Public Health On Call
Evidence and experts to help you understand today’s public health news—and what it means for tomorrow.
info_outline 166: Mental Health Friday Q&A with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Laura Murray 09/25/2020
166: Mental Health Friday Q&A with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Laura Murray How can we deal with all of the unique stressors happening right now? How can families adjust to “back to school,” in whatever form that may take? Is it helpful to have a broader perspective of what’s going on in the world? What should we be doing to prepare for the winter months ahead in terms of our mental health and outlook?
info_outline 165 - Wes Moore on Freddie Gray, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Why Policing is only Part of the Problem 09/24/2020
165 - Wes Moore on Freddie Gray, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and Why Policing is only Part of the Problem Bestselling author Wes Moore remembers the feelings of heartache, anger, and complicity following Freddie Gray’s funeral. Five years later, the Black Lives Matter movement has shown that the issue is much bigger than Baltimore and its policing. Moore talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how the police were the last in a long line of systems to fail Gray throughout his life, how BLM means addressing all stages of the lifecycle of Black people, and how to get people to pay attention and create change.
info_outline 164 - Economist James K. Galbraith on COVID-19 09/23/2020
164 - Economist James K. Galbraith on COVID-19 As the pandemic went on, many in the US came to view public health measures like lockdowns as less important than economic stability. But economist Dr. James Galbraith says this is an incorrect assumption, and that early failures to contain the virus mean the US now has uncontrolled spread and a less resilient economy. Galbraith talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the state of the US economy, the government's failure to launch an effective public health response, and why another shutdown may be necessary.
info_outline 163 - Sports Safety and COVID-19 09/22/2020
163 - Sports Safety and COVID-19 As some schools and leagues resume play, how can parents assess which activities are safer than others? Dr. Tara Kirk Sell—an expert from the Center for Health Security and an Olympic medalist in swimming—talks with Stephanie Desmon about how to think about levels of risk in different sports both on and off the field, how pro teams are thinking through safety, and how they can be messengers for public health. Sell also discusses why watching or participating in sports is important for our well-being.
info_outline 162 - Mayor Walt Maddox on Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama, and COVID-19 09/21/2020
162 - Mayor Walt Maddox on Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama, and COVID-19 The University of Alabama saw some 2,000 cases of COVID-19 within the first few weeks of students returning to campus. Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa and dad to an Alabama freshman, talks with Stephanie Desmon about how intertwined his city is with the university and how town and gown have had to work together to implement public policies to stem the spread. Maddox also talks about the economic impact COVID-19 has had both on the school and the city.
info_outline Bonus - What The Massive West Coast Forest Fires Mean For Our Health 09/18/2020
Bonus - What The Massive West Coast Forest Fires Mean For Our Health Fire season in the western US is starting earlier and ending later each year and has seen larger, more intense fires in the last 10 years. In this bonus episode, Dr. Kirsten Koehler, an expert in air pollution, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the massive fires currently burning on the west coast, the impacts on human health, how individuals can protect themselves, and what the rest of the US can expect as the smoke spreads.
info_outline 161 - Friday COVID Q&A With Dr. Tom Inglesby from the Center for Health Security 09/18/2020
161 - Friday COVID Q&A With Dr. Tom Inglesby from the Center for Health Security What can universities that are opening their campuses for in-person schooling tell us? Are rapid COVID tests as
info_outline 160 - Iceland’s Pandemic Strategy 09/17/2020
160 - Iceland’s Pandemic Strategy Iceland, an island of nation about 400,000 people, has seen fewer than 2,500 COVID-19 cases and only 10 deaths. Dr. Thorolfur Gudnason, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how the pandemic strategy meant they never had to close schools or restaurants, and how its research with genomic sequencing helped shed light on COVID-19 transmission and immunity. Gudnason also talks about the public’s response, how tourism industry has been affected, and his outlook on the next year
info_outline 159 - The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and the Rapidly Escalating Opioid Crisis in Chicago 09/16/2020
159 - The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and the Rapidly Escalating Opioid Crisis in Chicago Chicago has seen drastic increases in opioid-related overdoses and deaths compared to 2019—an uptick that started prior to the arrival of COVID. Dr. Wilnise Jasmin, Medical Director for Behavioral Health, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how the pandemic has exacerbated the opioid epidemic while, at the same time, opening up new opportunities, and how Chicago’s response to COVID-19 includes addressing the mental health needs of its citizens.
