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Road to Resilience

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Stories and insights to help you thrive in a challenging world. From fighting burnout and trauma, to building resilient families and communities, we explore what’s possible when science meets the human spirit. Powered by the best experts in the world.

Stories and insights to help you thrive in a challenging world. From fighting burnout and trauma, to building resilient families and communities, we explore what’s possible when science meets the human spirit. Powered by the best experts in the world.
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Stories and insights to help you thrive in a challenging world. From fighting burnout and trauma, to building resilient families and communities, we explore what’s possible when science meets the human spirit. Powered by the best experts in the world.






The Gospel of Curtis

Curtis Martin went from a latchkey kid in a violent neighborhood to an NFL Hall of Famer and celebrated philanthropist. His unlikely rise was powered by faith, hard work, and near superhuman discipline. In this interview, he talks about facing fears, practicing values, and the near-death experience that changed everything. For more resilience tips, visit our website: Road to Resilience is a podcast that brings you stories and...


10 Resilience Insights from 2019

Road to Resilience producers Jon Earle, Katie Ullman, and Nicci Hudson reflect on episodes from the past year and share the moments that stuck with them the most. What were your favorite resilience moments? Email us at


My Experiments With Truth

Oncologist Gabriel Sara, MD, is a maniac about the truth. Whether delivering a tough diagnosis, or sharing his feelings with colleagues, he refuses to sugarcoat. It's a lesson he learned as a medical intern in war-torn Beirut, where the truth was a matter of life and death, and over the years it's become central to his practice. On this episode, Dr. Sara talks about how he uses radical honesty to build trust, empathy, and resilience. Dr. Sara is Medical Director of the Chemotherapy Infusion...


The Stuff With My Mom

When writer Marisa Bardach Ramel was a teenager, her mother, Sally, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Amid the sadness and uncertainty that followed, they made an extraordinary decision to write a memoir together. Now, almost 20 years later, The Goodbye Diaries: A Mother-Daughter Memoir, has at last been published. On this episode, Marisa talks about how cancer strained and ultimately strengthened her relationship with her mother, and reflects on how the act of writing brought them closer...


Kids Who Can Deal

Parenting trends come and go—remember “tiger” moms?—but the challenge of raising resilient kids remains as critical as ever. How can we make sure our children respond to stress in a healthy way? And how do we support our kids without becoming “snowplow” parents? Aliza Pressman, PhD, a developmental psychologist and co-founding Director of The Mount Sinai Parenting Center, makes the case for “authoritative” parenting, which researchers have linked to the most positive outcomes for kids. Since...


Your Brain on Fear

Learning to overcome your fears is a key stepping stone to becoming resilient. But it’s easier said than done. Fear memories—from agonizing missteps to traumatic experiences—have a way of haunting us. On this special Halloween episode, Mount Sinai neuroscientist Anthony Lacagnina, PhD, takes us inside the brain to understand why. Dr. Lacagnina’s work helps explain why fear memories are so tenacious and raises the possibility of treating them with surgical precision. Dr. Lacagnina is a...


The Story of Bed 25

George flees anti-gay violence in his native Ghana and seeks asylum in the United States. This is the story of what happens next. Featuring Elizabeth Singer, MD, MPH, director of the Mount Sinai Human Rights Program. The program provides medical evaluations to support the claims of victims of human rights abuses who are seeking asylum in the United States. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) provided legal services to George. Music by Blue Dot Sessions.


A Scientist’s Case for Optimism

A new study has found that optimists have a substantially reduced risk of cardiovascular events and premature death compared to pessimists. Lead author Alan Rozanski, MD, explains why optimists are healthier than pessimists, what optimism really means, and how to start seeing the glass half-full. Dr. Rozanski is a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Help us bring you more great stories by completing a quick...


Unknown Exposure

Nobody knows what was in the dust cloud that blanketed Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. But we’re increasingly sure about the health consequences, including asthma, PTSD, and cancer. On this episode, a 9/11 health expert and a volunteer responder talk about what it was like to work at Ground Zero, what we know about 9/11-related illnesses, and what their experiences taught them about resilience. Help us tell more great stories by completing our listener survey. Enjoying the podcast?...


