Helping to make Rochester a healthier community

Though WXXI is known for many things – balanced news coverage, engaging educational programs, dedication to the arts – one of the efforts I’m most proud of is WXXI’s commitment to making Rochester a healthier community. In early 2007, we invited community health leaders to discuss how public media could be better used to increase the wellness of our region. Thirty agencies participated, stating how crucial WXXI was to the community attaining its health goals, especially to underserved audiences. After hearing this, we knew we had to step-up our work in the health area, which lead to the launch of WXXI’s Healthy You initiative.

With our national television health series Second Opinion, monthly radio program Healthy Friday, and outreach activities such as Get the Lead Out, Raising 100,000 Voices and Speaking of Women’s Health, we already had a solid foundation. Choosing one of the community’s most pressing health issues, childhood obesity, WXXI applied for and won a grant from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB) to help address this concern.

This grant has enabled us to do many things to help our community fight childhood obesity, including hosting a televised forum to address the issue. Healthy You: A Community Forum on Child Obesity and Child Health will air this Sunday (11/21) at 2:00 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD, and will be led by a panel of experts including: Dr. Stephen Cook, University of Rochester Medical Center; Bonney DeVinney, Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Greater Rochester Health Foundation; Dr. Lisa Harris, Pediatric Internist; Wade Norwood, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and member of the New York Board of Regents; Jennifer Carr, parent; Gladys Burgos, Rochester City School District, and Anne Kern, Monroe County Health Department (in addition to a live studio audience). We believe that the questions raised will provide answers that the entire community can benefit from. You can submit a question of your own to our panelists before the broadcast by visiting our Healthy You Facebook page.

This is the second of two televised forums that WXXI will host as part of its Healthy You initiative. WXXI's first forum on childhood obesity aired on WXXI-TV and partner station WSKG-TV (Binghamton) in February 2010, and is available to view online here. The second forum will be available to view online after the broadcast date on WXXI’s Healthy You page.

I hope you will join us for this discussion. Please let your family and friends, who may have an interest in the topic, know as well. It is our goal to not only educate and inform viewers about childhood obesity, but to bring the community together and discover what we can do to help confront and deal with this issue.