info_outline 158 - The COVID-19 “Long-Haulers” Who Remain Debilitated Months After Diagnosis 09/15/2020
158 - The COVID-19 “Long-Haulers” Who Remain Debilitated Months After Diagnosis A cohort of COVID-19 patients—mostly middle-aged women—who experience “mild” disease not only don’t seem to be getting better, they’re developing new symptoms like debilitating cognitive fog, dizziness, and palpitations that linger for months after diagnosis. Dr. David Putrino, the Director of Rehabilitation Innovation at Mt. Sinai Health System in New York, talks with Stephanie Desmon about the emerging phenomenon of “long-haulers.”
info_outline 157 - From the Flint Water Crisis to the COVID Pandemic: An interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha 09/14/2020
157 - From the Flint Water Crisis to the COVID Pandemic: An interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha Flint’s water crisis is far from over, but the city is making progress. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who exposed the crisis, talks to Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how an “unfair and preventable health crisis” became an opportunity to address disparities and do better. This focus on secondary prevention actually helped build up public health infrastructure that’s now used in the COVID-19 response. Hanna-Attisha discusses how COVID-19—also a preventable health crisis—could be a similar wa
info_outline 156 - Friday Q&A: The Dangers COVID-19 Poses to the Heart With Cardiologist Dr. Nisha Gilotra 09/11/2020
156 - Friday Q&A: The Dangers COVID-19 Poses to the Heart With Cardiologist Dr. Nisha Gilotra Why would a virus that primarily affect the lungs also cause a heart attack? How do you treat injury to the heart and is recovery expected? Is there evidence that people with asymptomatic COVID cases could still experience injury to the heart and lungs? Should athletes who have had severe COVID seek a cardiac assessment before returning to sports?
info_outline 155 - How Indoor Ventilation Systems Can Help Prevent or Permit the Spread of COVID-19 09/10/2020
155 - How Indoor Ventilation Systems Can Help Prevent or Permit the Spread of COVID-19 Outdoor interactions are safer when it comes to COVID-19, but what can be done to improve ventilation in buildings? Dr. Ana María Rule, a Hopkins ventilation expert, talks with Stephanie Desmon about how ventilation systems can reduce the risk of exposure, whether heating or air conditioning are different, and whether airplane ventilation systems are better or worse than buildings. Dr. Rule also breaks down a case study of a restaurant in China which led to an outbreak of COVID-19 due to poor ventilation.
info_outline 154 - Dr. Tom LaVeist on How To Think About and Address Inequities Revealed by COVID 09/09/2020
154 - Dr. Tom LaVeist on How To Think About and Address Inequities Revealed by COVID Why are Black people so much more likely to die from COVID than whites in Louisiana and elsewhere? Dr. Tom LaVeist, dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about misconceptions and misunderstandings about race and health. Dr. LaVeist also talks about his work on a COVID-19 task force to make permanent policy changes that will help towards building a healthier and more equitable society after the pandemic.
info_outline 153 - Curating COVID-19 Research: The Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium 09/08/2020
153 - Curating COVID-19 Research: The Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium Thousands of COVID-19-related papers are released every week. But the information is of varying quality and health care workers don’t have time to sift through the deluge. Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Dr. Kate Grabowski talks with Stephanie Desmon about the Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium, a literature curation effort by more than 50 people across collaborating institutions. Every week, the group reviews and summarizes the newest and most exciting COVID-19 research to help those on the front lines.