The Comedian and the Brain Tumor

Five kids. Four Grammy nominations. One pear-sized brain tumor. When a life-threatening diagnosis turned comedy writer/director Jeannie Gaffigan’s life upside-down, she and her husband, comedian Jim Gaffigan, turned to faith, family, and of course—humor. Jeannie's new memoir is “When Life Gives You Pears" Joshua Bederson, MD, Chair for the Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Health System, performed the surgery that saved Jeannie's life


Measuring the Mental Toll of Child Separation

Mount Sinai researchers have published the first large, empirical study examining the mental health of children in immigration detention. Co-authors Craig Katz, MD, and Priscilla Agyeman, MPH, talk about what they found and what it means for all of us. More about the study ( The Mount Sinai Human Rights Program ( Dr. Craig Katz ( Help us tell more great stories by completing our listener survey (


Forget Kumbaya: The Art of Self-Care

Overwhelmed by grief for patients who had died, an oncology fellow embarks on a self-care journey that leads to unexpected places. Cardinale Smith, MD, PhD, Director of Quality for Cancer Services at the Mount Sinai Health System, shares the ritual she uses to process loss, offers tips on having hard conversations, and reflects on the end of life. // Dr. Smith's profile: ( Help us tell more great stories by completing our listener survey (


Dr. Krieger's Three Resilience Tips

In this mini-episode, Stephen Krieger, MD, shares resilience insights he's learned from treating patients with multiple sclerosis. No. 1: View uncertainty as a positive. Listen for more. Dr. Krieger ( is a neurologist at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai ( His patients include Elizabeth Jones and Kate Milliken from Episode 12. Music by Matthew Earle. Help us tell more great stories by completing our...


Somebody to Lean On

The science is in: We’re stronger together. Supportive social networks are linked to better health, protection against depression, and even a longer life. On this episode, multiple sclerosis patients Kate Milliken and Elizabeth Jones talk about how their tight-knit MS community has made them more resilient. Kate and Elizabeth met on (now, a once-thriving online community for people with chronic illness. But everybody can benefit from tight bonds with people who...


The Long Arm of Childhood Trauma

Saturday Night Live veteran Darrell Hammond, filmmaker Michelle Esrick, and Mount Sinai psychologist Jacob Ham, PhD, discuss childhood trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and healing. Mr. Hammond's experience with trauma, addiction, and recovery is explored in a new documentary film about the lifelong effects of childhood trauma called Cracked Up, directed and produced by Ms. Esrick. ( Help us tell more great stories by completing our listener survey...


Resilience Stories (Live!)

An anxious woman’s worst fears come true. A young man grasps for a ladder out of poverty and depression. On this episode, two resilience stories told live by neuroscience PhD students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Featuring “unsanctioned” breast exams, zebra finches, and DREADDs (Google it!). These stories were performed live at the Studying the Brain storytelling event hosted by the Icahn School of Medicine's Friedman Brain Institute at El Barrio's Artspace PS109 on March...


The Mystery Virus

In 1977, Doug Dieterich contracted a mysterious virus that attacked his liver and left him unable to work. Four decades later, Dr. Dieterich, now Director of the Institute for Liver Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital, reflects on his journey from patient to caregiver with the help of an unlikely ally—AIDS activist and “Cockney Rebel” Leigh Blake—and explains why Hepatitis C isn’t the terrifying diagnosis it once was. Learn more about Leigh's latest initiative at Check out Dr....


The Power of Optimism

Paralympian Deb Gruen exemplifies the power of optimism. Born with spina bifida, Gruen stayed positive, focused on her strengths, and through hard work became a two-time Paralympic medalist. A graduate of Yale and Georgetown, Gruen is now a successful lawyer in New York City. In this episode, she explains how setting realistic expectations and the power of positivity can help you overcome life’s toughest challenges. Help us tell more great stories by completing our listener survey...


Thriving After a Devastating Loss

Dr. Rosalind Wright, Dean of Biomedical Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine, opens up about her brother's murder, which occurred while she was finishing her residency and caring for a newborn baby. She explains how she used active coping skills to stay resilient during the most challenging and stressful time of her life. Dr. Wright explains how this tragedy prompted her to pursue a career in public health, where her research has shown how trauma can lead to hypertension, diabetes,...


Managing Stress, Anxiety and Fear

How do you cope with stress? Why do some give up, while others persevere? Listen as med student Jordyn Feingold and resident Dr. Benny Laitman explain how they cope with everyday stress. Each detail their unique circumstances, including the terrifying experience of performing a first surgery, facing pressure to succeed, and taking on an overwhelming course load. Learn how reframing stressful thoughts, facing fears, and practicing self-care has helped them overcome these challenges and avoid...