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Science Podcasts

Evidence and experts to help you understand today’s public health news—and what it means for tomorrow.

Evidence and experts to help you understand today’s public health news—and what it means for tomorrow.


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Evidence and experts to help you understand today’s public health news—and what it means for tomorrow.




487 - Friday Q&A: Dr. Crystal Watson Returns to Answer Your COVID-19 Questions

Why was smallpox eradicated but COVID-19 can’t be? What do we know about the risks of long COVID and omicron? Is it ok to use expired rapid tests? Is it more likely to get severe COVID from someone who is unvaccinated? Should people who continue to test positive after taking paxlovid be treated again? Dr. Crystal Watson of the Center for Health Security returns to the podcast to talk with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about your COVID-19 questions - plus a bonus question on where we are with the...


Bonus - A Conversation With a Monkeypox Patient

When Matt Ford, an actor, writer, and video producer in LA, had flu-like symptoms a few weeks ago, he never would have suspected monkeypox if a close contact hadn’t told him they’d tested positive. Still in isolation, Ford talks with Lindsay Smith Rogers about his experience with the disease, where we are in terms of treatment and prevention, and how to lessen stigma towards the LGBTQ community where monkeypox seems to be spreading the fastest.


486 - Special Episode: Public Health In the Field—Did COVID Change Tourism for Good?

COVID-19 sent shock waves through the tourism industry, shutting down the economic engine of many popular destinations. But for some residents and tourism workers, it also brought a welcome break from swelling crowds and a rare chance to slow down and rethink their priorities. In a special episode, Lindsay Smith Rogers and Annalies Winny take a virtual tour to Aruba, Jamaica, Hawaii, and Senegal to learn how popular destinations have weighed economic stability against the risks of COVID...


485 - The NBA and COVID-19

In 2020, scientists working on injury analytics expanded to COVID-19 epidemiology to help create and monitor the NBA bubble. Dr. Christina Mack, an epidemiologist with IQVIA Real World Solutions, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how the team continues to monitor the health and safety of players and staff, and some of the findings with real-world implications such as how long people can shed COVID-19 virus, if people with asymptomatic infections are less likely to transmit COVID, and...


Bonus - Overturning Roe v. Wade and Public Health

For immediate reaction to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, Dr. Josh Sharfstein speaks to Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, an obstetrician-gynecologist who leads Power to Decide, a nonprofit organization with the goal of ensuring that all people "have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child."


484 - Lyme Disease: Diagnosis, Prevention, and How Long COVID is Helping to Advance Awareness and Research for Chronic Lyme

First identified 50 years ago, Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness endemic to many parts of the U.S. While the acute infection can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed in time, 10-20% of people still go on to experience persistent symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and pain. Lyme expert John Aucott talks with Stephanie Desmon about how to prevent Lyme disease, what we know about chronic Lyme, and how long COVID is helping to draw attention to it and other diseases like chronic fatigue.


Bonus - The Supreme Court's Decision on Guns

In a bonus episode, Alex McCourt, the director of legal research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, speaks to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein about guns and the Supreme Court. They discuss this decision's meaning and direct impact, as well as the potential implications for other actions to reduce the toll of gun violence in the United States.


BONUS - Responding to Gun Violence With Effective and Fair Solutions

Johns Hopkins University hosted a live, virtual briefing earlier this month on responses to the crisis of gun violence featuring a panel of experts, including Cass Crifasi, Shannon Fratteroli, Josh Horwitz, Odis Johnson, and Daniel Webster. Moderated by Lainie Rutkow, the discussion focuses on the challenges gun violence poses for American democracy, which gun laws are effective, how Extreme Risk Protection Orders can help to prevent gun violence, research on public opinions about solutions,...


483 - The Movement for a Global Pandemic Treaty

Greater global cooperation could have saved many lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparedness and response expert Lucia Mullen of the Center for Health Security talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the growing call to support such cooperation through a pandemic treaty . They also talk about mis- and disinformation that have emerged already, such as myths that a treaty could override countries’ rights or give the World Health Organization sweeping power.


