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The Story Collider

Author: Erin Barker

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Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

444 Episodes
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This week, we present two stories of medical crises, from New York in the 1980s to the present-day opioid epidemic. Part 1: During his residency training, pediatrician Ken Haller comes across a disturbing X-ray. Part 2: Neuroscientist Maureen Boyle's relationship with her sister, who struggles with drug addiction, becomes even more complicated when she begins working on drug policy. Episode transcript at http://www.storycollider.org/2017/8/4/epidemic-stories-of-medical-crises _______________________________ Ken Haller is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He is President of the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the boards of the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT civil rights organization’ and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Ken is also a member of The Story Collider's board. Maureen Boyle is the Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA. She is a neuroscientist who has spent the last 7 years working on behavioral healthcare reform and drug policy. Prior to joining NIDA she was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.  Before getting involved in policy she studied the biological basis of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. When she wants to get out of her brain she runs, does yoga, and tries to apply Pavlov's lessons to her bulldog puppy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In part 2 of Clarity, we’re sharing two more stories about the ways the pandemic has brought our lives into sharper focus. In our first story, comedian Freddy G realizes just how much he relies on his wife’s support when she gets stuck in another state due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our second story is from Trey Kay, host and producer of the Us & Them podcast. In his story, Trey navigates the contrasting pandemic responses in his home of New York and his home state of West Virginia. As always, find photos and transcripts of all of our stories on our website. Stay tuned for our final episode of the Stories of COVID-19 series, airing on Friday and Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The starkness and suddenness of the pandemic has forced many of us to stop and reconsider our lifestyles. In this episode, our storytellers will share tales of how their priorities and values have come into focus since lockdown began. Our first story is from award-winning standup comedian and Story Collider senior producer Gastor Almonte. In his story, Gastor is forced to confront his health issues when he almost dies from undiagnosed diabetes at the start of the pandemic. Find photos and transcripts from all of our stories on our website. After Gastor’s story, our host speaks with Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, who told a story in our Decisions episode. As you may remember, Mati is an infectious disease doctor who researches the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities. In this interview, Mati discusses the ways the pandemic has brought clarity to conversations about structural racism in medicine. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In Part 2 of this episode, we have THREE more stories about how our storytellers are finding community during the pandemic. Don't forget, you can find transcripts and photos from all of our stories on our website. Our first story is from Adam Wade, author of the bestselling Audible Original You Ought to Know Adam Wade. In his story, Adam prepares to celebrate his birthday alone during the pandemic. Our second story comes to us from one of our online story slams! In this story, Amy Segal forms an attachment to a crow she sees on her daily walks during lockdown. Our final story of “Community,” is from Eve Alvarez, a doula, mom, and social entrepreneur. Overwhelmed with responsibilities during the pandemic, Eve Alvarez seizes the opportunity to march for black lives with her teenage son. Stay tuned for our next episode, “Clarity,” on Friday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Right now, while we can’t safely gather together, it can be difficult to feel part of a community. When most of our interactions are through a computer screen, it’s tough to support and inspire each other, celebrate special occasions, and discover new experiences together. But our stories in this episode will explore the ways in which our storytellers managed to do just that. Our first story is from Emily Levesque, an award-winning astrophysicist and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. As telescopes around the world shut down due to the pandemic, Emily longs for the shared experience of gazing up at the sky with others. (Find images and transcripts of all of our stories on our website.) After Emily’s story, our host speaks with clinical psychologist and affective neuroscientist Aaron Heller about how new and diverse experiences (or a lack there of!) affect our mental health. Stay tuned for THREE more stories about Community in Part 2 on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In Part 2 of “Home,” we’ll share two more stories about how storytellers are adapting their home lives during social distancing. Our first story is from Chicago-based storyteller and Story Collider producer Lily Be. In her story, Lily Be decides she needs company during the pandemic -- in