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Snyderman to join NBC as chief medical editor

Former ABC correspondent says being needed ‘is a real kick’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a former ABC News medical correspondent who spent the past four years in the corporate world, is returning to the airwaves as NBC News' chief medical editor, the network told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"I see the world differently," said Snyderman, who since late 2002 has been consumer education vice president for Johnson & Johnson. "I see a very big sweet spot for health and wellness coverage" — the sort of coverage she doesn't find on TV newscasts.

"My bias is, that doctors understand a broad range of medical issues. Why there aren't more physician-communicators, I don't know."

Explaining her decision to come to NBC, she told the AP, "To fill a void, and be wanted and needed, is a real kick."

Snyderman will report for broadcast-news programming as well as MSNBC's cable and Web site outlets, NBC News radio and even NBC Mobile and the iVillage Web site. She begins in September.

"But we're not going to emphasize headline-of-the-day coverage," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "She's interested in getting a little bit deeper and expanding the audience's knowledge.

"She's warm, has a reassuring presence, and she's driven by the desire to share information, not just to be on television," he said.

From 1987 to 2002, Snyderman was a medical correspondent for ABC News, where she also served as a "Good Morning America" substitute co-host. Last year she stepped back in to help ABC cover the Asian tsunami disaster and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Her long tenure at ABC was marred by a week's suspension without pay in 2002 for making a radio spot that seemed to tout a pain reliever.

"It was a misstep," Snyderman acknowledged. "I did what I believed were PSAs (public service announcements), and they were coupled with an advertisement. I know how it looked."

Married and the mother of three children, the 54-year-old St. Louis native attended medical school at the University of Nebraska and continued with residencies in pediatrics and ear, nose and throat surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of three books and writes a monthly column for Good Housekeeping magazine.

In the past she had a practice in head and neck surgery, and is now on staff in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I always said I would never give up my ‘day job' as a doctor," she explained.

She said her Johnson & Johnson stint was satisfying. There she led an initiative to inform the public about health and medicine.

Working for the pharmaceutical giant gave her "a whole new perspective in the role that corporations play in the health sector," Snyderman said. "I peeked behind the curtain, and I believe it's made me a smarter consumer, and that it will make me a better reporter."