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26 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Beyond Vaccines: How Can We Prevent the Next Pandemic?
Many Americans have started to behave as if the pandemic is over, but large numbers of people remain unvaccinated. At the same time, other parts of the world are experiencing their worst COVID-19 surges yet. On the season finale of The Dose, Sandro Galea, physician, epidemiologist, and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, talks about what it will take to vaccinate the entire world and how we can protect ourselves from future pandemics. He explains that while vaccines may mitigate the crisis in the short run, they cannot be a substitute for long-term investments in the social services that keep people healthy. Please take a minute to fill out our survey and tell us what you think about the podcast: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/themicrodose.
25 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
"It's Really, Truly Everywhere": How the Opioid Crisis Worsened with COVID-19
When the pandemic hit last March, the U.S. was still facing another major public health crisis —the opioid epidemic. Between COVID-19 lockdowns and economic devastation, overdose deaths soared. Experts estimate that around 90,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2020. That’s the highest number of overdose deaths ever, and it represents the largest one-year increase. On the latest episode of The Dose, we explore why drug deaths are rising and how policymakers can help fix the problem with guests Brendan Saloner, professor of health policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and Jesse Baumgartner, a research associate at the Commonwealth Fund.
29 minutes | May 21, 2021
“They’re Not Going to Say They’re Hungry”: Designing Health Care for Trauma Survivors
Many of us can recall a time we felt nervous about seeing a doctor. Maybe it was because we were wary about how much the visit would cost, or what a diagnosis would mean for our health. Now, imagine how much more stress you would feel if you had experienced trauma — from domestic violence or human trafficking, for example. Trauma survivors are the people family medicine physician Anita Ravi, M.D., cares for. On the latest episode of The Dose, Ravi and Keisha Walcott, one of her former patients, talk about how to design health systems for women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence. Ravi and Walcott explain how health, poverty, and trauma are interlinked and why providers must address all three.
21 minutes | May 7, 2021
Sick in the Shadows: Why Immigrants Should Have Health Care
Migrants are crossing the southern border in record numbers this year, many of them unaccompanied children. What happens to them once they make it into the U.S., or if they've been here for a long time, when they need health care? On the latest episode of The Dose podcast, Carrie Byington, executive vice president of University of California Health explains, drawing on her expertise as a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, and personal experience treating immigrants and their families. Byington, a member of the Commonwealth Fund’s Board of Directors, describes how the pandemic has illustrated the urgent public health need for immigrants to have health care, because “people may choose to forgo testing, or choose to postpone vaccination if they're afraid to sign up for a vaccine.”
25 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
What Will the Biden Administration Do for Women’s Health?
The Biden-Harris administration has taken several measures in its first three months to strengthen the nation’s social safety net. Many of these policies will have an outsized impact on women — particularly women of color, who often struggle to access health care and now are bearing the brunt of the COVID-induced economic crisis. From mandating paid sick leave and shoring up childcare to addressing the maternal health crisis, the new administration clearly recognizes the ways health and economic security are intertwined and how this impacts women. On the latest episode of The Dose, Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, makes the case that the pandemic has exposed inequities too difficult to ignore. And she believes women will emerge “smarter and stronger” from this crisis.
23 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
For Asian Americans, a Dual Pandemic of COVID-19 and Racism
Hate crimes against Asians in the United States more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. Last month, in one of the most conspicuous acts of violence against Asians in recent history, six Asian American women were shot dead in Georgia. Racism against people of Asian descent is not a new problem, but it has been exacerbated of late by politicians using racist rhetoric to describe the coronavirus. Asians in America are now facing a dual pandemic: a heightened fear of racist abuse, from verbal slurs to physical assault, on top of all the anxiety of living through COVID-19. In this episode, Vivian Shaw and Susanna Park of the AAPI COVID-19 project talk about the deep roots of anti-Asian bias, as well as their research into how the pandemic is affecting the lives of Asians in the U.S.
