WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2021
“Not the Doomsday Variant”: Dr. Eric Topol’s Concerns Around Omicron and America’s Low Fully Vaccinated Rate
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Eric Topol, Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, for his perspective on the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. He says early data shows that it is highly transmissible, but apparently not more deadly. His greater concern is around the current Delta surge leading to more infections, low vaccination rates in developing countries leading to more variants, and the “abysmal” vaccination performance in the U.S. He says mRNA vaccines should be considered a 3-dose protocol, and that rapid testing and virus sequencing should be more broadly deployed to stop the spread of the virus.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021
Health News This Week: Omicron Makes Gains Around the World as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Hear Mississippi Abortion Case
ts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter examine the latest details about the omicron COVID variant, including the important role community health centers continue to play in the pandemic. In addition, we revisit their recent conversation with Planned Parenthood Federation of America President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson on the Supreme Court hearing on the Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks, posing the greatest threat to Roe v. Wade in half a century. She also talks about systematic efforts in many states limiting women's access to abortion, and examines the previous administration’s Title X abortion ‘gag’ rule, which seriously impeded access to reproductive health services, creating particular hardship for vulnerable women. She expects the conservative-leaning high court will ultimately rule to undermine Roe.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2021
UN Climate Summit Fell Short, But Gary Cohen Says President Biden’s Build Back Better Act Holds Great Promise
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Gary Cohen, Founder of Health Care Without Harm, an award-winning global non-profit seeking to create an environmentally-responsible health system. Winner of the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Genius Grant’ for his work reducing the health industry's pollution footprint, he says the COP26 UN Climate summit in Glasgow didn’t go far enough to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which means a billion people will be exposed to dangerous heat stress. Mr. Cohen says the recently-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill makes some progress addressing climate change, but that the President’s Build Back Better Act could have a dramatic impact. He says de-carbonizing the nation's health industry will build healthier communities and address health inequity.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2021
Rocketing with Captain Kirk To A New Frontier: Astronaut Glen de Vries on New Era of Innovation In Space Travel and Health Care
Update (11/12/2021): We are devastated to learn of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries. He was a thoughtful, brilliant guest whose innovative ideas we were lucky enough to hear firsthand on the show. Our deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed.
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Glen de Vries, Vice Chair for Health and Life Sciences at Dassault Systèmes and Founder and former CEO of Medidata, the first cloud based system supporting global clinical trials research. An astronaut aboard Jeff Bezos’ recent Blue Origin rocket flight with William Shatner of Star Trek fame, de Vries points to the scientific advances from the nation’s space program fueling the technologies that now support telehealth and precision medicine. Also author of The Patient Equation, he predicts a dramatic period of exponential growth in scientific and biologic discovery post-pandemic.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2021
Lies and Misinformation Led to Hundreds of Thousands of US Deaths: Yale’s Dr. Nicholas Christakis on Enduring Impact of COVID-19
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Nicholas Christakis, Director of Yale’s Human Nature Lab and expert on the influence of social networks on health and behavior. In his recent book, Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live, he examines the patterns of pandemics throughout human history and says the "appalling” US response, driven by denial from the White House and amplified by misinformation on social media channels, led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. He predicts the pandemic will wind down in 2022, and that a period of innovation and improvements to health care delivery will follow, fueled by lessons learned from this crisis.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2021
“Roe Hanging On By A Thread”: Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson on Imminent Threat To Reproductive Rights
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, on upcoming Supreme Court hearing on S.B.8., the Texas law banning abortion after 6 weeks. She discusses the record number of restrictive abortion laws across the country causing harm to patients and clinicians committed to providing family planning services, and the former administration’s Title X abortion ‘gag’ rule, which greatly hampered access to legally-guaranteed ‘right to choose’. She expects Roe-v-Wade will likely be permanently compromised with the current conservative configuration on the nation’s High Court.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2021
Mandates ‘Turbocharging’ Vaccination Rates: US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Vaccine Requirements, Boosters and Vaccinating Kids
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome “the Nation’s Doctor,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Co-chair of President Biden’s White House COVID Task Force. Dr. Murthy explains the FDA’s latest approval for mixing vaccine brands for booster shots. He also addresses White House plans to roll out COVID vaccine support for the nation’s 5-11-year-olds pending FDA approval, and how vaccine requirements are ‘turbocharging’ vaccination rates. Dr. Murthy examines the growing crisis of unmet mental health needs, addiction, and overdose in this country, exacerbated by the pandemic. He also discusses an initiative he’s creating to address burnout in the health care profession.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2021
“Safety Comes First”: FDA Vaccine Advisory Panel’s Dr. Ofer Levy on Rigorous Process Around Vaccine Approval For Kids
This week we speak with Dr. Ofer Levy, Director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and member of the FDA COVID Vaccine Advisory Panel. He talks about the recent decision to reject boosters for all recipients 16 and older, saying they didn’t have enough data for younger populations to make that recommendation. He says the review process for emergency authorization for young children aged 5-to-11 will be thorough, rigorous and transparent to the public. His team is also currently working on developing a COVID vaccine, as well as other vaccines that could be deployed for cancer and even opioid use disorder and fentanyl overdose.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2021
Why COVID Crushed Us: Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb Details America’s Botched Pandemic Response
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb whose new book outlines America’s epic failure in our response to the pandemic, leading to more than 700,000 deaths. “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” examines the inherent flaws at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public agencies that left us vulnerable to the raging pandemic. Dr. Gottlieb says the CDC and other agencies should be re-tooled to conduct more agile global disease surveillance, and that emerging therapeutics like Merck’s new oral COVID drug will be a game changer for treatment moving forward.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
US COVID Response Has Failed By Not Scaling Up Home Testing: Harvard’s Michael Mina on Rapid Tests as Best Chance to Contain Outbreaks
