THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2023
New Ways to Solve Big Health Problems: Lola Adedokun, Aspen Global Innovators GroupLola Adedokun is executive director of the Aspen Global Innovators Group, which advances a portfolio of programs focused on health and prosperity in the U.S. and around the world. This work includes a focus on what she calls powerful women who are redesigning health systems to better meet the needs of families. Join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter as Adedokun explains how local leaders are at the forefront of designing solutions that work for local populations.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Former White House COVID Coordinator Dr. Jha: Debate About Boosters for Young People Is OKDr. Ashish Jha, the former White House COVID Coordinator, says he expects vaccines updated for this fall will provide a “great deal of protection” but he acknowledges there are questions about whether a young person should get the booster. “My best read of the literature is that, yes, they should [get the COVID booster shot]. A reasonable person could read the literature and say, ‘I don’t know if that’s true and let’s have that debate.’” Dr. Jha says, unfortunately, that discussion is clouded by what he calls “nonsense and bad information” that causes confusion and ends up harming people. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to soon approve the new shots.Dr. Jha, making his fifth appearance on the syndicated interview program “Conversations on Health Care,” also addressed the lingering mystery about COVID’s origins. “Anyone who tells you for sure they know exactly how it started probably is trying to sell you something. Early in 2020 my view was that it was more likely than not a natural origin [as opposed to a lab leak]. I still believe, and maybe I’m one the few people out there who does, that we can get to the bottom of this but we need a lot more transparency from China.” Dr. Jha has returned to his role as dean at Brown University School of Public Health. He spoke to hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter as “Conversations on Health Care,” a production of Moses/Weitzman Health System, Inc., marked its 14th season.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2023
Mayo Clinic Long COVID Expert Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn: Cases Down as Stigma ContinuesThe director of Mayo Clinic's COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program says they’re seeing a decrease in Long COVID cases, likely due to variant changes and the effectiveness of vaccines. Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn describes Long COVID as a group of symptoms that linger longer than the normal COVID recovery period. He says fatigue and physical complaints decrease but patients have lingering cognitive effects like brain fog. Unfortunately, Dr. Vanichkachorn says patients can still face stigma for the condition and he says some clinicians also do when they deliver such a diagnosis. In order to reach everyone, clinicians are increasing efforts to inform diverse populations, including hourly workers and farmers who may be coping in silence. Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter also learn how olfactory retraining and cognitive behavioral therapy are encouraged for Long COVID patients.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2023
U.S. Suicide Rates at All-Time High: American Psychiatric Association President RespondsFederal provisional data shows more people died from suicide in the United States last year than any other year on record. American Psychiatric Association President Dr. Petros Levounis is at the center of efforts to prevent suicides, with substance use addictions a key part of his focus. He and the 38,000 APA members have launched a campaign called “Confronting Addiction: From Prevention to Recovery.”Dr. Levounis discusses vaping, opioids, alcohol and the rapidly growing addiction to tech.Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter also ask him about the need to hold health plans accountable to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2023
Community Health Legend Dr. Carl Lecce: Lessons LearnedThe nation’s expanded focus on community health and family (or primary) care didn’t just occur by chance. It took the dedicated commitment of professionals across the country to make it happen. This week we present a special edition of “Conversations on Health Care” with Dr. Carl Lecce. For 45 years he’s served as a family physician with Community Health Center in Middletown, Connecticut. Our hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter have worked closely with Dr. Lecce through the years and their reflections give us all insights into the challenges and opportunities for making health care a right and “not a privilege.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2023
Interview with NBC’s Dr. John Torres On Location at Aspen Ideas: HealthMillions look to NBC News Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres for advice and insights about their health. But how is he coping with surveys that show Americans lost trust in mainstream media during the pandemic and are increasingly turning to social media for health news? He gives us good advice about where to go for verified information.Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter also ask him about his role with NATO Special Forces on a variety of initiatives including tactical combat casualty care, combat simulations, and medical leadership. Join us for this special conversation, recorded on location at Aspen Ideas: Health.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 3, 2023
Record Heat Wave: L.A.’s Chief Heat Officer Speaks OutScientists say this July was the Earth’s warmest month on record in “hundreds, if not thousands, of years.” The City of Los Angeles is taking a unique approach to help its people deal with the record-breaking temperatures through the leadership of Marta Segura, one of the few appointed chief heat officers in the world. Her work is focused on finding solutions when the weather causes physical and mental health issues and she’s keeping equity at the forefront of their efforts.She has tough words in her interview with hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter, including criticism of the Texas governor for nullifying local ordinances that had provided workers protection from devastating, triple-digit temperatures.
