This Interview Will Kill You

A Conversation With the Hosts of 'This Podcast Will Kill You'

Ryan Syrek, MA


July 16, 2019

Do you feel as though, in the current climate, medical professionals and students have an increased responsibility to educate or inform the public?

Welsh: I would say yes. Politics and public health, or politics and medicine, are linked. I feel like they may be unnecessarily linked, but it is reality. So yes, I think that there is an increased responsibility in this current climate of increased restrictions on reproductive access or reproductive rights, for instance. I think there is a huge role we have to play. Physicians are looked to as a trusted source of information, so there is definitely a need to be available as a source.

Allmann Updyke: I agree. For a long time, scientists and physicians thought that they could be silent. Maybe medical societies or scientific organizations spoke on their behalf, and that was "good enough." I think it's not good enough anymore, and I think every one of us has a responsibility. If you are a physician, whether you like it or not, you hold a tremendous amount of power.

I don't think that every single scientist or every single doctor needs to be on Twitter yelling about whatever. But I do think that every one of us has a responsibility to be active and to be vocal about these issues. Whether it's reproductive rights and reproductive access, vaccines, or climate change, the list goes on and on of the issues we're facing right now. We don't get to be silent anymore.

Speaking of sharing information, are there any other medical or science-based podcasts you'd recommend?

Allmann Updyke: In terms of general science podcasts, I really love Ologies. I have also listened to The Curbsiders, which is an internal medicine podcast. Our friend Matt Candeias hosts a podcast called In Defense of Plants that's all about botany if you're into heavy science about plants. Another really awesome one that definitely sometimes gets medical is The Biology of Superheroes. That's hosted by our friend Shane Campbell-Staton and Arien Darby. They take a comic book superhero and talk about what aspects could be real, so a lot of times it gets medical.

Great! Before we go, what has been the most memorable moment of doing this podcast for each of you?

Welsh: I think one of the most memorable moments was the first time someone said, "I finally got my first flu shot because of this podcast." That was a big moment!

Allmann Updyke: Having a background in public health, hearing someone say they got a flu shot for the first time because of you is like a life goal. That was one of the most exciting things.

Welsh: We got into disease ecology and epidemiology because we wanted to make a difference. We love the subject. We love the information. We want to use our knowledge, skills, education, and training to make the world a better place. To make just the slightest bit of difference in that way has been thrilling, and it is still one of the best feelings in the world.

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