info_outline 152 - Our Own Josh Sharfstein, a former FDA official, on Politics & the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 09/04/2020
152 - Our Own Josh Sharfstein, a former FDA official, on Politics & the U.S. Food and Drug Administration The FDA last week issued an “emergency use authorization” for convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients – after a press conference attended by the FDA Commissioner at the White House. “Public Health on Call” co-host Josh Sharfstein was second-in-command at the FDA early in the Obama Administration. He talks to Stephanie Desmon about the controversy over the announcement on convalescent plasma and the brewing concern over whether politics could interfere with decisions on a COVID-19 vaccine.
info_outline 151 - Michigan State University President Dr. Sam Stanley on the Decision to Not Bring Students Back to Campus This Fall 09/03/2020
151 - Michigan State University President Dr. Sam Stanley on the Decision to Not Bring Students Back to Campus This Fall Michigan State University decided not to have in-person learning this fall after a notable outbreak in the nearby community, positive tests among athletes who returned to campus, and a review of outbreaks at similar schools. University president Dr. Sam Stanley talks with Stephanie Desmon about that decision and how his experience as an infectious disease doctor has informed his work around COVID-19. Stanley also talks about what went into the polarizing decision to cancel Big Ten football this fall.
info_outline 150 - University of Michigan’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Preeti Malani Returns to Talk About COVID-19 Safety on Campus This Fall 09/02/2020
150 - University of Michigan’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Preeti Malani Returns to Talk About COVID-19 Safety on Campus This Fall The University of Michigan plans to conduct an in-person semester this fall. Dr. Preeti Malani is back to talk with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about the public health strategies in place to mitigate risk, changes to physical spaces, efforts being made to promote safety in the off hours, and her concerns about COVID-19 preparation not eclipsing other health issues like depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
info_outline 149 - California Senator Dr. Richard Pan On Threats to Public Health Officials During COVID-19 09/01/2020
149 - California Senator Dr. Richard Pan On Threats to Public Health Officials During COVID-19 The pandemic has seen health officers being attacked online, threatened at their private homes, fired or forced into resigning. But although the hyper-polarization of COVID-19 has further contributed to an erosion of trust in institutions, these tactics aren’t new. California Senator Dr. Richard Pan talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about a small but vocal group that opposes public health measures like vaccines and the bullying and intimidation tactics they’ve used against health officials in recent years.
info_outline 148 - The Potential and Pitfalls of Digital Technologies in Low-Resource Settings for the COVID-19 Response 08/31/2020
148 - The Potential and Pitfalls of Digital Technologies in Low-Resource Settings for the COVID-19 Response In low-resource settings worldwide, poor infrastructure like transportation may impede pandemic response efforts. In these settings, digital technologies—used to deliver test results, manage cases, and support contact tracing—can help amplify public health services. Guest host Sara Bennett talks with Smisha Argawal, research director for the Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative, about the potential and pitfalls of these platforms and what decision makers should assess to implement people-centered solutions
info_outline 147 - Dr. Laura Murray Returns for Another COVID-19 Mental Health Q&A 08/28/2020
147 - Dr. Laura Murray Returns for Another COVID-19 Mental Health Q&A How can we think about the long-term impacts of disruption caused by COVID-19 on kids and adults? How can we get kids to talk about their feelings? Are we becoming “numb” to COVID and taking more risks? How can we reconcile feelings of blame towards people who might be making decisions we wouldn’t make?
info_outline 146 - Innovative Responses to COVID-19 in Baltimore 08/27/2020
146 - Innovative Responses to COVID-19 in Baltimore Since Baltimore shut down in mid-March, health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa and her team have been working to implement response strategies that meet the city’s unique needs. Public-private partnerships have bolstered mobile testing in COVID-19 hotspots. A historic hotel was converted to care for unstably housed people in isolation and quarantine. Dr. Dzirasa talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about these and other innovative approaches, and her hopes and concerns for the future.
