DR. SANJAY GUPTA
Today he writes a regular column for Time, appears on his own half-hour medical show and appears frequently on "Larry King Live" and " Anderson Cooper 360." His recognition factor helped put him on President Obama's shortlist for surgeon general, though Gupta took himself out of the running, citing family and career commitments. He's written bestsellers "Chasing Life" and "Cheating Death."
Generally respected for his medical news reports, he was criticized for his coverage in Haiti, where he treated a 15-day-old baby on camera whose " head injury" really only required simple first aid. Others have criticized his endorsement of Merck's cervical cancer vaccine Gardisil because of financial ties between CNN and Merck.
Credentials: A practicing neurosurgeon at Emory University Medical Center and Grady Memorial Hospital, both in Atlanta, he is also an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Gupta received both his bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences and his medical degree from the University of Michigan, completing the latter in 1993.
Quote: "Eating, not smoking, is becoming the leading cause of preventable death."
DR. ATUL GAWANDE
Claim to fame: An accomplished writer and surgeon, Gawande may be the only person who has ever held simultaneous staff positions at a top hospital and at the New Yorker. His pieces on life as a surgical resident, which he published in a friend's online magazine, caught the eye of a New Yorker editor in the mid-1990s. He joined the New Yorker staff in 1998. His thoughtful, self-deprecating pieces cover a broad range of topics, such as physician behavior, gaps in the healthcare system, reform and related politics. He is also the author of three bestselling books, "Complications," "Better" and, most recently, "The Checklist Manifesto."
Most media experts say he's in a league of his own, and has earned the respect, if not the fame, the others wish they had.
Credentials: A general and endocrine surgeon, Dr. Gawande is on staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He also serves as associate director of the school's Center for Surgery and Public Health, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University; his master's degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University; his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, in 1995; and his master's degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health.
Quote: "Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try."
Claim to fame: Another of Oprah Winfrey's anointed, McGraw, who hails from Texas, counseled Winfrey while she was the defendant in a Texas lawsuit brought by the cattle industry for a flip remark she made about beef. Impressed with his direct, no-nonsense style, she invited the psychologist to appear on her show in 1998. He soon became a regular, passing out hard-hitting relationship advice to an audience who couldn't get enough of his tough-love recipes.
In 2002, he began hosting his own TV talk show, " Dr. Phil," produced by Winfrey's production company. There he dispatches philosophical sound bites, such as, "You're only lonely if you're not there for you," and "The most you get is what you ask for." His bestselling books include "Life Strategies" and "Family First."
When he began marketing a line of weight loss products, critics claimed that he lacked the medical credential to recommend the products. After an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission, he pulled his weight loss products off the market in 2004 and later settled a class-action lawsuit brought against him for the claims. Some in the field of psychotherapy think his one-size-fits-all advice is too simplistic and is potentially harmful, particularly when audiences extrapolate advice to their own life.
Credentials: McGraw earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Midwestern State University in 1975 and both his master's degree in experimental psychology and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas, completing the latter in 1979. He let his license to practice psychology expire in 2006 when he publicly retired from practice. The California Board of Psychology determined that he did not need a license to do the kind of work he does on his show because it's "entertainment."
Quote: "How's that working for you?"
DR. ANDREW WEIL
Claim to fame: An alternative doctor for those disillusioned by mainstream medicine, Weil is widely known for promoting integrative medicine, mind-body connections and herbal remedies. Founder of Weil Lifestyle, a company that sells his philosophy and products, Weil also serves as medical director of DrWeil.com, a website that reportedly gets 2 million hits a month and that features his daily blog.
The balding, bearded, New Age guru has written 10 books, including several national bestsellers: "8 Weeks to Optimum Health," "Eating Well for Optimum Health," "Healthy Aging" and, most recently, "Why Health Matters." Besides running an integrative medicine program in Tucson, which trains practitioners, Weil writes a monthly column for Prevention magazine and appears frequently on "Larry King Live" and "The Oprah Winfre Show," where he touts his readily digestible beliefs that alternative medicine, good nutrition, exercise and stress reduction are the keys to a better, longer life. In 2005, he made Time's list of most influential people.
Chastised for his advocacy of certain drugs, Weil devoted much of his early work and writings to psychoactive drugs. In the '70s and '80s, he contributed to High Times, where he wrote about altered states of consciousness. Some criticize him for promoting unproved ideas while rejecting evidence-based medicine. Although he promotes the concept of accepting the aging process with grace, he developed an age-defying line of skin care products.
Credentials: Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, received both his bachelor's degree in biology (botany) and his medical degree from Harvard University.
Quote: "I think I've tried every drug."