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Public Health On Call

Author: The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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Evidence and experts to help you understand today’s public health news—and what it means for tomorrow.
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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 whether boosters really work.
About this episode: Our mental health and well-being are shaped by our environment: access to green space can be beneficial, while cities with high population density can affect the risk for mood, anxiety, or even substance use disorders. A recent study explores how cities can be more mental health-friendly for adolescents and emphasizes the importance of life skills, open-minded interpersonal relationships, safe public spaces, secure employment, and youth-inclusive policy-making. Guest: Dr. Pamela Collins is a Bloomberg Centennial Professor and chair of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Host: Stephanie Desmon, MA, is a former journalist, author, and the director of public relations and communications for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the largest center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: Making cities mental health friendly for adolescents and young adults—Nature Research Identifies Characteristics of Cities That Would Support Young People’s Mental Health—Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health World Mental Health Day: Mental Health is a Universal Human Right—Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About this episode: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, world health officials agreed that many more lives could have been saved had there been better global coordination. In 2021, countries came together to draft a pandemic treaty committing to better future responses and pledging to sign it within two years. But deadlines have come and gone, the draft revised many times over. In a race to secure an agreement before the next pandemic, countries must reckon with historic inequities, vaccine access, data sharing, and more. Guests: Alexandra Phelan is an expert in global health law and an associate professor and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Host: Lindsay Smith Rogers, MA, is the producer of the Public Health On Call podcast, an editor for Expert Insights, and the director of content strategy for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: Ignore the disinformation—the US is safer with a global pandemic treaty—The Hill (Opinion) The world needs the new pandemic treaty—STAT (Opinion) A pandemic agreement is within reach—Science Global pandemic treaty to be concluded by 2025, WHO says—Reuters Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
Overview: An uptick of measles cases in the U.S. is raising concerns, especially heading into summer when travelers may bring back more cases from Europe. This most infectious human virus can cause severe and even fatal complications, especially for unvaccinated children—sometimes years after what seemed to be a mild case. Pandemic disruptions and rampant mis- and disinformation online have contributed to declining rates of vaccination that leave some communities especially vulnerable to measles outbreaks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with states, health departments, and the general public to communicate around the danger of measles, the safety of vaccines, and what people can do once they’ve been exposed. Guests: Dr. David Sugerman is the incident manager for measles response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Dan Filardo is a medical officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention working to fight measles across the country. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links and related content: Measles Cases and Outbreaks Dashboard—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Assessing Measles Outbreak Risk in the United States—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Learn the Signs. Act Early. (Autism campaign)—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC Official Urges Parents to Get Measles Vaccine for Children—Health News Florida Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
Overview: The International Criminal Court, a justice system inspired by the Nuremburg tribunals after World War II, holds individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  In May 2024, the Court's chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants for three leaders of Hamas and, separately, for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, for alleged crimes on October 7, 2023 and in the war in Gaza that followed. Len Rubenstein is Distinguished Professor of the Practice and Interim Director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this episode, he breaks down the Court’s processes, explains the allegations against both Hamas and Israeli leaders, answers questions that have surfaced about the allegations, and argues that the Court is essential for accountability for human rights and public health around the world. Guest: Len Rubenstein is a human rights lawyer and Distinguished Professor of the Practice and Interim Director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns and interim director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links and related content: Statement of ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC: Applications for arrest warrants in the situation in the State of Palestine—International Criminal Court Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War—Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Human Rights and Health Care in the Middle East Crisis—Public Health On Call Podcast War Crimes and Russia’s Bombing of Mariupol Maternity Hospital in Ukraine—Public Health On Call Podcast Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
Overview: Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021 amidst a national reckoning with race. Four years later, the observation finds us at a time of continued polarization and attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Reflecting on the historical significance of Juneteenth can help us think about how to celebrate and observe the day, and how to recommit to healing and social justice work as individuals, communities, and society. Guest: Joel Bolling is the assistant dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-racism, and Equity at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Host: Lindsay Smith Rogers, MA, is the producer of the Public Health On Call podcast, an editor for Expert Insights, and the director of content strategy for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: Systemic Equity—Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine Health History: Health and Longevity Since the Mid-19th Century—Stanford Slavery & the Making of the Atlantic World—Able Museum Structural Racism Explained—Othering & Belonging Institute, UC Berkeley Historical Context: Facts about the Slace Trade and Slavery—The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Center Report Uses Research to Fight Attacks on DEI—USC Race and Equity Center The Assault on DEI—The Chronicle of Higher Education https://magazine.publichealth.jhu.edu/2020/systemic-equity Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About this episode: The U.S. Coast Guard is charged with safeguarding Americans through missions including maritime law enforcement, antiterrorism operations, and search and rescue. Members of the Coast Guard carry out these missions at sea and in the air in all sorts of extreme conditions requiring specialized medical care to ensure their health and safety. In this episode, we hear from a flight surgeon who talks about his work caring for military aviators, as well as some of the most challenging moments of his career, including Hurricane Katrina and being the medical director for the Coast Guard Academy during COVID. Guest: Dr. Esan Simon is the medical director for the Coast Guard Academy. Previously, he was a flight surgeon for the Coast Guard since 2004. