Second Opinion with Joan Lunden

(Rochester, NY) – Award-winning journalist Joan Lunden is now the host of WXXI's national healthcare series, Second Opinion – which is now Second Opinion with Joan Lunden. A trusted voice in American homes for more than 30 years, Lunden will engage a panel of medical professionals and lay people in honest, in-depth discussions about life-changing medical decisions. With a new host, a new look, and 10 new episodes taped during unprecedented times – the series premieres Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Produced by WXXI Public Media and the University of Rochester Medical Center, the new season was taped in September 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Abiding by state-mandated safety regulations, they were recorded with Lunden and two panelists in WXXI’s studio while two additional panelists joined them via video conferencing.

Appropriately, the premiere episode looks at Coronavirus with special guest Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Long before the World Health Organization announced the COVID-19 pandemic, coronaviruses had been making people sick in familiar ways, such as with the common cold. Dr. Fauci, along with Dr. Lou Papa, Dr. David Topham, and patient Dashauna Ballard discuss all coronaviruses including COVID-19.

Season 17 tackles a variety of health issues including: heart disease in women with author, TV personality, and American Heart Association National Volunteer Star Jones; racial disparities in health with Wade Norwood of Common Ground Health; conquering obesity with Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser; Alzheimer’s disease with talk show host and caregiver advocate Leeza Gibbons; and spouses of cancer patients with Lunden’s own husband Jeff Konigsberg and Second Opinion’s primary care physician Dr. Lou Papa and his wife, Susan. In each episode, a patient shares his/her story including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, while the primary care physicians and specialists use evidence-based medicine and research in a way that is understandable and engaging.

Second Opinion with Joan Lunden is a national multimedia health initiative that reaches an engaged audience through television, web, social media, and community and national outreach. Launched in 2004, its goal is to promote good health, improve doctor/patient communication, and empower viewers to take charge of their own healthcare, and in turn, help them navigate the medical system for better health outcomes. The series hosts a comprehensive web site,, where visitors can watch full episodes of the series and access medical information through searchable video, resources, and transcripts. Viewers can follow Second Opinion with Joan Lunden on Facebook at: secondopiniontv and YouTube at:

Second Opinion is made possible with support from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which has provided production funding for the health care series for more than 15 years. A national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies,  BCBSA is committed to improving the health of our local communities and providing health care insights through the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series, the national BCBS Health IndexSM and Second Opinion.

Second Opinion’s executive producer is Fiona Kay Willis and the series is distributed by American Public Television (APT).

Photo: Host Joan Lunden on set with Dr. Lou Papa and Executive producer Fiona Kay Willis.
Credit: Max Schulte



WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.