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Michael Mina, Epidemiologist and member of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard where they are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Mina has long been a proponent of making cheap, rapid, at-home COVID tests available to all Americans as a much more effective way to curtail the pandemic’s spread. He says these tests which have been deployed successfully in other countries, are almost 100 per cent effective in identifying potential infectious ‘super-spreaders’, and that government should classify them as a public health, not a medical, tool to allow for more swift production and deployment. He also discusses their efforts to build a global surveillance system for future disease outbreaks.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
"We Won't Get Another Chance" Climate Activist Bill McKibben on Urgency of Climate Action in Biden Administration's Reconciliation Bill
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with renowned writer, environmentalist and climate activist Bill McKibben, whose seminal 1989 book “The End of Nature” was among the first to warn of the coming climate crisis. McKibben points to the dangerous rise in the earth’s temperature spawning droughts, destructive storms and other environmental catastrophes spurred by fossil fuel burning and deforestation. He says if we don't pass President Biden’s reconciliation bill, which has the most sweeping climate change legislation ever proposed in the US, "we won't get another chance". The legislation is a powerful step forward in incentivizing a US shift to renewable energy, which he says must be accomplished before the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow, the most important global climate gathering since the Paris Accords.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2021
"Culture Wars Are Killing People": NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on Politics and Harm to Pandemic Science
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, who also mapped the human genome. Dr. Collins laments the politicization of the pandemic, noting that ‘culture wars are killing people’. He urges patience on vaccine approval for families of younger children heading back to school, confident that scientific rigor will ensure vaccine safety. Dr. Collins, an avowed person of faith, urges faith-based resisters to trust the science that produced this life saving vaccine. He also discusses one of the largest protocols ever launched by the NIH to uncover the mysteries around long COVID syndrome, which is impacting an increasing number of COVID survivors.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2021
“We Are On Fire”: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Pandemic Surge Pushing Hospital Capacity to Brink by the Unvaccinated
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D), on the dire situation in the Commonwealth as the delta-driven pandemic pushes the state’s hospitals to ‘disaster’ mode. He laments the recent State Supreme Court decision limiting his executive order powers, for initiating universal masking for all Kentucky children returning to day care and school, calling it ‘the right thing to do’ for vulnerable kids. He discusses efforts to battle the crisis with assistance from the National Guard and FEMA to address hospitals at the breaking point, with this much more contagious variant leading to highest death rates since the pandemic began, driven predominantly by unvaccinated people.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 2021
Masks, Mental Health and Missed Appointments: AAP President Lee Beers on Pandemic’s Impact on Childhood Health
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics on their science-based recommendation that all kids aged 2 and older should be masked in school and daycare in the face of the Delta Variant. They discuss their efforts to communicate the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines to patients and their families, and the AAP’s efforts to increase access to mental health services within the pediatric care setting.
MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2021
Dr. Leana Wen on the Pandemic and the ‘Fight for Public Health'
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician, former Baltimore Health Commissioner, and medical analyst for CNN. Dr. Wen’s new book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health” addresses the dramatic failings of the public health system to adequately address the pandemic, the need to create a more coordinated national and international public health system and the way forward through the pandemic.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021
Health Misinformation on the Internet: Google/YouTube’s Garth Graham on Their Efforts to Stem the Tide
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Garth Graham, Director, and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health Partnerships at Google/YouTube overseeing the creation of credible health content – in partnership with multiple health institutions. They discuss their efforts to disrupt and remove health misinformation from their platform which receives 2 billion visitors per month. They talk about the partnership with the Biden Administration, the CDC, Harvard and England’s National Health Service to remove false information from the platform and drive visitors to credible health information about COVID-19 and all other health topics of interest.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2021
“A New Era of Vaccinology”: Dr. Paul Offit on mRNA Technology’s role in Vaccine Development
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with renowned vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A member of the FDA COVID Vaccine Advisory Panel and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, Dr. Offit points to the growing body of data around the safety and efficacy of the mRNA-based COVID vaccines, that it’s safe for all populations, including children and pregnant women, and sees it as a game changer for the future of vaccinology. He warns that the lack of global vaccination will impact vaccine effectiveness against growing threat of variants.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021
First Transgender Presidential Appointee: HHS Assistant Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Biden Administration’s Commitment to Health Equity
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, the first transgender presidential appointee approved by the Senate. A pediatrician with a focus on child and adolescent behavioral health, and former Pennsylvania Health Secretary, Dr. Levine focuses on the dramatic toll exacted on the nation’s children by the pandemic, the need to advance health equity for the LGBTQ and all vulnerable populations, and the promise of telehealth to eliminate barriers to care.
MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2021
White House COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt on “Preventable”: his Book Chronicling America’s Failed Coronavirus Response
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Andy Slavitt, former Senior Advisor to the Biden White House COVID Response Team, discussing his new book: “Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response”. He outlines the ‘sins’ that led to the previous administration’s failed response to the pandemic, and talks about President Biden’s approach to correct course, by taking full responsibility for outcomes and being frank with the American people. He also discusses the significance of the Supreme Court’s latest decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.
TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci: A Conversation on Where We Are and What’s Coming Next
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the Biden Administration's COVID-19 Team. They discuss the decades of science behind the 'remarkable' vaccines, the decision by the US and G7 members to scale up global vaccine donations, and the virulent variants that pose a greater risk to the unvaccinated. He also predicts the dramatic discovery around COVID-19 will pave the way for a vaccine for HIV/AIDS within the decade.