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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

The Doctor is In
Insights, Spring ’03

Dr. Winifred King ’77Lifetime Television’s Dr. Winifred King ’77 recalls herself as a shy and sheltered young woman when she began attending Montgomery College at 16, just after graduating from high school on an accelerated schedule. While the College was only a matter of miles from her family and her home in Wheaton, it was a world away from her experience of being a bookish and reserved young woman in high school. “I was a scared little 16 year old, but I was also fascinated by the freedom and opportunity to make my own choices,” says King, in a phone interview from Los Angeles in between tapings of Speaking of Women’s Health, a popular talk show she co-hosts on Lifetime Television. “Montgomery College gave me the platform from which to launch my dreams.”

An award-winning television journalist and doctor of emergency medicine, King is anything
but shy or retiring. Today, she has committed her career to relieving the physical and mental
pain of her patients and to educating the public about health issues. Her dream of helping
people, which she initially discovered while at Montgomery College, has kept her going
through the ups and downs of two stressful careers—medicine and broadcast journalism.
“ You need a clear vision of what you want to achieve and a game plan that you follow,”
she says of her success within both her professions. “When you are weary or obstacles arise, you need something to fall back on.”

Currently, King works as an emergency physician at Florida Hospital and lives with her husband of three years, John Fuld, an American history professor, in Orlando, Florida. In addition to co-hosting Speaking of Women’s Health, she is one of three experts who host a new “reality-based” talk show called What Should I Do, which was launched by Lifetime Television in April. The series focuses on how ordinary people handle traumatic experiences. It provides suggestions about what to do and what not to do in the event of such a situation. “The show is based on real-life situations that happened to real people and I am very excited about it, because it’s very informative,” she says.

King grew up in Wheaton within a family of educators; her mother was an elementary
school teacher and her father taught adult education. She is the eldest of two daughters.
She describes her family as “close knit” and says their conversations often centered around
subjects such as existentialism or literature. She says her decision to come to Montgomery College was mostly practical. Because of her young age, her family did not want her first
college experience to be at a large university. Her time spent at Montgomery College provided an opportunity to “figure out things” and to make some critical decisions.
She was initially interested in becoming a psychologist, but her family persuaded her to
consider psychiatry. However, a near fatal car accident—which occurred when she fell asleep at the wheel of her car, as a graduate student at Howard University Medical School—turned her life toward emergency medicine. “It put me in the role of patient, and I felt the pain and the fear, all the things a patient feels,” she recalls.

According to King, the idea of the all-knowing physician who snatches an ill patient from the
clutches of sickness is slowly being replaced by a more collaborative model, one that focuses more on patient knowledge and proactive measures to stay healthy. King’s own epiphany regarding the need for more patient education came in part from her near fatal accident and in part from her experience of having to face the surviving family members of patients who passed away in the emergency rooms where she worked. As a result of these experiences, she turned to journalism for a remedy.

“I felt that I wasn’t doing enough,” she recalls of her decision to get into the field. “I felt that
I needed to reach people sooner than when I saw them in the emergency room.” King accepted a job as a health reporter for WMAR TV (Channel 2) in Baltimore in 1990. There she reported on health issues and was utilized as an expert commentator on health issues. A series she did on emergency medicine earned her the American College of Emergency Physicians Journalism Award in 1992.

In 1993, she became a full-time journalist working as an editor for KCBS TV (Channel 2)
in Los Angeles, where her reporting won a Golden Mike Award. In 1997, the opportunity
she had been waiting for appeared when Orlando-based America’s Health Network began searching for talent for its new healthoriented programs. “My whole reason for doing news was to eventually do a talk show, so this was a perfect place for me,” says King, explaining her relocation to Florida. As for the future, King will devote the majority of her time caring for the patients who roll into her emergency room at Florida Hospital. In addition to her current broadcast projects, she is considering her own syndicated health oriented program for television and/or radio.

Her agent has also encouraged her to pursue her interest in singing. With a little chuckle,
she declares, “We have had the singing nun, but I am not sure primetime is ready for the
singing doctor.”