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Public Health On Call
17 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
352 - COVID-19 Research Update: The Delta Variant
In this episode, Dr. Josh Sharfstein talks with researchers who break down three papers about the delta variant. Carli Jones, a PhD student at Hopkins School of Medicine talks about a preprint study on the emergence and spread of the delta variant in India. Wendy Grant-McAuley, also a PhD student, talks about an Oxford University paper on how the delta variant responds to various antibodies in a lab setting. Shirlee Wohl, a post-doctoral fellow at the Bloomberg School talks about a preprint looking at an outbreak of the delta variant among vaccinated people at a Texas wedding. These researchers are part of the Hopkins novel coronavirus research consortium, with many summaries of new studies available at http://ncrc.jhsph.edu.
22 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
351 - A Vaccine with that Haircut? Barber Shops and the Fight Against COVID-19
Dr. Stephen Thomas, the director of the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity, works with barber shops in the African-American community to offer health services. Mike Brown, a barber and a certified community health care worker, works with Dr. Thomas to provide vaccines in his barber shop. They talk with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the community role of barber shops, the importance of community trust, and lessons for other public health efforts.
19 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
350 - Book Club: A Meningitis Outbreak from Pharmaceutical Compounding
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein speaks to Jason Dearen, author of the book Kill Shot: A Shadow Industry, A Deadly Disease. The book covers the nationwide meningitis outbreak caused by the New England Compounding Center, which sold medications contaminated with mold and fungi for injection into joints, the spine, and other sterile spaces. They discussed what led to this catastrophe, the legislation that passed in its aftermath, and the future of oversight in this area.
14 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
349 - Mucormycosis: The Black Fungus Killing COVID-19 Patients in India
Fungal diseases are rare but, once diagnosed, incredibly hard to treat and often fatal. The overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases in India has given rise to mucormycosis, also called “black fungus” for the appearance of the lesions caused by the infection. Dr. Arturo Casadevall talks with Stephanie Desmon about this and other fungal diseases, why COVID patients in India are particularly vulnerable, why treatments are slow and often ineffective, and why the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t invested more in treating these often deadly infections.
17 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
348 - Mental Health Before, During and After the Pandemic
The pandemic has caused trauma, grief, and stress leading to depression, anxiety, and worsening of other mental health conditions. Dr. Adam Karpati, former executive deputy commissioner for mental hygiene at the New York City Health Department and currently the Senior Vice President of Public Health Programs at Vital Strategies, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the profound mental health impact of the pandemic, in the context of prior failures to support people with mental illness. Dr. Karpati sets out a vision for a more organized, caring, and effective system of mental health care.
11 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
347 - COVID-19 Vaccines Update: Boosters, FDA Approval, New Vaccines, and More
Will we need COVID-19 booster shots and, if so, when? Where is the FDA in its approval process of the vaccines currently under emergency use authorization? What goes into this process? Why, if the current vaccines are so good, are companies still trying to make new ones? Dr. Anna Durbin returns to the podcast to talk with Stephanie Desmon about all things COVID-19 vaccines.
25 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
346 - Vermont’s Response to COVID-19
Vermont has had far fewer COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths than many other states, and health commissioner Dr. Mark Levine credits a number of reasons why. Dr. Levine talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about Vermont’s response to the pandemic, how the state is now addressing gaps in vaccination, and why it’s so important for all decisions to be driven by data and science, not politics.
18 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
345 - How COVID-19 May Change Our Culture For Good
The COVID-19 pandemic will change our culture in all kinds of ways, both concrete and conceptual. Coming to work if you’re sick, for example, may hopefully be a thing of the past while normalizing mask use during COVID surges may become part of our new future. Conceptually, our culture is changing as more people become aware of how social determinants of health like housing, employment, and education are directly tied to people’s wellbeing. Former New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about these and other cultural changes we may see in the aftermath of the pandemic.
18 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
344 - “The Work Undone”: The 40th Anniversary of AIDS and Lessons For the COVID-19 Pandemic
On June 5, 1981, the CDC identified a cluster of five cases of a rare pneumonia occurring in previously healthy young, homosexual men in the US. Forty years later, despite great advances in therapies for prevention, and extending life expectancy and quality of life, the pandemic is still growing in some places and killing millions around the world. Epidemiologist Dr. Chris Beyrer, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS research, talks with Stephanie Desmon about the work that still needs to be done, what we’ve learned from the AIDS pandemic, and how we need to apply these lessons to the global COVID-19 response.
17 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
343 - Combating Global Vaccine Hesitancy
The US is not the only country facing COVID-19 vaccine hesitation. Around the world, public health officials are grappling with this issue that has the potential to slow or even derail efforts to end the pandemic. Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, talks with Stephanie Desmon about the spectrum of vaccine hesitancy, the promise of continuing medical education for doctors as a helpful tool, why it’s crucial to address vaccine demand AND supply, and why there’s no “silver bullet” despite the urgent need to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
15 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
342 - COVID-19 Vaccines and Children
Youths 12 and older have been eligible for COVID-19 vaccines since March, but clinical trials are still ongoing for kids under 12. Dr. Kawsar Talaat, who led one of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials in adults, and Dr. Odis Johnson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, return to the podcast to talk with Stephanie Desmon about whether schools may require vaccines, the ethics of immunizing children when so many high-risk adults around the world don’t have access to shots, risk factors for serious disease among children, and what is known currently about vaccine hesitancy among parents.
