Tag Archives: science communication

Episode 59: Leah Pagnozzi On Science Advocacy & ‘Take A Politician To Lab’ Program

Science advocacy has been in the news a lot these past two years, but many are still wondering what’s the best way to make an impact. I’ve been learning over the last several podcasts that the way to improve science engagement, acceptance, funding, and policy is to include the public in science and to get them to think of science as an important part of their life. Leah Pagnozzi, Bioengineering PhD Candidate at Cornell University, is doing just this with her ‘Take A Politician To Work’ Program. Leah gives politicians first hand experiences of how science is done, how cool science is, and how many different kinds of science there are by organizing lab tours to politicians. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink — Leah would love for this science advocacy program to be spread to other campuses or institutions; get in touch with us at nina@publichealthunited.org if you’d like to be connected.

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Episode 58: Tom Inglesby on Health Security

Is the world prepared for the next global health threat? In our latest podcast, Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security shares with us how the Center is helping the world prepare for health threats, both natural and manmade, with evidence based policy. Originally created by D.A. Henderson, well known for his Smallpox Eradication Campaign, the Center started in the late 90’s/early 2000’s to research, create and influence evidence-based policy in face of of major health threats like anthrax, SARS, and bird flu. Nina had tons of questions about how to know if policies made by the government are evidence-based or if they are pure fear-mongering (she in particular recalls all of the questions around the Ebola quarantines in 2014 and 2015).

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Episode 57: Mary Carol Jennings On Accelerating Vaccine Access

How does Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) help speed up equitable access to life saving vaccines like rotavirus or HPV vaccines? Mary Carol Jennings, MD, on top of being drawn to community medicine, has always felt a calling for advocacy and bringing positive change to her surroundings. Even through her rigorous medical training, she made time for helping others at all stages of her career. At IVAC, Mary Carol is lead on two projects: RAVIN, an accelerator project for equitable vaccine access to rotavirus vaccine, and developing a new project on HPV vaccine access and advocacy.

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Episode 52: Kate O’Brien On Vaccines & Social Justice

This week, Nina is joined by International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) Advocacy and Communications Specialist Swati Sudarsan as they interview Kate O’Brien, Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center. Did you know vaccines can address social justice? In this episode, Kate explains that the children around the world who have the least access to vaccines suffer the most from vaccine preventable diseases – but she aims to change that. First on her list is an evaluation of the full benefits of vaccines, in an analysis she calls the “full public health value of vaccines.” She explains that vaccines not only prevent disease in an immunized child, but it can protect the people around them, can help families avert the costs of hospitalization from disease, and can even reduce an emerging crisis – antibiotic resistance.

Kate is a sitting member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), which advises the World Health Organization on global vaccine policy, and serves on the Gavi Board representing the Technical and Research constituency. She is a senior advisor at the Center for American Indian Health, and of course, a beloved professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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A special thank you to Swati Sudarsan and Rose Weeks from IVAC for production help.

Episode 51: Peter Hotez on Vaccine Hesitancy

PeterHotez

Last time on PHU Podcast, we spoke about vaccine confidence with Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson. On our latest podcast, Nina speaks with Dr. Peter Hotez on a related topic: vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine confidence and hesitancy are related but different issues. Think: opposite sides of the same coin. Vaccine hesitancy describes the idea that people are unsure about whether to get vaccinated (and they may be pro- or anti-vaccine). According to the WHO, vaccine hesitancy is caused by any of the 3 C’s: complacency, convenience and confidence. Note that this only refers to scenarios in which vaccines are readily available to the person.

Peter Hotez is well known for his science communication and advocacy efforts on vaccines–which have been motivated and inspired both by his daughter, who has autism, and his long research career in vaccine development for neglected tropical diseases.  Peter is has a long list of jobs including:

  • Founding dean  at the National School of Tropical Medicine
  • Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics
  • Director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development
  • Baker Institute Fellow in Disease and Poverty at Rice University.
  • Co-founder, Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2006 as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • 2014-2016 United States Science Envoy

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New podcast! Episode 48: Laurie Garrett On Outbreaks and Science Journalism

Laurie Garrett

Our latest podcast guest, Laurie Garrett, is an award winning science journalist (she has won all three major journalism awards: the Peabody, the Pulitzer, and the Polk) and  a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  I first heard about Laurie back in 2000 when I read her book, “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance.” Among many accomplishments, she’s well known for chronicling the Ebola outbreak both in the 90’s and more recently.  In this episode, Laurie tells us some of her stories from the frontline of outbreak science journalism and some challenges she sees for the global community in preparing for the next pandemic.

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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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