Category Archives: Public Health 101

Episode 47: Monica Mungier On Talking Parasites

Monica Mugnier

Our latest guest is also the latest faculty addition to the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Monica Mugnier (big news: Monica won an 2016 NIH Early Independence Award which allowed her to skip the tradtional postdoctoral fellowship and become faculty right after completing her PhD work). Monica studies a kind of parasite, called a tropanosome, that causes the disease African Sleeping Sickness. They are very difficult to control for a vaiety of reasons, one of them being the focus of her work (and some very cool science) on how they can rapidly change their coats to avoid detection by our immune system (aka antigenic variation). Monica finds these parasites so cool to study because they break all of the rules (read: they don’t follow any of the classic biology rules that she learned in class). Lots of mystery and discovery!

Monica and I have a great conversation on how to make a great science presentation (and how difficult it can be to strike the right amount of info, depending on your audience). We also discuss the challenges of conveying the importance of global health science research, especially when the illness primarily impacts people on a different continent.

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Episode 46: Dean Mike Klag On The Power of Public Health

Mike KlagOur latest guest, Dean Mike Klag, has served at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the past decade and has worked to keep the School at the forefront of both international and community health. Dean Klag describes the roots of our school, the largest and oldest school of public health and how, owing to its biomedical roots, it is unique in that it hosts three basic science departments as well as more classic public health fields like international health, epidemiology, policy, biotstats, and mental health.

We also learn about how he got into public health and his major goals and accomplishments as dean. Dean Klag will be stepping down in June 2017.

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Episode 43: Modernizing Science Education with Emily Fisher and Arvin Saleh

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On the latest episode, Nina teams up with her Communicating Science student Arvin Saleh and his advisor Dr. Emily Fisher to talk about the wave that’s been hitting undergraduate campuses with the aim of improving how we teach science. These new strategies, called active learning, are designed to put the learning in the hands of the student and engage in course material. We go into detail about what this is and examples in this podcast. Emily is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University. Arvin is a junior and double major in Public Health Studies and Cellular and Molecular Biology.

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Episode 40! Lois Privor-Dumm On Vaccine Policy & Advocacy Communication

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Nina gets to do her favorite thing on the latest episode: talk about vaccines! Nina is back over at the International Vaccine Access Center with Director of Policy and Advocacy Communications Lois Privor-Dumm. Lois has been working on vaccine advocacy for decades to bring life saving vaccines (like the one to prevent meningitis) to countries all over the world.

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Episode 39: Tom Quinn on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and Global Health

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Special #WorldAidsDay podcast! Our latest guest, Dr. Tom Quinn, was one of the first doctors working on HIV/AIDS here in the US in 1981 and still in the frontlines of combatting this global epidemic as Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, Associate Director for International Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and a consultant at a long list of places like The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), World Health Organization (WHO). Truly a champion for public health.

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Episode 37: Andrea Gielen On Injury Prevention & Policy

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For people my own age (let’s loosely say somewhere in your 30’s), unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in the United States! In fact, one person is dying every three minutes from injury…And is thought to cost us around $671 billion per year!

Dr. Andrea Gielen is Director of the Center for Injury Research & Policy at Johns Hopkins and a very passionate person in general about getting the message out about how much injury is costing us each year–and all the many things we can do to help. Injury is a much broader term than Nina had realized and can include anything from falling down the stairs, to household fires, to child health to overdose from drugs.

The Center is also working to translate research into policy, and has many unique approaches worth hearing about. The Center is uniquely poised to do this as it’s a hub of interdisciplinary efforts combining research, policy, and practice all at the same place.

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New Podcast! Leigh Frame-Peterson on Vitamin D & Bariatric Surgery

leigh-frame-petersonWe often hear about Vitamin D with words like sunshine and milk, but it may be a mystery as to how it works and what the best sources are in your diet. On the latest episode of the science communication show Public Health United, Nina chats with Johns Hopkins Vitamin D researcher Dr. Leigh Frame-Peterson on the importance of this essential nutrient, especially after bariatric surgery when your body is trying to repair itself.  In case you didn’t know (like Nina), bariatric surgery is surgery on the gastrointestinal tract in order to aid weight loss. There is a ton of misinformation on this–Leigh busts many of the myths out there and educates us on the public health importance of this tool to fight obesity and diabetes. On top of being very passionate about her work, she is also an active Twitter user and gave Nina some excellent tips on how to improve her Twitter engagement consistency.

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New Podcast! Dean Mike Ward On Fitness & Nina’s Comeback

mike-ward-meNina welcomes Dean Mike Ward onto Public Health United on our latest podcast. Mike is the Associate Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In addition to being a very caring person in charge of student affairs at the School, Mike is passionate about fitness. He became a personal trainer over a decade ago, has done 6 marathons and many half marathons. He loves being a personal trainer in order to help people create sustainable, independent fitness plans to stay healthy for the long term.

Nina and Mike share a love of fitness and have a fantastic time discussing fitness plans, keeping motivated over the longerm, and how to start getting fit again after illness.

Check out the podcast to know more about Nina’s Comeback…

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New Podcast! David Dowdy On TB, Scicomm, & Mentoring

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Although it doesn’t get as much attention as malaria and HIV, over 4,000 people die every day from tuberculosis (TB) according to the World Health Oganization. Our latest podcast guest, Dr. David Dowdy, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, does cool and important, highly interdisciplinery research that combines medicine, infectious disease episdemiology, and health economics to combat TB. And to coodinate those diverse fields, he of course is a science communication superstar! We had a wonderful time talking scicomm, how we are learning the core lingo of the various public health fields and also how each field has a slightly different ways of thinking.

David also has a deep caring for students and inspiring the next generation of public health professionals (he’s the winner of multiple mentoring and teaching awards!).

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New podcast! “Marie Diener-West: Don’t Fear The Stats!”

marie-diener-west-meStatistics is often misunderstood, according to our latest podcast guest Dr. Marie Diener-West, and is an extremely powerful tool–when used and interpreted correctly. Learn about the three biostatistics concepts that we all should know, but often don’t, as Marie discusses how stats are presented in science news and answers all of the stats questions Nina has while doing her lab research.

Marie is a Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with dual appointments in Biostatistics and Ophthalmology. She is also the director of the Masters of Public Health Program at JHSPH and has won numerous awards for her teaching and mentoring skills.

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