University of Arizona

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Prescription for Health

Still from the episode "Animal Bites and Stings," from the Pima County Medical Society TV program Prescription for Health, 1995

Originally a radio program (1980-1990), Prescription for Health also became a cable television program created by the Pima County Medical Society (PCMS). This public access program focused on providing in-depth medical information on a broad range of topics of interest to the general public. At least 284 episodes (and perhaps as many as 320) were produced from 1983 to 1997.

The enduring value of Prescription for Health is not the medical information that is conveyed, but rather the historical glimpse this program provides into the community's health concerns at the time and the opportunity to see and hear hundreds of Tucson physicians responding to those concerns using a newly available medium -- public access cable television.

Local physicians and other medical professionals were the expert guest speakers. Occasionally lay persons, such as patients or high school students, were also program guests. With only a few exceptions Ronald P. Spark MD was the program's host and Constance "Connie" D. Wry was the producer for each of the 30-minute episodes.

Anatomical models and other props were sometimes used by guest speakers and occasionally the program left the studio and was shot on location in an operating room, in a patient's home or out-of-doors. While most episodes were in English, approximately two dozen were done in Spanish or bilingually in Spanish and English.

The 218 episodes made available via the Arizona Memory Project represent approximately 75% of the 284 known Prescription for Health episodes. For many of the other 66 episodes there is an extant tape, but the tape is in poor to very poor condition.

Videotapes of the Prescription for Health episodes were provided by the Pima County Medical Society, Access Tucson and by Ronald P. Spark MD. Tapes were digitized by AHSC Biomedical Communications. Metadata were compiled by Azul Gómez, Bruce Chandler and Lisa Aguilera. The editor of this digital collection is Dave Piper, Digital Resources and Special Collections Librarian, Arizona Health Sciences Library.

DISCLAIMER: The Prescription for Health programs in this collection are presented for historical purposes only. In many cases the programs no longer reflect current medical thinking or practice. Consult your medical professional before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.