the form of a bearded dragon. In our second story, Tazmin Uddin develops a new appreciation for having her big family all under one roof during the pandemic. As always, find photos and transcripts on our website: https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 Stay tuned for our next episode, "Community," on Friday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Over the past few months, our homes have become workplaces, schools, and the backdrop for the majority of our lives. In this episode, our storytellers consider how to adjust to being stuck at home. Our first story is from psychologist (and Story Collider board member!) Ali Mattu. Cooped up with his young outdoor-kid daughter, indoor-kid Ali decides they should venture out into the wild together. Find transcripts and photos from all of our stories on our website. After Ali’s story, our host speaks with Yi-Ling Liu, a journalist based in China, about how families in China have changed post-COVID-19. Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Home” on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Each generation is experiencing the pandemic differently. For some, the trauma of the 1918 pandemic still echoes. Others worry about how to balance their own health and responsibilities with concerns about the health of their parents or children. In this episode, we’ll share stories about the impact of COVID-19 across generations. Our first story is from Mary Sue Kitchen, who was director of the Fairfax County Health Department Laboratory in Virginia for seventeen years from 1995-2012. In Mary Sue’s story, her grandmother's experience of the 1918 pandemic inspires and informs her career in public health. (Find transcripts and photos for each of our stories here: https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19) After Mary Sue’s story, our host speaks with Marta Hanson, associate professor of the history of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, about how we’ve responded to pandemics of the past. Stay tuned for two more stories on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In Part 2 of Connections, we share two more stories about finding new ways to connect during the pandemic. Our first story is from psychologist Shreya Varma, who is based in New Delhi, India. In her story, Shreya struggles to connect with her patients in the same way when she's treating them over web video. Our second story is from storyteller and comedian Ivy Eisenberg. When Ivy's father enters hospice during the pandemic, her family must find a new way to come together to say goodbye. Transcripts and photos are available at https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Note: Apologies for the glitch yesterday! This is an updated version. By necessity, the pandemic is changing the way that we communicate with each other, and the way we care for each other. In these stories, our storytellers find unexpected ways to connect, despite social distancing. Our first story is from computational biologist and Story Collider board member C. Brandon Ogbunu. In his story, Brandon begins to see his friends in a new light after communicating with them through a screen. Find transcripts and photos at https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 After Brandon’s story, our host interviews neuroscientist Daniela Schiller about her research into social interaction during COVID-19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In Part 2 of Decisions, we’re sharing two more stories of difficult choices, one from a physician and another from the director of a public health laboratory. In our first story, medical doctor Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis must make a difficult decision about whether to work home while pregnant during the pandemic. In our final story of this episode, Myra Kunas takes on the significant task of directing the Minnesota Public Health Lab in May -- a task that becomes even more complicated after the tragic murder of George Floyd, when protests and riots take over the streets surrounding her lab. Find transcripts and photos for these stories on our website: https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In the midst of a pandemic, almost every decision feels high stakes, and impossibly complicated. This episode will explore the difficult decisions our storytellers have made, to care for each other and themselves. Our first story is from labor and delivery nurse Amelia Reeves. When tragedy strikes in the maternity ward, Amelia has to decide whether or not to bend the rules. (Find transcripts and photos on our website.) After Amelia’s story, our host interviews University of Pennsylvania Professor of Law and Psychology Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, to explore the psychology behind making decisions in a pandemic. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In part two of this episode, we’ll hear two more stories about adapting to a new normal. Our first story is from bestselling author and champion storyteller Matthew Dicks. When life becomes monotonous during quarantine, Matthew searches for a new experience. In our second story, veterinarian Lauren Adelman struggles to connect with her patients' families due to her clinic’s COVID-19 restrictions. Find transcripts and photos at https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The pandemic has forced us all to adapt in various ways, for the sake of our physical or mental health. The stories in this week’s episode will focus on the ways in which our storytellers have forged new lives and routines for themselves. Our first story is from Fiona Calvert, Story Collider UK producer and science communication officer at Alzheimer's Research UK. Fiona has worked hard to manage her obsessive compulsive disorder, but when the pandemic begins, suddenly triggers are everywhere. After Fiona’s story, our host interviews psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman about how we can adapt to protect our mental health during this time. Stay tuned for two more stories on Monday, from bestselling author Matthew Dicks and veterinarian Lauren Adelman! And see our website for transcripts and photos for all of our stories! