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The Doctor Is ... On the Air

Alumna Daliah (Zodieru) Wachs expands her practice to thousands through satellite radio call-in show.
People  |  Jun 13, 2012  |  By Shane Bevell
Dr. Daliah Wachs' show is broadcast locally and through satellite radio. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

A man calls The Dr. Daliah Show saying he is an alcoholic and was told he had six weeks to live. His question for Dr. Daliah Wachs: Why bother to stop drinking?

Wachs told the caller to hold his horses. She asked more questions, and it turned out he was never officially diagnosed with liver failure. His nurse practitioner told him that if he didn't stop drinking, he'd be dead in six weeks.

"Thankfully he got an appointment to see a gastrointestinal specialist and went to Alcoholics Anonymous," said Wachs, reflecting on one of the strangest calls she has received on her medical talk show.

Wachs, '93 BS Biological Sciences, knew she wanted to help people from the time she was three years old. When someone in the neighborhood got hurt, she was the one to rush over and help. Plus, she loved the smell of Band-Aids.

Assuming women couldn't be doctors, Wachs thought she would be a nurse. "It was the early 70s and when I told my mother I wanted to be a nurse, she asked why," said Wachs. "I replied 'Boys are doctors, girls are nurses.' My mother then said, 'Girls can be doctors too...and can do surgery.' I was sold."

But whatever the profession, she wanted to help people. And that is exactly what she is doing: helping hundreds of patients in her Las Vegas family practice and thousands more on The Dr. Daliah Show, which airs locally and on satellite radio.

With an easy-going and effervescent personality, Wachs is a natural for a talk show. "Before I came to UNLV, there was a Catch a Rising Star circuit," she said. "I did singing and comedy and was close to pursuing show business. I then got a full scholarship to UNLV and there was no way I was going to give that up. I was going to be the first in my family to go to college. My radio show now satisfies that hankering for show business."

On the Radio

When the recession hit in late 2008, Wachs found more and more patients calling her office for medical advice. They didn't have insurance or much money and were wondering what type of specialist would be most appropriate to visit.

To test out her idea for a medical talk show, she spent $100 a week to buy airtime on a local station. By January 2009, Wachs moved to KDWN 720 AM and by the end of 2010, she was on five days a week. The Dr. Daliah Show is now three hours a day for five days and then on Saturday for an hour. It is broadcast on 15 AM radio stations, everywhere from Kentucky to North Dakota to California.

In January 2011, Wachs started on satellite radio after Dr. Dean Edell retired. Within one year of going on air, Wachs was syndicated and within two years was named in the top 250 Radio Talk Hosts by Talkers Magazine.

"Although we do take serious calls, I like to make it fun," Wachs said. "You have to make subjects like cancer approachable. I love that I can make people laugh and feel at ease. There is a lot of negativity in the world, but if I can bring some humor and still educate, then I feel a sense of accomplishment."

Her UNLV Days

Wachs, who was in the Honors College in addition to the College of Sciences, embraced the research and community service opportunities for students at UNLV. It also didn't hurt that it was the peak of the Runnin' Rebels heyday. She was a huge fan and attended every home game.

"At the time, UNLV had an uphill battle as Las Vegas wasn't seen as a college town," she said. "You didn't see that much pride, but during the time in the early '90s when the Runnin' Rebels were winning; everyone was wearing UNLV gear and were proud that UNLV was their university. UNLV is an amazing university and needs the support from our city."

After graduating, Wachs attended the University of Nevada School of Medicine. She wanted to be a surgeon but changed her mind after meeting her husband in medical school. She realized that family medicine would allow her to have a lifestyle that would be more accommodating to her future family. She has owned and operated Integrated Family Medicine in Las Vegas since 2000, and she and her husband Corey, a chiropractor, have two kids, ages 11 and 9.

Wachs is a fixture in the Las Vegas community, working with charities such as Opportunity Village, FAST4Kids, St. Judes Ranch for Children, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and more. She also lectures students at UNLV, Touro University, and the University Nevada School of Medicine.