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Speaking with

RAMÓN SÁNCHEZ-OCAÑA, JOURNALIST SPECIALISED IN HEALTH ISSUES

14th January 2013 0

“For good communication, it is necessary to put yourself in the patient’s shoes”

Ramón Sánchez-Ocaña has dedicated most of his professional career to bringing basic knowledge on preventive medicine to the general public, with the ability to translate technical jargon to a more understandable language for all.

Most people will recognise you because of the program Más Vale Prevenir (Better Safe..), that you presented on television. How did you become specialised in health issues?

It was circumstantial. I am a journalist, and when I came to Madrid I was a “broad spectrum” professional. I started working for the Informaciones (Information) newspaper, and one of the sections that interested me was the so-called “Science and Technology” section. From there, I also started to work for the Tribuna Médica (Medical Tribune) magazine, of which I later became the head writer and director. I became specialised without hardly even meaning to.

When faced with a new project, do you count on the help and collaboration of any medical specialists?

I always approach leading professionals, and I must thank them for their generous and anonymous help. To make the script of a programme like Más Vale Prevenir, knowing the topic is not enough. You need to talk to a specialist, who can give you details, anecdotes, what people normally ask, what concerns them… Because on a show, you cannot give a lesson, but rather provide important information and garnish it with whatever hits close to home.

How can we treat communication and make it accessible and rigorous in the pharmacy?

I think there is only one way: always put yourself in the shoes of who is receiving the information. The problem is that on TV your audience is not homogenous. And, in speaking about health, the audience is particularly interested. I achieved this by using one very practical exercise: to pretend I was speaking to my daughter.

When do we have to start preventing?

I think that prevention, more than being an application of specific rules in a particular moment, is a way of looking at things, a way of living. And it must start early on with good dental hygiene, with good eating habits, with regular exercise…

How does diet affect our health?

I believe health to have three basic pillars: healthy habits, physical exercise and a proper diet which adequately combines the immediate principles: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. But in the right proportion: few animal fats, abundant fruits and vegetables, legumes and less meat.

How important is oral hygiene in our daily care?

I think it is very important, because people tend to neglect their mouths. And this is why over the years we suffer the consequences. It seems incredible that what brings us to the dentist is  not regular check-ups, but rather pain. I understood from a very early age: my father and my older brother were dentists. And two of my nephews are following in their footsteps…

 
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