers to focus on prevention: One can, as government officials tend to do, make wide pronouncements and encourage people to do certain things to improve their health before conditions become critical, but everything’s local. Unless you can bring prevention access and education drilled down to the consumer at some quality institution nearby, it’s just rhetoric.

On his media expertise: The most important impactful message you can make is through video. We have to take the wide power of television and join it with local media and things like YouTube to drill the message down into each community. With this venture, my career experience in media is more important than my day job, which is running the Emmy Awards.

On his most recent healthcare experience: That would be my annual physical. Iy [Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, host of Sunday House Calls on Fox News], my physician, would be the first to say the annual physical is comforting to the individual and makes your provider feel like you’re taking care of yourself, but is by no means sufficient to really guide someone in a preventive culture. Most citizens don’t have access to high-powered docs and aren’t thinking prevention like I am. And my way of thinking is really modest compared to some of the things I should be doing.

—Philip Betbeze