Tag Archives: Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

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 42: Meghan Moran On Persuasive Communication


meghan-moranOur latest guest, Dr. Meghan Moran, researches how the tobacco industry uses persuasive messaging on youths and teens–and how public health policy makers can use that knowledge to implement prevention campaigns. She also uses her expertise in persuasive communication to analyze why people are swayed by anti-vaccine messaging, and that it is not for the reasons we typically consider! Meghan is an Assistant Professor in Health, Behavior and Society Department at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

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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


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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Conor McMeniman on Combating Zika with Mosquito Biology & Science Communication

Conor McMeniman

Public Health United is the podcast all about improving science and public health communication. In our latest episode, Nina interviews Dr. Conor McMeniman (Johns Hopkins) who has made the news alot recently because he won a challenge grant from the United States Agency for International Development to tackle the Zika virus outbreak by discovering novel ways to prevent, detect and treat Zika and future ID outbreaks. We discuss his grant proposal that won this prestigious award, the field work in Australia that got him involved in mosquito research, and his thoughts on science communication and how scientists need to be involved in community engagement so that our interventions will be accepted, trusted and implemented.

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Global Health NOW!

MeI had a great meeting last week with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health editor Brian W. Simpson. I got a peak at the next issue of the JHSPH magazine as the mock up lines the walls of his office.  I felt like I was in an art gallery and not an office. Definitely a pleasant change from the lab. There are a lot of upcoming changes to the magazine which sound (and look) great.
In the meantime, Simpson and JHSPH writers Dayna Kerecman Myers, Maryalice Yakutchik and Jackie Frank have compiled a daily Monday-Friday bulletin of the latest and essential global health news called Global Health NOW. I subscribed myself last week and have been very happy with the variety of news presented, including updates on the Ebola outbreak, new Gates’ funded birth control research, and guest commentaries. They are looking for both new subscribers (3000+ already!) and contributors.
Subscribe for free today: http://www.jhsph.edu/global-health-NOW
Please share with friends and colleagues around the world.

New podcast! “The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Ron Fouchier on Science Communication”

Recorded June 23, 2014 at the American Society For Virology annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado.

 Please click here to access the podcast or subscribe on iTunes here.

Episode Description:
Talking about viruses, and in particular influenza virus (or flu), to the lay public remains an extremely difficult area of science reporting. Bad science communication regarding flu can be devastating–if we can’t get the right information to the public and get their support, then public health progress could be set back decades, risking the lives of many people. It’s really important to keep flu research going as so much about the disease and the underlying cause (= the virus) remains a mystery. Moreover, an effective vaccine or antiviral treatment remain elusive.

If you’ve followed science news in the last 3 years, you’ve most likely heard of Dr. Ron Fouchier and his research on understanding how bird flu spreads and if it’s possible for it to change into a form that can be passed between people. Voted one of Time Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2012″, Fouchier shares with us his side of the avian H5N1 flu research controversy that catalyzed a frenzy of (bad) science reporting in 2011-2013. What made this research so controversial? Did the press misrepresent Fouchier? What has he learned about science communication during this process? For these answers and more insights into how the American press failed us, check out this podcast.

Show links:
Youtube video by Ron explaining the importance of his work and why it’s safe
Origin of H5N1 Storm by Vincent Racaniello
Dr. Ron Fouchier’s profile at Erasmus Medical Center
Second Flu Paper Published” by Ed Yong in Nature (great summary of the “conclusions” to this leg of the story as of 2012)
Scientists Brace For Media Storm Around Controversial Flu Studies” by Martin Enserink
WARNING: WORST KIND OF SCIENCE WRITING: “An engineered doomsday” editorial in the New York Times
Thanks for your continued support! Nina

New podcast! “Reducing Gun Violence In America with Dr. Daniel Webster”

I have often debated about whether guns should be banned or not…but I never considered the possibility that these conversations are actually impeding the progress of policies that help reduce gun violence.  And yes, it’s gun violence that we are all really concerned about–not whether or not guns should be allowed in society.

Our latest episode features Dr. Daniel Webster, Director of the Center For Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. Webster discusses how these conversations on whether guns should be banned or not (which are usually based on morals, anecdotes, and passions–not actual facts) are harming good gun policy progress and points out the kinds of research and policies that have been most helpful in reducing gun violence. It’s important to realize that focusing discussions on banning guns isn’t actually helping to reduce gun violence in America.  Yet another example of how bad communication can harm public health progress!

Please click here to access the podcast or subscribe via iTunes here.

Show links:

Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

JHSPH profile for Dr. Daniel Webster

“Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy With Evidence and Analysis” free eBook edited by Daniel Webster and Jon Vernick; Forward by Michael Bloomberg