This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, representing the interests of the nation’s 50,000 Latino Physicians. She discusses the devastating toll the pandemic has taken on the nation’s Hispanic population who have suffered a greater death toll and significant economic as well as mental health burdens. Dr. Rios NHMA’s efforts to improve pipelines for young Latinos to enter the medical field, and for measures to address health inequity impacting communities of color.
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Walensky defends the science behind lifting mask restrictions for vaccinated Americans, examines the ongoing research on vaccine efficacy against emerging COVID variants and possibility of a need for booster shots. She also outlines efforts underway by the CDC and the Biden Administration to leverage provisions in the American Recovery Act to address health inequity by strengthening the nation’s public health infrastructure.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead at the WHO. They discuss the world’s lack of readiness and supply chain infrastructure to confront the pandemic. She says the lessons learned from this collective ‘trauma’ is sparking new efforts to build more robust surveillance and response systems for emerging pathogens, the concerning new variant out of India, and the need to accelerate global vaccinations to stop the continued spread of the pandemic.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies seeking to save 100 million lives globally by addressing cardiovascular disease and preventing pandemics. Dr. Frieden discusses their report on building a stronger global health infrastructure that can deploy rapidly to contain the next threat. He talks about work with GOP pollster Frank Luntz to develop messaging to tackle vaccine resistance, and applauds the FDA’s recent decision to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes as a bold public health move.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with leading infectious disease expert Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Executive Associate Dean at the Emory University School of Medicine, and lead researcher on HIV/AIDS and now, COVID-19. Dr. Del Rio applauds the Biden Administration’s achievement of 200 million vaccine doses delivered in the US, but warns vaccine resistance in this country, and lack of supply globally, must be addressed to bring the pandemic fully under control. He lauds the remarkable science around mRNA technology that will have far reaching implications for tackling many diseases.
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Jha is a world renowned expert on pandemic preparedness and addresses concerns around the rare blood clot risk with the J&J vaccine, saying the brief pause in distribution is further evidence our scientific surveillance is working. He addresses the challenges of vaccine hesitancy and global supply chain. And also talks about the pandemic's impact on propelling meaningful change in public health in the U.S. as well as in the global health infrastructure.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House Vaccinations Coordinator. Dr. Choucair discusses the remarkable pace of vaccine distribution in recent weeks, and the Biden Administration’s plans to deliver 200 million vaccines in 100 days. He addresses the challenges at vaccine production facilities, the impact of the American Rescue Plan on efforts to scale up vaccine production and delivery, as well as the important role played by community health centers to address the health needs the most vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with renowned infectious disease expert Dr. Celine Gounder, who served as a COVID advisor on the Biden transition team. Dr. Gounder says we are in a race between vaccinations and the variants driving coronavirus infections in the US and around the world. She warns that we must scale up our genomic surveillance of the variants as they pose a continued threat to containment of the pandemic.
This week Mark and Margaret speak with Dr. Eric Topol, Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Dr. Topol calls drug maker AstraZeneca’s recent controversial under-reporting of complete safety data to US regulators for its COVID-19 vaccine ‘disturbing’ and ‘unprecedented’ in his clinical trial career. He calls the rapid development of highly successful and effective COVID vaccines one of biomedicine’s greatest achievements and predicts the pandemic crisis will pave the way for more remarkable scientific breakthroughs, and a greater opportunity for the growth of personalized medicine via smartphones.
This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Michael Osterholm, renowned pandemic expert and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. A recent advisor to President Biden’s transition team, Dr. Osterholm warns of another COVID-19 surge on the horizon as the more contagious UK variant, which is causing more lockdowns across Europe, is becoming the dominant strain in the US. He says vaccination rates must be accelerated, and that more equitable distribution of vaccines around the world will be the only way to get the pandemic fully under control.
This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Rick Bright, Sr. Vice President for Pandemic Preparedness and Response at The Rockefeller Foundation, former chief of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at HHS, and member of the Biden Transition Team on COVID-19. Dr. Bright is launching a new pandemic preparedness initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, creating the first-of-its-kind national and global pandemic surveillance infrastructure to alert governments around the world about emerging pandemic threats. Dr. Bright resigned his post at BARDA after filing a whistleblower complaint against the previous administration for mishandling of the pandemic response.