Holly Atkinson

Senior On-Air Medical Correspondent and Chief of Medical Affairs for HealthiNation

Holly Atkinson
  • Medical correspondent with previous assignments for NBC, CBS, and PBS
  • Former President of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights
  • Helps audiences unlock the secrets of Optimal Health
  • Guides consumers and practitioners alike through today’s healthcare challenges

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Professional Experience. Dr. Holly Atkinson is clinical professor and medical student advisor at the CUNY School of Medicine in New York. She is also assistant clinical professor of Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Prior to joining the faculty at CUNY, Dr. Atkinson was at Mount Sinai for 10 years, where she was director of the human rights program. In that capacity, Dr. Atkinson founded and directed the Mount Sinai Human Rights Clinic, where asylum seekers who have suffered torture, human trafficking, and other human rights violations are medically evaluated. 

Dr. Atkinson has a broad background in human rights, having served on the board of directors of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, Physicians for Human Rights, for more than 16 years, including four years as president. She now serves as an expert medical advisor to the organization and is a member of PHR’s asylum network.

Dr. Atkinson brings a unique blend of experience and skill to her work—She has medical expertise, business acumen, media savvy, and editorial proficiency. She has degrees in both medicine and journalism, and broad international business experience. She has worked in print, broadcast television and web-based technologies for both the medical professional and consumer audiences.

Education&  Affiliations. Dr. Atkinson graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in biology from Colgate University. She has an MD from the University of Rochester and an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the AOA Honor Medical Society, the American Public Health Association, and the American Medical Women’s Association, where she helped launch AMWA’s Physicians Against Human Trafficking initiative. Dr. Atkinson is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Recent Work. Today, Dr. Atkinson’s works with medical students and young physicians to inspire them to become change agents and address the health disparities and social injustice that confronts us on a daily basis. Her research focuses on documenting the linkages between the human rights violations and health outcomes, especially as it applies to the well-being of women and girls. She has conducted research in several countries around the world, including most recently Bahrain and Burma. Dr. Atkinson also has extensive experience as a medical correspondent, including assignments with NBC’s Today show, The CBS Morning News, Lifetime Medical Television, the PBS health show, BodyWatch, and most recently, HealthiNation. She was founding editor of HealthNews, the consumer health newsletter of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), publisher of The New England Journal of Medicine, where she remained at the helm for more than 12 years.

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The 5 Keys To Optimal Health.
"Good Health" doesn't just consist of the lack of illness and being in good physical shape. Optimal health is only achieved when an individual maximizes five critical dimensions in her or his life. Dr. Atkinson explores these five dimensions of optimal well being, offering practical advice from recent medical research mixed with pearls of wisdom handed down through the ages for improving one's emotional, social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual well being. "The Five Keys" is down-to-earth, warm, funny, and inspirational with loads of take home messages for both sexes and all ages.

Consumers: Their Wish, It's Your Command.
The consumer revolution continues to alter the healthcare landscape. In her presentation, Dr. Holly Atkinson explores the major consumer trends in the marketplace, describes the impact these trends are having on the practice and delivery of healthcare, and discusses the impact consumers' wishes should have on healthcare organizations. Healthcare executives and clinicians have given this speech rave reviews because Dr. Atkinson is insightful in her criticism, funny in her presentation, and inspirational about the possibilities for change.

Breast Health & Wellness.
With breast cancer one of the leading cancer killers of women, it especially important for today's women to understand breast health and wellness. Dr. Atkinson gives an information and delightful talk on the female breast and how to take care of it! The audience will learn about the normal anatomy and physiology of the breast (who ever taught us?), the signs and symptoms of common conditions and diseases of the breast and warning signs of breast cancer. Most importantly, the audience will learn how to maintain good breast health, gain an appreciation of self-exam, clinical examination, and mammography, and learn what steps to take if they note any changes.

Medicine & The Media.
With over 20 years of experience as a medical journalist, Dr. Holly Atkinson gives a fascinating talk on medicine and the media. She explores the challenges that consumers face today in sorting through the glut of medical information reported by the nation's press. One week the headlines rave about the benefits of antioxidant vitamins; the next week these vitamins are panned. Should you eat butter or margarine, which is best? So, how much exercise do you really need? Should any menopausal woman ever take estrogen? Dr. Atkinson gives practical tips on how to read the medical news and sort through the clutter, and in the process, gives answers to many of burning questions that the health conscious audience is dying to ask.

Best Medical Treatments For Women.
For decades, the medical establishment ignored many diseases of women, conducted medical experiments with only male subjects, and virtually failed to recognize the role of gender in healthcare. In this speech, Dr. Atkinson brings the audience up to date on the latest in women's health: what's hot, what's not, what's controversial, and what questions women need to ask their doctors. In the question and answer period that follows, she fields questions about the best medical treatments for women, for menopause, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, weight loss, and whether or not vitamins are the secret of good health. Not to be missed.

Women & Fatigue.
Dr. Atkinson wrote what's now considered the definitive book on the subject. After 15 years, women and fatigue is still going strong, and Dr. Atkinson is still getting standing ovations from audiences when she delivers this incredibly inspirational speech. Fatigue is a very real problem for women that, too often, families and physicians fail to take seriously. Dr. Atkinson stressesto the great relief of womenthat fatigue is never a figment of their imagination. Most of time, there are several causes of a woman's fatigue and the good news is that something can be done about all of them. Dr. Atkinson shares with the audience the major energy drainers and major energy boosters, and gives countless practical tips on how to tip the balance in favor of the boosters. Every woman will come away from this speech having laughed a lot, and learned a lot not only about how to conquer her fatigue, but how to enhance her life.

Conquering Heart Disease.
Although we've made significant inroads against heart disease in the last 25 years, it is still the leading killer of American men and women. Dr. Atkinson shares with the audience the latest facts about heart disease, practical advice about diet and exercise, and ways to manage stress and anger. This presentation can be specifically tailored to women, who still too often believe that only men have heart attacks. In the women-only event, Dr. Atkinson focuses on the role that estrogen plays in protecting a woman's heart, and what we've learned about hormone replacement therapy from the Women's Health Initiative Study. This presentation will be followed by a very lively question and answer period.

Health & The Internet.
A decade into explosion of thousands of health website, the Internet still promises to radically shape and reshape the healthcare system where generations of politicians have failed. The Web continues to empower patients today in a way that will lead to significant shifts in how healthcare is practiced and delivered. Information, education, chat forums, support groups, drugs on line, Q and A's with your doctor, advise, purchasing healthcare goods-all this instantaneously at your fingertips. In this speech, Dr. Atkinson explores the world of health on the web and explains how it is continuing to revolutionize the healthcare system. She delivers this speech for both a consumer and a business audience.

Health & Human Rights.
As we enter the 21st century, the belief in human rights as fundamental to life everywhere on the globe has taken center stage. Violations of human rights have a particularly devastating effect on people's mental and physical health. As President of the non-profit group, Physicians for Human Rights, Dr. Atkinson gives a fascinating talk on the intersection of health and human rights. She argues passionately that by protecting and promoting human rights both home and abroad, we can have a major impact on protecting and promoting health: our own health, the health of our children and the health and well-being of our planet. Promoting human rights is not just luxury, but a necessity that is in our own best interest. Dr. Atkinson delivers this presentation for college audiences, business audiences, and health care professionals.

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