Special Edition: International Podcast Day 2022

Contagious Conversations  /  Special Edition: International Podcast Day 2022




Claire Stinson: Hello, and welcome to Contagious Conversations.

September 30th is International Podcast Day. This and every year we are thrilled to have the Contagious Conversations forum to bring prominent voices in public health directly to you each month. In honor of this day, we took a look back at some of our most memorable Contagious Conversations episodes from 2022, covering important topics from the health impacts of climate change to homelessness and public health. In this special episode, we wanted to share with you some highlights from a few of those conversations.

To start us off, let's listen to this clip from the first podcast of 2022, "The Modernization of the Public Health System." For that conversation, we were joined by Dr. Anand Parekh, chief medical advisor for the Bipartisan Policy Center, who outlined the vital steps needed to modernize the American public health workforce.

Dr. Anand Parekh: There are a number of things. The first is the quantity of the workforce. And we've seen over the last decade, even prior to COVID-19, tens of thousands of state and local public health officials and workers have left the field. And a recent study showed that we need at least 80,000 additional public health staff at the state and local level. So the quantity of public health staff and officials, I think, is one area where we need to focus on. The second is the composition of the public health workforce. We need everyone from nurses and clinicians and epidemiologists and statisticians to community health workers and many, many other peer counselors and peer support counselors. And so we need many different professionals working within public health and understanding who we need as well as the overall professionalization of the field as well. Who needs to be certified or licensed? How do we bring in community health workers? There is some work to be done with respect to the composition of the workforce.

Claire Stinson: Law, as it relates to public health, is something many of us don't often think about, but the two are closely linked. In our episode entitled "Policies and Laws for the Health of All," we spoke with Sarah de Guia, chief executive officer of Change Lab Solutions, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that uses the tools of law and policy to advance health equity. This is what she had to say about the link between laws and public health.

Sarah de Guia: If I think about the number of laws that have had a positive impact on our lives, the Affordable Care Act comes to mind, Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. These are really important laws that have an impact on our daily lives and public health is right at the center of that because public health isn't just one thing. It actually encompasses many different sectors and it touches many different aspects of people's lives. The food they eat, the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the environments in which we live. Public health plays a very important role in advancing laws and policies that help all of us be healthier people.

Claire Stinson: As we see more and more the impact of climate change, we invited Dr. Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, to discuss the relationship between climate and health. During our May episode, "Turning Urgency into Action," Dr. Monroe had this to say about the importance of acting now to save lives and protect communities as the climate changes.

Dr. Judy Monroe: Yes, the impacts of climate change on health are happening right now, and it's so important that everybody understand that. This is an enormous threat to global health and it's an issue that needs to be front and center in the minds of all of us. So everyone faces risk of health impacts associated with climate change. The intergovernmental panel on climate change has reported that to avert catastrophic health impacts and prevent millions of climate change related deaths the world must limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade. Now, when we look at this, we already have, because of the climate change and the level of global temperature rise and other changes happening, we've got inevitable changes that have already occurred.

Claire Stinson: To discuss the relationship between homelessness and broader public health, we were joined by Dr. Emily Mosites, epidemiologists and senior advisor on special populations to the deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the Homelessness and Health episode, Dr. Mosites shared this view on homelessness and broader community health.

Dr. Emily Mosites: But when we think about public health, we're thinking about patterns and systems and on a population scale, people who are experiencing homelessness have a disproportionate burden of disease nearly across the board. So if we want to make an impact on community level health, we need to intervene where the disease burden is highest, and this means going upstream to prevent homelessness. And in the meantime, protecting people who are currently experiencing homelessness.

Claire Stinson: In our August podcast, "Making Scents of COVID," we had a fascinating discussion with Dr. Carol Glaser, the assistant deputy director in the office of the State Public Health Laboratory director and medical officer for Infectious Disease Laboratories at the California Department of Public Health. Together with Carol Edwards, executive director of Early Alert Canines, Dr. Glaser helped introduce the use of COVID detecting dogs into the California school system. Let's listen as she details just some of the benefits of this approach.

Dr. Carol Glaser: To start off, there's less time taken away from the teachers and the other staff in performing the tests. Children do not have to spend as much time out of the classroom to get tested by the dogs. The children don't have to have that invasive nasal swab. And then the other things that people rarely think about, and we should just consider, is throughout this entire pandemic, we've had these ebbs and flows in the availability of testing kits and supplies and we're really at the mercy of various companies and if they're making enough and if we can get those supplies. And clearly, if you think about the dogs, we're not going to need the availability of test kits and supplies and indeed antigen test kits, which is what our whole program is based upon. We had short supplies during the early stages of the Delta and Omicron surges, so that is a huge advantage.

Claire Stinson: Thanks for joining us for the special edition of Contagious Conversations for International Podcast Day, and thank you to all of the guests who made this series possible.