25 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
A Marathon, Not a Sprint: The Race Between COVID-19 Vaccines and Variants
If you’re an optimist, then every piece of good news about vaccine approvals and shots in arms has put the end of the pandemic in sight. If you’re a pessimist, then all the new variants with names sounding like computer-generated passwords signal the apocalypse. Will hope win, or will dread? On the latest episode of The Dose podcast, Eric Schneider, M.D., talks about the high-stakes race between the quick-spreading variants of COVID-19 and the effective vaccines that more Americans receive each day. Schneider brings us up to speed on the state of the pandemic and the challenges ahead. Drawing on his expertise in public health, he explains how we can “break the back of the virus” and ultimately win the race. Share your stories of pandemic optimism or pessimism—send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
“All Hands On Deck”: The COVID-19 Pandemic Through Nurses’ Eyes
Health care workers are among the heroes of the pandemic. One year in, many of us are experiencing stress, fatigue, and grief. But this can pale in comparison to the toll faced by those caring for the sick and dying on a daily basis. On this episode of The Dose, we listen to the stories of one group of frontline health workers: nurses. Often dealing with inadequate PPE and staff shortages, nurses are putting their own lives at risk — and many are experiencing burnout and exhaustion. Our guest, Mary Wakefield, takes us on a journey from rural hospitals to clinics in underserved areas, all through the eyes of nurses. Mary, a nurse with a long career in health care and public service, says the pandemic has revealed that America’s public health infrastructure is “incredibly anemic.”
24 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Violence, Interrupted: Breaking Cycles of Violence in the Hospital and on the Street
Violence kills thousands of Americans each year and sends many more to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Even though many people recover physically, the issues that cause violence often go unchecked. On today’s episode of The Dose, we talk about how interventions, both in hospitals and in communities, that can help break the cycle of violence that traumatizes people over time. Our guest, Fatimah Loren Dreier, is the executive director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, and a Pozen-Commonwealth Fund fellow in Health Equity Leadership. She talks about how trained violence interruption specialists can help people navigate conflict, and how the national protests around police violence towards Black Americans has created an opportunity for communities to rethink the role of the police.
27 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
“Not Just a Black Body”: How COVID-19 Hit Home for One Doctor
Living with the COVID-19 pandemic for a year, it’s hard to process the numbers. What we know is that nearly 500,000 Americans have lost their lives, and that Black, Latino, and Indigenous people are worst impacted. But behind the statistics are stories, and on the latest episode of The Dose, we listen to one of those stories. Our guest, Dr. Magdala Chery, is a primary care physician and Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Minority Health Policy. Magdala is also a daughter, and she experienced firsthand the racial inequities of our health care system when she lost both her parents to COVID-19 last spring. Magdala speaks of her personal tragedy without rancor: she believes that sharing stories like hers will help us see the people of color affected by COVID-19 not as case numbers and fatalities, but as lives.
22 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
COVID-19 is Making Us Lonelier: Is There a Way Out?
Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. faces another health crisis – one of loneliness. Between lockdowns, social distancing, and the fear that contact with others could make us sick, many people are living in isolation. But there are ways to cope. On this episode of The Dose podcast, Matthew Pantell and Laura Shields-Zeeman, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, talk about how innovative programs from around the world could help mitigate the effects of isolation.
29 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
The U.S. Is Missing Key Opportunities to End the COVID-19 Pandemic
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States appears to have learned few lessons from its disastrous early response. Hasty lockdowns and bungled reopenings have now given way to a sluggish and uncoordinated vaccine rollout. This month, the daily death toll crossed 4,000, and hospitals in many parts of the country are overflowing with sick patients. How are we going to get out of this mess? On the latest episode of The Dose, Ashish Jha, M.D., dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, explains how vaccine distribution could be sped up and carried out in a manner that addresses racial and economic disparities. Jha believes that swift action from the incoming administration could help America emerge from the pandemic by mid- to late 2021.
23 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
COVID on Campus: What It’s Like to Run a University in a Pandemic?
COVID-19 brought the lives of college students to an abrupt standstill – being in a classroom, a dormitory, a dining hall table with friends became risky activities overnight. How did universities navigate the impossible tradeoff between having students on campus with the risks of the coronavirus, and keeping students remote but putting their education in peril? Find out on this episode of The Dose podcast with Dr. Michael Drake, President of the University of California. Drake, who is also a member of The Commonwealth Fund Board of Directors, explains the decisions he made to keep students safe – and learning – on and off campus. Listen here, and then subscribe wherever you find your podcasts.