20 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
341 - COVID-19 Research Update: The consequences of COVID
In this episode, Dr. Josh Sharfstein talks with researchers who break down three papers looking at what happens to patients with COVID over the longer term. Dr. Lauren Peetluck, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, talks about the risks of long-term complications of COVID. Dr. Heather McKay, an epidemiologist at Hopkins, talks the risks of negative neurological and psychiatric outcomes of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Danny Sack, an MD/PhD student at Vanderbilt, talks about post-COVID multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. These researchers are part of the Hopkins novel coronavirus research consortium, with many summaries of new studies available at http://ncrc.jhsph.edu.
27 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
Bonus - The Promise and Perils of the Lung Cancer Screening Tool: Tradeoff’s Dan Gorenstein Talks to Experts and Patients About Early Detection Vs Unnecessary Treatments
On a special episode, Tradeoffs host Dan Gorenstein talks with a host of experts about screening for lung cancer, America’s number one cancer killer. While CT scans have provided early insights into a cancer that previously wasn’t caught until far too late, this tool has also led to unnecessary procedures, costs, and even disability and death for patients that may not have even been sick. You’ll hear from pulmonologist Dr. Gerard Silvestri; behavioral scientist and nurse practitioner Dr. Lisa Carter-Harris; Dr. Cherie Erkmen, surgeon and director of Temple University’s Lung Cancer Screening Program; Johns Hopkins oncologist Dr. Otis Brawley; Ida Pittman, a lung cancer patient, and Helena Price, her cousin and health care advocate. If you like this episode, check out the Tradeoffs’ podcast www.tradeoffs.org
16 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
BONUS - What the Delta Variant Means for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People
There are a lot of worrying headlines about the delta variant and outbreaks of COVID-19 around the world. Lindsay Smith Rogers talks to Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo from the Center for Health Security about the variant, how much more transmissible it is, whether it causes more serious disease, what the variant means for vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, and what people should be most concerned about.
17 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
340 - The Future of the Public Health Workforce after COVID-19
Epidemiologists, community health workers, laboratory professionals, data analysts, and a whole spectrum of public health workers rose to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, years of underinvestment in public health departments undermined the response. New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about what the pandemic has taught about urgently needed investments in public health workforce.
12 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
339 - The Lows and Highs of Native American Communities’ Struggles With COVID-19
Native American communities were especially hard hit during the pandemic with COVID cases 10 times that of the rest of the US. Dr. Allison Barlow talks with Stephanie Desmon about how the Native Americans went from the highest rates of cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities to the highest vaccination rates in the US with 70-95% of the community fully vaccinated. They also talk about how much the rest of the US can learn from these successes, and how the intrinsic values of indigenous communities can mean better health for all people.
16 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
338 - Tying the Hands of Public Health
According to a new report by the Network for Public Health Law, several states are considering or have passed legislation to limit the ability of public health agencies to respond to infectious disease and other emergencies. At stake are the ability of health departments to impose quarantine to save lives or require masks for any conditions, including infectious tuberculosis. Donna Levin, National Director for the Network, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the history of public health authority, what's happening now in North Dakota, Kansas, and elsewhere; and the dangers of these ill-considered laws.
12 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
337 - The Tokyo Olympics and COVID-19
As a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in swimming and public health expert at the Center for Health Security, Dr. Tara Kirk Sell is uniquely positioned to talk about what to expect at next month's Olympics. Dr. Sell talks with Stephanie Desmon about how the Olympic committees are working to keep athletes safe, what could go wrong, and why we need the Olympics now more than ever.
16 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
336 - How You Can Support the US Vaccine Effort
With millions of Americans still unvaccinated and dangerous variants continuing to spread, the footrace against the virus continues into the summer months. Want to help? The Made to Save Coalition is a national grassroots effort to ensure communities hardest hit by COVID-19 have access to vaccines and accurate, timely information. Chris Wyant, executive director, and Alice Chen, senior advisor, talk with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about what's behind this effort—and how you can join. Learn more here: madetosave.org/act
15 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
BONUS - The American Health Podcast: The Facts About Waste
The Bloomberg American Health Initiative offers full scholarship for MPH and DrPH degrees to people working on the front lines of key challenges to health in the United States. This special episode of the Initiative's American Health Podcast features an interview with host Shane Bryan and scholarship recipient and "Bloomberg fellow" Julianah Marie, the Waste Reduction Programs Coordinator with the City of Frisco, Texas. They discuss Marie’s work with the Frisco school district, the history of America’s growing pollution issues, and ways to reduce the amount of waste coming from our households. To learn more about the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Bloomberg Fellows Program, visit https://americanhealth.jhu.edu/.
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