info_outline Back to School 2020: What Leaders, Teachers, and Parents Need to Know to Plan for the Year Ahead 08/26/2020
Back to School 2020: What Leaders, Teachers, and Parents Need to Know to Plan for the Year Ahead How should schools react to positive cases? How can teachers and parents help children manage distress caused by uncertainty, distance learning, and what may be a year of continuous closings and reopenings? In a recent webcast, Johns Hopkins experts Josh Sharfstein, Jennifer Nuzzo, Annette Anderson, and Tamar Mendelson discussed what’s next—and the different scenarios that leaders, teachers, parents, and students may face in the coming months depending on the pandemic’s trajectory in their communities
info_outline 145 - How Maryland Employers are Dealing with COVID-19 Safety, Employee Leave, and School and Childcare Closures 08/26/2020
145 - How Maryland Employers are Dealing with COVID-19 Safety, Employee Leave, and School and Childcare Closures COVID-19 has presented a variety of challenges for employers including leave needed by employees who are sick or taking care of someone who is, employees with children who are out of school or daycare, and employee concerns of risk as they return to the workplace. Maryland employment lawyer Jennifer Curry talks with Stephanie Desmon about how employers are thinking about these challenges, existing legislation, and what the next year might look like for schools in terms of employment and safety.
info_outline 144 - COVID-19 and UNC Chapel Hill 08/25/2020
144 - COVID-19 and UNC Chapel Hill UNC Chapel Hill brought students back to campus for fall and had to close a week later after COVID-19 cases began surging among students. Dr. Mimi Chapman, chair of faculty, talks with Stephanie Desmon about the decision to bring back students, what the university has since learned, and why UNC’s outbreak is not unique in the context of the US’s larger problems with controlling the epidemic.
info_outline 143 - COVID-19 and the Food System 08/24/2020
143 - COVID-19 and the Food System COVID-19 has revealed many weaknesses about the US food system: 14 million children are now regularly missing meals while farmers are dumping millions of pounds of food, and COVID-19 death rates are higher among people with food-related illnesses such as diabetes. Dr. Roy Steiner and Paula Daniels, co-contributors to Reset the Table, a new report from the Rockefeller Foundation, talk with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about these failures and propose solutions to fix them.
info_outline 142 - Asymptomatic Infection with COVID-19 08/21/2020
142 - Asymptomatic Infection with COVID-19 Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, argues that a key to beating COVID-19 is increasing the proportion of infections that cause no symptoms. But how? Dr. Gandhi explains to Dr. Josh Sharfstein the answer may be as simple as having more people wear masks.
info_outline 141 - Rethinking Nursing Homes Post-COVID-19 08/20/2020
141 - Rethinking Nursing Homes Post-COVID-19 Nursing homes and other long term care facilities have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 in part because of inherent weaknesses in their structure and management that leave residents vulnerable to infectious diseases. Most private companies also have a financial model that is critically challenged by the pandemic. Dr. David Grabowski, a health policy researcher and professor at Harvard, talks with Dr. Josh Sharfstein about how COVID-19 has exposed an existential crisis facing U.S. nursing homes.
info_outline 140 - Rethinking School Closures in COVID-19 08/19/2020
140 - Rethinking School Closures in COVID-19 Regardless of whether schools kick off online, in person, or with a hybrid approach this fall, there will be learning disruptions to consider. Dr. Ruth Faden of the Berman Institute of Bioethics and Dr. Annette Anderson of the Johns Hopkins School of Education talk with Stephanie Desmon about now COVID-19 is exacerbating growing inequities around achievement, development, and graduation rates and how under-resourced schools could rethink instruction.
info_outline 139 - COVID-19 and Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Tribe 08/18/2020
139 - COVID-19 and Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Tribe On April 1, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded among Arizona’s White Mountain Apache tribe. New cases quickly mounted to 70 a day among the close-knit community. Even though the state remained fairly relaxed, Tribal Chairwoman Gwendena Lee Gatewood quickly shut down the reservation and implemented strict stay at home orders. Her fast and effective response to the crisis means that, today, the number of daily new infections is less than 10.