THURSDAY, JULY 27, 2023
Have a Way to Beat an Illness? These Federal Experts Need to Hear From YouWe’re on location at Aspen Ideas-Health, talking with the leaders of a new innovation effort. Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is backed by $2.5 billion dollars in federal money with a mandate to accelerate better health outcomes for everyone. The initiative aims to work outside of traditions with a “range of performers and a variety of approaches to solve” health care’s biggest hurdles. Can they find a way to reduce cancer deaths? That’s one of the questions hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter ask Renee Wegrzyn, ARPA-H’s director and Amy Jenkins, its director of Health Science Futures.
THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2023
Latest on Long COVID: NIH Study Leader Leora Horwitz, MDOne of the nation’s top experts on Long COVID explains that it’s still a mystery why virus symptoms remain months and sometimes years after an infection. Dr. Leora Horwitz helps lead the National Institute of Health’s study of Long COVID. She’s the director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science at NYU Langone Health, where they’re integrating the research activities of almost 200 clinical sites. She says they have found evidence of the virus persisting as well as inflammation or irritation in the bodies of some patients, which may be contributing to the condition. Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter also ask Dr. Horwitz to explain the new working definition of Long COVID, which is helping the medical community move beyond any one individual symptom to describe it.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2023
HHS Sec. Becerra’s Exclusive Interview With “Conversations on Health Care”U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra joins “Conversations on Health Care” to answer questions about the big issues he’s facing as the nation’s top health official. Most importantly, he’s dealing with the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision turning abortion law over to the states. Secretary Becerra says, “A woman is three times more likely to die of a complication during pregnancy if she happens to reside in a state that restricts her access to abortion care services. We are seeing women and their health harmed simply because of the politics in that state …we’re doing everything we can to continue to protect a woman’s right to access the care she needs including abortion care.” Secretary Becerra leads a $1.7 trillion agency that’s also preparing for the fall vaccination season, ensuring Americans eligible for Medicaid stay enrolled, and planning for his department’s new power to negotiate for drug prices. Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter ask him to weigh in on all these issues in this week’s edition.
THURSDAY, JULY 6, 2023
Tough, Feisty, Visionary: Mount Sinai’s CEO On Location at Aspen Ideas: HealthDr. Kenneth Davis, CEO of Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, juggles a multitude of challenges operating one of the largest systems in the U.S. These include trying to overcome hurdles with a population health initiative as an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service insurance model and defending its Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Davis also reflects on how he and his colleagues traversed the early COVID wave. Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter talked with Dr. Davis on location at Aspen Ideas: Health, a premier gathering of health care leaders and influencers.
THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2023
Dr. Fauci Tells “Conversations on Health Care” On Location at Aspen Ideas: We Need More COVID Booster ShotsDr. Anthony Fauci shared a sobering message with “Conversations on Health Care”: In the past year about 20% of Americans have received the COVID booster vaccine; “that’s not good if you really want to get a degree of immunity that you can lift up,” he says. Fauci explains that getting to 50% should be the goal. “What we’re hoping is that people who come in with the uptake of a flu vaccine would also come in…at the same time, the same day…[get the] COVID [one]. The new vaccine is not going to be a bivalent, it’s going to be a monovalent Omicron derivative.” The fall 2023 COVID vaccine is currently awaiting FDA approval.Fauci also reflected on the tense relationship between China and the United States. “The more we make accusations and the more we push against them, the more they pull back and in order to be able to have the kind of broad, global surveillance, global cooperation, global collaboration, you’ve got to have a relationship the way we had before COVID.” He also acknowledged that the Chinese have been very obtuse and secretive.Fauci, speaking at Aspen Ideas: Health, harkened back to the bipartisan creation two decades ago of the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is credited with saving 25 million lives in under-resourced countries. Fauci also shared that he’s making progress on his memoir, with a manuscript due by the end of the year and an expected publish date by the first half of 2024. He was interviewed by “Conversations on Health Care” hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter; they’re grateful to Aspen Ideas: Health leaders for inviting the program to hold one-on-one interviews during the gathering.
THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2023
A Right to Health? The U.S. Legal Case for Making it HappenLaw professor and public policy advocate Christina S. Ho’s new book, “Normalizing an American Right to Health,” boldly makes the legal case for health as a right that should already exist in the United States. She explains why and unpacks how reinsurance and a Health Impact Assessment fit into her analysis. Join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter as she wonders why we can provide government subsidies for things like fracking, which has negative health effects, but avoid doing more to guarantee health for all. In addition, Ho answers critics who say access to care can’t be universal.
FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2023
Roe Reversal: 1 Year Since Supreme Court Took Away Federal Right to AbortionJune 24 will mark the one-year anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling, taking away the constitutional right to abortion. That decision negated nearly five decades of legal precedent and pushed the abortion question to the 50 state legislatures. This week’s guests explain the effect of the ruling on women and maternal health in ways that are just now starting to be fully understood. Dr. Herminia Palacio is president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, which seeks to expand reproductive rights and Robin Marty is director of operations at West Alabama Women's Center, which had to cease offering abortions nearly 12 months ago. They join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter to discuss how women are still getting abortions in restricted states, why states’ gestational limits for abortion are dangerous and the political challenges ahead.
THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2023
The Doctor & ChatGPT Will See You Now: Is This the Future?The World Health Organization recently issued a statement expressing concern about artificial intelligence in health care. Mayo Clinic’s Chief Information Officer Cris Ross, who’s been leading innovation projects for over 30 years, says “perhaps” we should be worried about ChatGPT.“These technologies are value-neutral but their usage is not necessarily value-neutral. Bad people can use good technology for bad purposes. So I think there’s a very robust debate about whether these technologies should be regulated, whether they can be regulated, and if they are regulated, how we should do that,” says Ross.Listen in as he takes hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter through this brave new world that promises to affect every part of health care.
THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2023
The Expanding Obesity Revolution: New OptionsAs many Americans start the summer stressed about their physiques and health, there are important developments. Drug-makers report successful mid-stage trials for oral compounds that could soon join the injectable prescription medication to treat obesity that’s already on the market. Dr. Jamy Ard, president-elect of The Obesity Society, says he believes oral obesity medications offer new options for those not comfortable with an injectable drug and for those who suffer adverse side effects from current offerings. He also believes more choices will lower prices for consumers. “I think we’re at a watershed moment, this is really sort of an inflection point if you will, in thinking about the potential change in the landscape and how we conceptualize treatment of obesity. For the longest [time], a lot of the basic thinking about how we treat obesity was rooted in it was just a calorie imbalance…people were eating too much and exercising too little. As you know, that clearly has not worked,” says Dr. Ard. He shares more insights on “Conversations on Health Care” with hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter.
THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2023
Will Patients Listen If Health Care Providers Talk Climate Change?Dr. Vivian Lee, an author and senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School, is impressed by a study that found a large majority of patients responded in a favorable way when a pediatrician shared climate change details during well-child visits. She joins hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter to explain why we need health care providers and health systems to step up to do more about the undeniable risks from climate change. Listen in as they discuss her perspective and her book, “ The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone.”
THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2023
Reaction to New CDC Ventilation Targets in Light of COVIDThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just updated its ventilation guidance on helping prevent indoor transmission of the virus that causes COVID. It includes a recommendation to get at least five air changes per hour of clean air in occupied spaces.Dr. Joseph G. Allen and other experts have been advocating for this guidance even before the pandemic. He’s the associate professor and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Allen tells “Conversations on Health Care,” that “Making indoor air healthier came into the mainstream during the COVID-19 pandemic. New ventilation targets from the CDC are a key advancement of that work and are a historic public health achievement that can help normalize health-based indoor air quality standards. This new guidance can help mitigate indoor transmission of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, and also help against other airborne hazards such as wildfire smoke and allergens.”Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter talked to Dr. Allen last year and we’re sharing the episode again to highlight these important issues.
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2023
COVID Emergency Ends but Mental Health Issues RemainToday, as the United States officially ends the COVID public health emergency, we know too many Americans continue to deal with the aftereffects of the pandemic, including mental health and substance abuse challenges.Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., serves as Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She joins hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter to explain plans for dealing with the fact there are more Americans dying of drug overdoses now than at any time in modern history. Research also shows over 5 million Americans are struggling with an opioid addiction.
THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2023
COVID Investigator Praises Community Health Workers: “Huge Innovation”Philip Zelikow, co-author of the new book "Lessons from the COVID War,” has an important finding as the U.S. still grapples with the tough questions from the pandemic:“We point out in the report that community health workers can play this extraordinary role…where we had them [during the pandemic], they were really effective and that’s like a huge innovation that should punch out to us as a lesson from this war and can have a dramatic effect in America,” says Zelikow.He also explains to Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter that “to this day, most patients who get COVID are not being properly treated with available medications.” Zelikow concludes a lack of preparedness is one of the main reasons the country performed so badly during the past three years.
Episodes - Community Health Center Presents Conversations on Health Care
Conversations on Health Care is a radio show about the opportunities for reform and innovation in the health care system.