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In part 2 of this episode, we’ll explore the theme of cooperation further with two more stories, from a volunteer and an organizer. Our first story is from neuroscientist (and Story Collider senior producer!) Paula Croxson. Longing for connection, Paula decides to volunteer at a local hospital, despite her anxiety about the risks. In our second story, organizer Kiani Conley-Wilson struggles to figure out how she can effect change during the pandemic. Find transcripts and photos on our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode, we explore the ways in which we’re working together to help one another and get things done, despite the significant obstacles and social-distancing restrictions presented by COVID-19. Today, in part one of this episode, we’ll hear a story from Brazilian biologist Diana Bertuol Garcia. In this story, Diana and her research group are alone in the Patagonian fjords when they receive word of the pandemic and must find their way home. After Diana’s story, our host interviews Athena Aktipis, professor of psychology at Arizona State University, and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project, about her research into how we’re cooperating during the pandemic. Find transcripts and photos at https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 And stay tuned for part 2 of “Cooperation” on Monday, Nov. 23! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In part 2 of our first episode, we share two more stories on the theme of Contact. In our first story, Tracey Segarra is laid off from her corporate job during the pandemic, but finds a new calling as a contact tracer. In our second story, writer and performer Jennifer Joy begins developing symptoms of COVID-19 in early March. See storycollider.org for transcripts and photos! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Our series begins in New York City, the center of the early days of the pandemic, with a story from Harvey Katz, one of the hosts and creators of Take Two Storytelling. In this story, Harvey, a brand-new nurse, is thrust into the hectic environment of a Brooklyn ICU at the onset of the pandemic. (Find a transcript and photos at storycollider.org.) Harvey’s story is followed by an interview with social scientist Kasley Killam, on the impact of the loss of physical contact due to the pandemic. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday, Nov. 16! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We’re taking a break from our Stories of COVID-19 series until Jan. 8. But in the meantime, we have a fan-favorite story from one of our online live shows to share with you! Today’s story is from Sam Long, a high school science teacher in Colorado and the co-founder of GenderInclusiveBiology.com and the Colorado Transgender/Nonbinary Educators Network. Growing up, Sam loves learning about biology from his scientist mother. But their relationship starts to change after he asks her, “Can you change if you're a boy or a girl?” Sam’s story was originally told at one of our online live shows in November (“The Real Me”). To access recordings of all of our past online live shows, become one of our Patreon subscribers. Find out more about future online live shows here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In Part 2 of this episode, we’ll share two more stories about the impact of COVID-19 across generations. Our first story is from two storytellers — science communicator Ian Haydon and his mother, retired writer and editor Judy Stokes. Their story begins when Ian calls his mother in March and reveals that he will be participating in a Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial. Our second story is from Krishna Pakala, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Boise State University. In his story, Krishna also receives a fateful phone call — from his family back home in India, telling him that his father has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Find transcripts and photos from all of our stories here: https://www.storycollider.org/stories-of-covid19 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (4)

Muhammad Ahmad

she said "Science" where's Science?

Oct 12th
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Agil Wijaya

i feel bad. i want to hug both of you

Jun 11th
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Derek William Miltimore

Shame that someone like this who is given a platform to spread the word about archaeology, a field that is misunderstood 9 times out of 10 and either thought to be dealing with dinosaurs or Indiana Jones, and she opens by stating that archaeology is Colonial racism... way to go..

May 16th
Reply

crispy

Wonderful episode. As someone whose family has dealt w/ misdiagnoses and close calls, hearing other people stand up for themselves and work through their fears got me choked up and inspired.

Oct 15th
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