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Student and Alumni Podcasts Promote Public Health

Our students and graduates from the Zuckerman College of Public Health are using podcasts and blogs to engage new audiences and make science-based public health insights more easily accessible. - Story by Erin Green

All public health professionals know that communication is vital to success, and it is also a challenge. Often we know the facts, and we know what we need to do to improve health outcomes, and yet delivering that guidance to the right community in an accessible way is difficult. Students, alumni, and faculty from the Zuckerman College of Public Health have confronted this communications challenge in many different ways, and recently they’ve been using podcasts and blogs to promote science-based public health guidance and engage new audiences.

We invite you to learn about all the podcasts and blogs created by our public health students, alumni, and faculty. Listen to a podcast today and start your journey of discovery!

Podcasts That Promote Public Health

What’s Up Public Health

Maria Valdez, MPH, graduated from MEZCOPH with her master’s degree in Public Health Practice in May 2020. Her thesis was How Policy Affects the Policy Making Process - A Policy Brief and Recommendations on How to Pass Bill. Maria’s passion for public health included research on the social determinants of health, population health, and delivery of care, all factors that informed her push for more equitable and effective health policy. She is also a journalist and former contributor to HuffPost.

Maria produces the podcast, What’s Up Public Health, with her Boston University colleague Shamirah Davenport. In order to raise awareness about the health challenges faced by people of color, they created the podcast with the goal of engaging a wide range of people to participate in conversations about current public health topics from the perspective diverse communities. In the most recent episode on the COVID-19 crisis and the public health system in India, Maria interviewed MEZCOPH professor Dr. Purnima Madhivanan.

 Maria Valdez


Science History

Professor of environmental health sciences Frank Von Hippel, PhD, launched his podcast series called Science History in 2017 and the audience continues to grow. In the podcasts, Dr. Von Hippel interviews national experts on the history of compelling science topics, including green chemistry, environmental health, wildlife biology, evolutionary genetics, and space science.

Dr. Von Hippel’s extensive research projects bring together ecotoxicology, mechanisms of toxicity, and health disparities, with an emphasis on how these issues affect Indigenous populations. In addition to teaching and producing the Science History podcast, Dr. Von Hippel is a member of the Board of Directors of the Science Communication Network, leader of the One Health Research Initiative at the Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the author of the book The Chemical Age (2020) which received many positive reviews in the media.

 Frank von Hippel


Arizona Common Ground

Krista Cardenas, MPH, received her MPH in Public Health Policy & Administration from MEZCOPH in 2019. During her time as a grad student, Krista produced the podcast series Arizona Common Ground. Over the course of the 8-episode podcast series, Krista sought to guide her audience through the basics of the public policy process by offering an understanding of the state legislative system and process of how health bills can become laws.

Krista says “I think there’s a crucial need to empower students and professionals to engage in health policy. I developed Arizona Common Ground to help address this need by walking listeners through the structure of a bill process so they can see how they can have their voice heard by a legislature.” During this series, Krista interviewed many health policy experts including professors Joe Gerald, PhD, and Leila Barraza, JD, Senator Heather Carter from Legislative District 15, founder of MEZCOPH’s Applied Health Policy Institute, and Maia Ingram, Co-Director of Arizona Prevention Research Center. Krista currently serves as the HEOC Vaccine Manager- Public Health Emergency Preparedness at Pima County.

 Kristen Cardenas


Keeping Up With Public Health, Pandemic Response

The Western Region Public Health Training Center (WRPHTC), has created multiple public health podcast series. The most recent series, Keeping Up With Public Health, launched in 2019, posting conversations with public health researchers about the latest developments in public health, from vaccines to climate change to tobacco policies. The podcast also covered recent and research happening at the Zuckerman College of Public Health. The second season of this podcast series, Keeping Up With Public Health: Pandemic Response, aired in 2020 and featured epidemiologists who were on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response at the University of Arizona, including Dr. Joe Gerald, Dr. Kristen Pogreba-Brown, Dr. Kate Ellingson, Dr. Paloma Beamer, and Dr. Mona Arora. Topics covered pandemic response, vaccine development, and the path to reopening. All WRPHTC podcasts can be found here:


Science Talks

The University of Arizona BIO5 Institute also put out their own podcast series, Science Talks, to share current research and innovation. This podcast includes a variety of experts in the fields of engineering, medicine, and computational research, that impact research or programs related to the BIO5 Institute. Our own epidemiologist Dr. Kristen Pogreba-Brown was interviewed earlier this year in the first episode of the Science Talks podcast series for her work in the COVID-19 response. This is an ongoing podcast so tune in!

 Dr. Kristen Pogreba-Brown

Blogs About Public Health Topics

This fall, the Applied Health Policy Institute (AHPI) at MEZCOPH launched its own blog. The AHPI blog aims to inform the public on timely public health policy issues, engage with community stakeholders, and influence legislative decision making through a public health lens. So far, the AHPI has released blogs on mental health among LGBTQ youth, the benefits of bike paths, and harm reduction amid the ongoing opiod epidemic.

In December, the MEZCOPH Graduate Student Ambassadors revived the COPHee Break blog website with an article on COVID safety for the holiday season, written by Tatiana Gonzalez, MPH student. They have also posted a story on recreational opportunities around Tucson written by James Hollister, MPH student, and an article about student funding options for research and conferences by Sarah Yeo, MPH student. More blogs will be coming from the Graduate Ambassadors in the new year!

Communication for Public Health

All of these examples of podcasts and blogs from our students and alumni come from our collective passion for public health. We find new ways to communicate, to promote our public health mission, to spread science-based information that will keep all our communities safe and healthy. Each platform plays a role to increase awareness and knowledge around public health challenges. We thank each and every one of the podcast producers and writers who have given their time, knowledge, and talent to promote public health!

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