CDC Foundation Releases Season 2 of Contagious Conversations Podcast

Interviews include Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Richard Besser, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health Dr. Rebekah Gee and Director of Rotary International’s PolioPlus Carol Pandak

How does your zip code affect your health? How close are we to eradicating polio? How can policy changes at the state level make communities healthier? These are some of the topics discussed in Season 2 of the CDC Foundation’s podcast, Contagious Conversations, which launched today. Season 2 features interviews with individuals who are playing a vital role in making the world safer and healthier for us all.

The second season of Contagious Conversations features a series of three in-depth conversations with individuals who are sharing their perspectives on today’s toughest health challenges, including polio eradication, health equity, maternal mortality, Hepatitis C treatment and more.

“Contagious Conversations provides thought-provoking discussions about health topics that affect us all,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation. “With each interview, we see the power of storytelling and how the conversations can give us new perspectives and add to our understanding of complex health issues.”

New Contagious Conversations episodes include:

Episode 4: How to (Truly) Change the World
Building a Culture of Health and Social Justice with Dr. Richard Besser

Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ABC News chief health and medical director, discusses his foundation’s efforts to build a culture of health in America, why that work requires a national shift in mindset, and why he still believes that working in public health is really about working to change the world.

“Just change one number in your zip code, and your entire life trajectory could change.”
– Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Episode 5: The State of Health
Transforming Health in Louisiana with Dr. Rebekah Gee

Dr. Rebekah Gee shares her journey to becoming the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and how she is working to fight major health challenges, such as Hepatitis C, in Louisiana, and discusses the complexities of bringing together partners to work on a myriad of issues from pregnancy to poverty.

“Hepatitis C kills more Americans than all other infectious diseases combined, so as a public health challenge, nothing is as significant as Hepatitis C in our time.”
– Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health

Episode 6: Ending Polio for Good
Behind a Historic Eradication Effort with Carol Pandak

Now that Rotary International has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Carol Pandak discusses her work with the organization to end the disease once and for all...and what challenges still remain.

“The global effort to eradicate polio is historic, as only one other human disease has been eradicated and that’s smallpox. So being part of history and a global program that protects children is really important.”
― Carol Pandak, Director, PolioPlus, Rotary International

To listen to Contagious Conversations, subscribe or download on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting app. For more information, visit