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links and related content: Steadfast: How one Coast Guard captain navigates the uncharted seas of life Back to School? Reopening a University During the COVID-19 Pandemic—Public Health On Call University of Michigan’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Preeti Malani Returns to Talk About COVID-19 Safety on Campus This Fall—Public Health On Call The State of COVID On Campus at The University of Michigan—Public Health On Call Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About this episode: What is the relationship between food industry giants like General Mills and a social media movement aimed at pushing back on diet culture and unrealistic body images? An investigation by health journalists at The Examination found that food companies and dieticians appear to be co-opting the hashtag “antidiet” to promote their products. Guest: Sasha Chavkin is a senior reporter with The Examination Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links and related content: As obesity rises, Big Food and dieticians push “anti-diet” advice—The Examination The food industry pays “influencer’ dieticians to shape your eating habits—The Washington Post Dietician Influencers On Social Media Are Being Paid By The Food Industry to Promote Products and Messages—Public Health On Call Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About the episode: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, has been the gold standard for buying time in a medical emergency. But it’s not very effective, especially for the majority of cardiac arrest cases. What is much more effective: employing advanced machinery like ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, that can keep people alive for hours or even days and weeks while physicians address the medical emergency and the body heals. But can emergency medicine shift to get more patients on ECMO faster? Guest: Dr. Demetris Yannopoulous is a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School where he is the director of resuscitation medicine. Host: Stephanie Desmon, MA, is a former journalist, author, and the director of public relations and communications for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the largest center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: The Race to Reinvent CPR—The New York Times ECPR Could Prevent Many More Cardiac Deaths—Scientific American  Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About this episode: June 8 would mark the 80th birthday of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Johns Hopkins known for being part of the first team to implant an automatic defibrillator in a human patient. But Dr. Watkins was so much more: a civil rights and political activist, a champion of Black and other people who are underrepresented in medicine, and a snappy dresser with a great sense of humor. Today, two people who knew and worked with Dr. Watkins share their memories as we celebrate his legacy. Guests: Dr. Lisa Cooper is a public health physician, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, and a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine. Steven Ragsdale is a former senior administrator at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a faculty member in Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links and related content: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Levi Watkins Jr.—YouTube Levi Watkins, 70, Dies; Pioneering Heart Surgeon Pushed Civil Rights—New York Times Levi Watkins Jr., pioneering Hopkins cardiac surgeon and civil rights activist, dies at 70—Johns Hopkins Hub Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About the episode: Colorectal cancers are rising among people under age 50. There are a number of theories as to why and also promising data around early detection. In today’s episode: A deep dive into the epidemiology of colorectal cancers including who is most at risk, a look at the screening tools currently available, and why blood tests may be even more valuable than costly and invasive colonoscopies. Guest: Dr. Otis Brawley is a globally-recognized expert in cancer prevention and control whose work focuses on developing cancer screening strategies and ensuring their effectiveness. He is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in epidemiology with a joint appointment in oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. He was the former Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society. Host: Stephanie Desmon, MA, is a former journalist, author, and the director of public relations and communications for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the largest center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: Effect of Colonoscopy Screening on Risks of Colorectal Cancer and Related Death—The New England Journal of Medicine A Cell-free DNA Blood-Based Test for Colorectal Cancer Screening—The New England Journal of Medicine The Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
About this episode: One in five U.S. adults is taking five or more prescription drugs at a time, often for years without reassessment of need, dosage, or possible interactions. Today, a look at polypharmacy and why it’s important for physicians to periodically check in with patients about all the prescription—and nonprescription—drugs they’re taking. The guests also discuss the importance of considering non-pharmaceutical treatments like physical or talk therapy, and empowering patients and their care partners to ask questions about what they’re being prescribed. Guests: Dr. Cynthia Boyd is a geriatrician and faculty at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She is also a senior associate with the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health. Dr. Ariel Green is a geriatrician and faculty at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She is also a core faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. Host: Stephanie Desmon, MA, is a former journalist, author, and the director of public relations and communications for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the largest center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Show links and related content: Taking Multiple Medications? You May Need to Scale Back.—The New York Times Taking more than 5 pills in a day? ‘Deprescribing’ can prevent harm—especially for older people—The Conversation Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or visit our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
