Donald Faison Wants You to Get Healthy

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Donald Faison isn't a doctor in real life, but he played one on TV. (Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
Donald Faison isn’t a doctor in real life, but he played one on TV. (Photo: Bob D’Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Believe it or not, it took playing a doctor on TV to help Donald Faison get over his fear of medical professionals.

“It’s crazy, I feared doctors for so long, and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get a checkup,” Faison confessed to Yahoo Celebrity. “And once I finally did, I was, like, ‘That wasn’t so bad. I could do that again. I could do that every day!’ And doing Scrubs is what prompted me to get my checkup. It was, like, I played a doctor and now I know what’s going on.”

That’s why Faison is hoping to spread this message to the country at large. In partnership with Cigna, Faison and a handful of other famous TV doctors — including Alan Alda (M.A.S.H.), Lisa Edelstein (House) and Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) — starred in a commercial for the health services company, extolling the virtues and importance of preventive care. Because the commercial has been airing pretty much nonstop, Faison took some time out to talk with us about participating in it, the wonders of wearing scrubs and what he enjoys about being the host of GSN’s Winsanity.

Yahoo Celebrity: Tell me about your involvement in the Cigna ad. How did it come about?
Donald Faison: I played a doctor on TV for nine seasons, and you know, the Cigna campaign is about TV doctors. What we’re trying to tell everyone is about the importance of preventative care. The CDC believes that 100,000 lives can be saved with preventative care, and it begins with a checkup. You want to learn things about your body, your BMI, your cholesterol … those numbers are important. So we’re saying, let’s get out there and learn about ourselves, and prevent problems — or stop them early. Not enough Americans are getting their checkups. We really want to save 100,000 lives, and it all starts with preventative care. I think everyone has this feeling in them right now — wanting to know how to take better care of themselves. It’s amazing, it’s a great message, and I’m really excited about it.

How did it feel to step into a pair of scrubs again?
It feels great. They’re the most comfortable clothes you can find on the market today. A lot of people wouldn’t worry about their fashion if they just had scrubs. And it’s always great to go to work and put on PJs.

Any good behind-the-scenes stories you can share about shooting the commercial?
Well, let’s be honest: Alan Alda is a great cuddler. But really, we had a great time. It was great to compare notes and chat about what it was like to be on the set for each of our shows. And it was great to talk about medical jargon — how it goes in one ear, you spit it out and then forget about it for the rest of your life.

What’s the most important thing you learned about doctors from playing one on TV?
That they have to find a way to cope with the tragedy going on around them. What I learned [from] doing Scrubs is that a great way to cope with tragedy is through humor. It definitely makes doctors more relatable. I can relate to a doctor being funny because they have to to make it through the day.

Related: Donald Faison Reveals the Secret to His Bromance With Zach Braff

So it changed the way you see them?
It’s crazy, I feared doctors for so long, and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get a checkup. And once I finally did, I was, like, “That wasn’t so bad. I could do that again. I could do that every day!” And doing Scrubs is what prompted me to get my checkup. It was, like, I played a doctor and now I know what’s going on.

Do you have any funny personal stories about taking your kids to the doctor … or even going to the doctor yourself?
You know, my kids go now, and my 3-year-old is finally understanding what a shot is. So now when he goes, he says, “Am I going to get a shot?” And if we tell him no, he says, “OK, let’s go.” That’s funny for us because not so long ago we’d take him and he wouldn’t feel his shots, but now he’s feeling them.

You’re also now a game show host. What’s the best part of being a great game show host?
The best part of being a great game show host is … first of all, there are so many great game show hosts, so for you to call me “great” is flattering. You’re aware I’m not Steve Harvey, right?

Yes!
And you know I’m not Wayne Brady, right?

Yes, of course!
Well, I love it. I enjoy talking to people, and I love watching them get excited to win things. When I was little I loved giving gifts to people because I enjoyed seeing their face when they opened it. So as a host, watching people win prizes is always a prize. But I also love when people are so sure about themselves and are wrong. And the facts don’t lie. In this case, they don’t lie.