482 - Reflecting on Juneteenth with Dr. Janice Bowie

In 2021, Congress established Juneteenth as a federal holiday but many people don’t know the history or how to recognize the day. Dr. Janice Bowie, an expert in community-engaged research, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how to celebrate, reflect, and recommit to social justice this Juneteenth.


Bonus: What You Need to Know About the Novavax COVID-19 Protein-Based Vaccine

An FDA advisory panel recommended Emergency Use Authorization for the two-dose Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 18+. The vaccine is built on a different technology than others currently authorized in the US, and significant delays in manufacturing and authorization have slowed down its entry into the US market. Vaccine expert Dr. Bill Moss returns to the podcast to talk with Lindsay Smith Rogers about Novavax and its potential and what’s behind the delays.


481 - How We Talk About Suicide Matters: A Free Course for Journalists

Suicide is a significant public health problem. News coverage, and how we talk about it with each other, can actually help prevent suicide and connect those who are vulnerable with lifesaving resources. Journalist and MPH suicide expert Aneri Pattani talks with Stephanie Desmon about a free Coursera course she helped develop, Responsible Reporting on Suicide for Journalists, and what we can all learn to help reframe the conversation around hope and resilience. Learn more about the course...


480 - MONDAY Tattoo Parlors and the War on Melanoma

Melanoma is the riskiest, most lethal skin cancer and it’s completely preventable. Dr. Sancy Leachman, the chair of dermatology at the Oregon Health and Science University, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about Oregon’s “War on Melanoma,” an all-fronts effort to educate people on early identification, diagnosis, and prevention of melanoma. They also discuss the role of tattoo parlors in this campaign.


479 - Another COVID Summer—What’s Changed and What Hasn’t

Kicking off our third pandemic summer looks a lot different than the last two….or does it? With more than five times as many COVID cases as this time last year, have we given up on trying to protect ourselves? What should we be focusing on, and does this mean we’re truly learning to live with COVID? Experts Keri Althoff and Elizabeth Stuart return to the podcast to talk with Stephanie Desmon about where we are this pandemic summer, what’s changed, what hasn’t, and where we might be headed.


478 - A Trauma Surgeon and Shooting Survivor Speaks Out: How to Make This Moment a Turning Point for Gun Violence

Dr. Joe Sakran is a Hopkins trauma surgeon and a survivor of gun violence, giving him a unique perspective on this heavy moment in history. He talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about what needs to be done to effectively tackle the complex public health problem of gun violence, and how it will require moral and political courage to finally turn the tide on senseless tragedies.


477 - Unpacking Unexplained Hepatitis in Children

The CDC is investigating reported clusters of children with acute severe hepatitis that have no known cause. Johns Hopkins pediatric hepatologist Dr. Kathryn Smith talks with Stephanie Desmon about hepatitis in children and what we know and don’t know about this particular phenomenon. Ultimately, she says, it’s a question of whether this really is something new or if we’re just now noticing patterns that already existed.


476 - The U.S. Food Safety System

The US has a complex and underfunded approach to food safety that has recently experienced some high profile failures to keep the food supply safe. Former FDA official and legal expert Howard Sklamberg talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the challenges facing FDA and some potential solutions. At the end of the episode is an extra conversation between the two on the recent infant formula recall.


475 - COVID-19 Vaccines For Kids 5 and Under

Many parents of kids ages 5 and under have been anxiously awaiting FDA authorization for vaccines for the youngest age group. Dr. Ruth Karron, one of the world’s leading experts in the development of children’s vaccines, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about why it’s taken so long to authorize vaccines for young children, the evidence behind the safety and efficacy of vaccinating this age group, and what’s likely to happen in the next few weeks.


474 - What We Know—and Don’t Yet Know—About the Leaked Supreme Court Draft Opinion That Could Overturn Roe v. Wade

For the first time in history, a working draft of an opinion by justices of the Supreme Court was leaked to the media and the public. Legal and public health expert Joanne Rosen talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about what the opinion expressly says, why it would upend precedent, and what may happen at the state level. They also discuss the immediate and long-term consequences if it’s passed, including for public health.


Bonus - The Massacre in Uvalde, Texas

Dr. Cass Crifasi, director of research and policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the deadly misperception that there’s nothing to be done about gun violence. They discuss what could have prevented this senseless tragedy—and what must be done to prevent further loss of life.