What Am I Doing At The Dr. Oz Show??

I’m currently in NYC doing a research rotation with the Doctor Oz show for 4 weeks. I’ve been getting a lot of questions and DMs on Instagram about it, so I figured I’d answer the most frequently asked questions here!

What exactly do you do?

I work with the Medical Unit on the show as a medical student researcher. The Medical Unit consists of a supervising MD, a  Medical producer, and 2-3 full time medical student producers who’ve taken a year off after their 3rd year of medical school to work for the show. Then there’s me and the other 1 month medical student researchers who rotate for 4 weeks as an elective. The job of the Medical Unit is to vet scripts for medical accuracy. We work closely with the producers on the show to fact check any medical or scientific claims made in the scripts. The full-time interns also brief Dr. Oz before taping and answer any questions he may have.  I can’t speak on some of the segments I’ve worked on so far since they haven’t aired yet, but I’ve researched everything from whether hot chips cause ulcers to which brands of yogurt are the healthiest.

How did you hear about this opportunity?

I heard about this opportunity through a Facebook page with other medical professionals and students of color. I’m really passionate about medicine and media (hence this blog), so it was right up my alley! I simply Googled “Dr. Oz medicals student rotation” and the rest is history. There wasn’t a lot of information available about the rotation, but I found the contact info for the show’s Medical Producer through another school’s website and reached out. If you’re interested in doing a research rotation at the Dr. Oz show, reach out to jfirger@zoco.com. Make sure your school approves the elective first.

What is a typical day like for you?

The day starts around 9 am. What I do varies from day to day. Sometimes I come in and continue researching what I was working on the day before. Other times the Medical Producer may have some special projects that she needs help on. For example, I’ve been asked to come up with trivia questions Dr. Oz can ask when he makes a guest appearance on another TV show. Sometimes he’s referenced in magazines, so I fact check his health advice. I’ve even written some posts for the website.

The rest of the day can include pitch meetings where we get to pitch ideas for future segments and meetings with producers to go through their scripts and make sure they’re medically and scientifically accurate. Some days we even do field research and go out to stores to research different products which we might test out in future experiments.

On filming days, I sometimes accompany the full time interns to the studio to fact check additional last minute information that may be added when guests go off script. Being on set is pretty cool, and I’ve learned a lot about TV production just watching the crew. The best part is sometimes meeting celebrity guests..

Are you actually getting school credit for this?

Yes, I’m getting credit for this as an independent research rotation. I had to fight a little bit to get it approved, but I’m grateful my school was able to accommodate my outside interest.  If you’re passionate about something, speak up.

Are you getting paid?

No, month long interns don’t get paid. The one-year full time position is paid, however.

Is Doctor Oz a real doctor?

Are you people trying to get me sued????? Haha, but yes Dr. Oz  is a cardiothoracic surgeon. He’s really friendly!

Are you going to be on TV?

My role is more behind the scenes doing research, but the full time interns get some TV time! So if you’re looking to make your grand TV debut, you can go that route lol.

What’s your impression so far?

I’ll elaborate more in a future blog post, but I’m loving this rotation so far. It’s hard work, but a breath of fresh air to observe how medical and scientific information are adapted for TV. This experience has shown me the importance of staying up to date on the latest research and being aware of what the general public is interested in, in regard to health and wellness.

Judy Oranika