19 minutes | Dec 4, 2020
Joe Biden’s Presidency Kicks Off With a ‘Once in a Century’ Health Crisis
A new president doesn’t get four years to shape health care, he gets six months. And for President-elect Joe Biden, the most pressing health care issue is – no surprise here – COVID-19. On this episode of The Dose, the Commonwealth Fund’s President David Blumenthal, M.D., talks about Biden’s opportunity to leave a lasting health-care legacy by bringing the pandemic under control. History will judge Biden by how he rises to our new reality, says Blumenthal, in which one in every 1,300 Americans has died of COVID, millions have lost their jobs, and science has been undermined and ignored.
23 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
“A Monumental Effort”: How Obamacare Was Passed (Rebroadcast)
President-elect Joe Biden says he is committed to strengthening the Affordable Care Act so that all Americans can get the health care they need. He also wants to work with people of all political stripes: in his acceptance speech, he said it’s time “to listen to each other again.” This week on The Dose podcast, we’re bringing back an earlier episode on the compromise required to bring about big political change — in this case, change in U.S. health care. The Commonwealth Fund’s Elizabeth Fowler, a key architect of Obamacare, talks about the behind-the-scenes effort it took to get the landmark law passed.
21 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
With Medicaid Expansion, More than “A Bus Pass and A Good Luck” for Formerly Incarcerated People
People who are incarcerated have complex health needs, and to make matters more complicated, prisons and jails have seen some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. But what happens when they leave prison or jail and need to receive health care on the outside? Many states that have expanded Medicaid are also trying to ensure that people leaving jail or prison are able to enroll in health coverage upon release. On the latest episode of The Dose podcast, learn how these and other health care and criminal justice reform efforts work together from guests Vikki Wachino, who heads a nonprofit that connects jails with community health care providers, and Rebekah Gee, who oversaw Medicaid expansion as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.
20 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
‘Not a Magic Wand’: The Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine
Masks. Lockdowns. Shuttered businesses. Hospitals strained beyond capacity. Weary of the pandemic’s myriad disruptions to normal life, many Americans are pinning their hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine. But even if an effective one is developed, it won’t make the virus magically disappear. On today’s episode of The Dose podcast, Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a member of the Commonwealth Fund’s board, talks about the race to develop and deploy a vaccine. “Even the world's most safe and effective vaccine won't make a difference if people don't trust it and won't take it,” she warns.
22 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
Americans are Struggling with the Mental Health and Economic Impact of COVID-19
Americans are stressed about COVID-19 – both the disease and what it’s doing to the economy. And while the virus has touched every corner of the globe, many high-income countries have been more successful than the U.S. at easing some of the pandemic’s pain. This week on The Dose podcast, we talk about why Americans are experiencing the anxiety and sadness of the pandemic differently than people in other countries, and how this is tied to economic concerns like food, jobs, and housing.
22 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
COVID-19 and Pre-Existing Conditions Are Voters’ Biggest Health Care Fears
Health care is always important for voters, but this year, it is at the top of everyone's mind. The health needs and economic costs of COVID-19, and protections for people with pre-existing health conditions tie for first place in the Commonwealth Fund’s latest poll on which health care issue matters most to voters in the 2020 election. Voters are also worried about health care costs, the safety of voting in person, and whether or not their vote would be counted if they vote by mail. Then there’s the question of which candidate – Former Vice President Biden or President Trump – would address voters’ health care concerns. To learn what they said, and unpack some of the poll’s key findings, listen to the latest episode of The Dose with the Commonwealth Fund’s Sara Collins.
25 minutes | Sep 18, 2020
“We All Had the Same Warning," But Canada's COVID-19 Response Was Different
Hospitals in the U.S. started preparing for COVID-19 as early as January, but it wasn’t until Italian doctors started tweeting in March that they had to decide which patients would get ventilators that Michael Apkon realized the severity of the crisis. On the latest episode of The Dose, Apkon, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, takes listeners on one hospital’s journey through the harrowing past six months of dealing with the pandemic. Apkon recounts conversations with former colleagues from his time running a hospital in Canada, and reflects on how the fundamental differences between the U.S. and Canada’s approach to health care contributed to two very different responses to COVID-19. Over the next few weeks, The Dose will be covering how the pandemic and other health care issues are playing out in the 2020 Presidential election. Listen to today’s show, and then subscribe wherever you find your podcasts.
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