Cruise ships are congregate settings where infectious diseases can quickly spread. But, there’s a lot that the industry and individuals can do to stay healthy and avoid, shall we say, explosive outbreaks. In today’s episode, learn about the most common culprits—including norovirus, food-borne illness, and COVID-19—and how people can think about safety from initial booking to final disembarkment and all the ports of call in between. Guest: Dr. Tara Palmore is an infectious disease physician at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links: The CDC’s Cruise Ship Travel Information Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or on our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
It’s graduation time at the Bloomberg School! Doctoral candidate Francesca Marino joins the podcast to talk about how her interest in neuroscience led her to pursue a degree in epidemiology, and about her research looking into whether and how daily patterns of physical activity tracked through a wearable device could indicate cognitive health or decline. Guest: Dr. Francesca Marino is a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health whose research focuses on the epidemiology of aging. Host: Dr. Josh Sharfstein is vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a faculty member in health policy, a pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department. Show links: Associations of Physical Activity and Heart Rate Variability from a Two-Week ECG Monitor with Cognitive Function and Dementia: the ARIC Neurocognitive Study—PubMed Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Activity, Sleep & Dementia—Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine Get the transcript for this episode (PDF) Contact us: Have a question about something you heard? Want to suggest a topic or guest? Contact us via email or on our website. Follow us: @‌PublicHealthPod on X @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Instagram @‌JohnsHopkinsSPH on Facebook @‌PublicHealthOnCall on YouTube Here's our RSS feed
Armed internal conflict  in Sudan has created a humanitarian crisis with millions of people displaced both internally and to neighboring countries. Dr. Salim Mohamednour, a medical epidemiologist with expertise in emergency response and the national health coordinator at the WHO country office in Sudan, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the unfolding catastrophe and what needs to be done. Special thanks to Aseel Salih, Hassan Salih, and Laila Zomorodian, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health students who assisted with the production of this podcast. A note that Dr. Mohamednour is not representing the WHO on the podcast. Content warning: this episode contains depictions of violence. Listeners interested in contributing can consider supporting the World Food Program, the  Sudanese American Physicians Association, and Sadagaat. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
The planetary health crisis can’t be ignored in hospitals where patients are sick from climate-driven things like asthma from air quality emergencies, COVID-19 from a zoonotic spillover event, and cardiovascular complications from heat waves. Chris Lemon, an ER doctor and Bloomberg Health Initiative fellow who focuses on the intersection of climate change and health, talks with Stephanie Desmon about his work bringing planetary health dialogue to hospital staff while also looking at ways health systems can lower their massive carbon footprints. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
From mushrooms to microscopic organisms, fungi represent a serious—and still relatively unexplored—threat to human health. Dr. Arturo Casadevall returns to the podcast to talk about his new book, What If Fungi Win? which looks at why certain fungal infections take off, why they’re so hard to treat, and why we will most certainly see more of them with climate change and treatment-resistant strains. Learn more. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
Johnson v. Grants Pass, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, raises the question of whether homelessness can be criminalized. Ashley Meehan, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the public health dimensions of this issue. They discuss her research looking into what happens to people after encampment sweeps and what policies would benefit not only people experiencing homelessness but their communities and cities as well. Listen to our previous episode on this issue. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
Dengue, or “break-bone fever”—a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause serious fever, rash, muscle and joint pain and even problems with bleeding and shock—is surging around the world and popping up in new places like the U.S. Vaccine expert Anna Durbin returns to the podcast to talk with Stephanie Desmon about these trends and the general status of vaccines, treatments, and prevention. Learn more. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
More than a decade after electronic cigarettes became broadly available in the United States, their merits are still being debated. Do these products help people quit smoking? How serious are the health risks associated with these products? In a two-part series, we hear from two researchers in tobacco control about their views. In part two, Stan Glantz, the Truth Initiative Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control at the University of California San Francisco talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about his research into the harms of electronic cigarettes and the dangers of "dual use" of electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. In an epilogue, Public Health On Call audio producer Matt Martin talks with Lindsay Smith Rogers about his personal history of tobacco use – including his efforts to quit with electronic cigarettes. Read Glantz’s paper in New England Journal of Medicine Evidence. Listen to part one of the series. Get the transcript for this episode (PDF)
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Comments (6)

Shiva Tolouei

There is a question here! Could Covid 19 virus made to use as a way to control people against dictatorship in countries? for example by long lasting qarantine ? or use to reducing the population (kill people)who dont pay attention to forces and laws and regulatulions?

Jan 26th
Reply

Accordionbabe

Best podcast for covid information. Comprehensive, experienced guests for getting true data and updates, best practices.

Jan 29th
Reply

Ava

thanks for your information

Jan 14th
Reply

Accordionbabe

Thank you for this excellent episode on racism. Your discussion of how change and re-evaluation of public health delivery, and the use of more comprehensive data collection gives me hope. i am grateful for this podcast.

Jul 1st
Reply

Accordionbabe

Such a great podcast. I begin here daily. Highly recommended and trustworthy.

Jun 18th
Reply

msd jfl

Tnx

Mar 10th
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