Public Health

Our guest is the noted medical expert, Dr. Leana Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She's also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and a CNN medical analyst, and she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

Our guest is Vaclav Smil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. Smil is the author of 40+ books on topics like energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk asssessment, and public policy. He joins us to discuss his accessible and compelling new book of short essays, "Numbers Don't Lie." It's an eclectic, statistics-driven volume that effectively shows how numbers reveal the true state of our world today -- and how such numbers, much like unalterable facts, are what matter most.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Despite touting the ability to genomically sequence COVID-19 samples as a driving force behind investment into the state's Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence, which opened in January, Oklahoma continues to rank last in the nation for percentage of positive COVID samples sequenced, according to federal data.

Just 0.24% of positive COVID-19 samples have been sequenced, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dated Aug. 3.

What is the Delta Variant, and how is it related to the novel Coronavirus? What exactly do we know about the rapid spread of the Delta Variant now happening in Tulsa County -- and across our state? And what's the relationship between this rate of spreading and Oklahoma's relatively low vaccination rate? Are there other Coronavirus variants out there -- either here in the US or worldwide? And when will American kids under the age of 12 be allowed to get vaxxed? Our guests on ST Medical Monday are Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department, and Dr.

State officials said Tuesday they are on track to have Oklahoma’s new public health lab in Stillwater fully operational by October.

Newborn screening and COVID-19 sequencing are now being done there. Newborn screening tests had been outsourced to a Pennsylvania lab, while COVID sequencing remained in Oklahoma City.

A dedicated team is working on the lab build out. Health department officials expect the lab will be capable of handling sexually transmitted disease, tuberculosis, rabies, mycology and microbiology testing by the fall.

The well-regarded historian Niall Ferguson is our guest; his many books include "Civilization," "The Great Degeneration," and "The Ascent of Money." He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," which seems especially timely in the wake of the annus horribilis that was 2020. Ferguson's book sets out to show why human beings are getting worse, not better, at handling disasters -- despite advancements in medicine, science, technology, etc.

Our guest is Vaclav Smil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. Smil is the author of 40+ books on topics like energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk asssessment, and public policy. He joins us to discuss his accessible and compelling new book of short essays, "Numbers Don't Lie." It's an eclectic, statistics-driven volume that effectively shows how numbers reveal the true state of our world today -- and how such numbers, much like unalterable facts, are what matter most.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we offer a discussion of what is commonly referred to as "long-haul syndrome" or "long COVID." Our guest is Dr. Stan Schwartz, who's the chief medical officer of The Zero Card, a digital-health enterprise. He's also a former medical director of Tulsa's Warren Clinic. Dr.

State officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday at the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence in Stillwater.

The center was announced in October, and its more rural location was always the plan. State Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur said human and animal health are closely related because of diseases that jump from animals to humans or that affect food supplies.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Calling it as much about protecting your community as yourself, especially as flu season arrives during a global pandemic, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum received flu shots at a Tuesday press conference and urged Tulsans to do the same.

Monday the 31st will bring the first day of classes for Tulsa Public Schools, and given the current pandemic, this is certainly going to be a very different school year. All TPS students, for starters, will be participating in either of two distinct programs: Distance Learning or Virtual Academy. How do these differ? And what should TPS parents be expecting -- and/or planning for -- as the new school year begins?

Our guest on ST is Bina Venkataraman, a journalist and former adviser in the Obama administration who has helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change. She tells us about her book, "The Optimist's Telescope," which is now out in paperback. This work explores why we as human beings tend NOT to think ahead -- and what can be done to change that.

Should schools reopen? Should we be playing (or practicing) team sports right now? And which type of mask is the safest one to wear? On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak about these and other matters with Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department. Dr. Dart, who last appeared on our show back in March, offers an update on COVID-19 in our community at present.

Our guest is Pam Fessler, an award-winning correspondent with NPR News who mainly covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Carville's Cure," which is tells the fascinating and little-known story of the only leprosy colony in the continental United States. This facility, located in remote Carville, Louisiana, somehow became -- over the course of the 20th century -- much more of a refuge than a prison.

Our guest is Dr. Syeachia Dennis, who joined the OU-Tulsa family medicine residency program in 2013, and who more recently completed a master's program from the John Hopkins School of Public Health. An Oklahoma native, Dr. Dennis is an Assistant Professor in the OU-Tulsa School of Community Medicine's Department of Family Medicine. She joins us for a candid, local-level discussion about the racial disparities that exist today in American health care: troubling, long-running disparities in access, treatment, perceptions, and outcomes. Dr.

We welcome to our show Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He was appointed health director of Detroit, Michigan, at age 30, and he was formerly a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. El-Sayed's new book, which he tells us about, is "Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic." As was noted of this book by Bill McKibben with 350.org: "This is a very important book.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Jennifer Clark, a Visiting Associate Professor of Community Health at TU's Oxley College of Health Sciences; she teaches in TU's Health Care Delivery Science Program. Dr. Clark is also a contributor/commentator for the ongoing, thrice-weekly Project ECHO updates regarding COVID-19. These online, open-to-the-public updates, originating from Oklahoma State University and freely streamable, are medically-driven information sessions presented by a multi-institutional array of doctors and scientists.

Oklahoma Blood Institute

Oklahoma Blood Institute will provide all donors 18 and older with free COVID-19 antibody tests.

Testing will be offered at donor centers and mobile blood drives. OBI President and CEO Dr. John Armitage said donations were down about 20% at worst during the pandemic, but surgeries and other procedures being on hold at the same time offset the drop.

Now that those are picking back up, OBI needs more donors to meet hospital needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of areas where government was unprepared despite years of preparation, but it has also revealed a very un-governmental nimbleness in responding to the economics of the pandemic-induced recession. Economist Joshua Gans says there was no pandemics playbook on how to keep an economy running in a situation like this, and despite the real hardships many are facing today, policymakers have made more right decisions than wrong to this point.

As our current pandemic continues, we hear from historian John M. Barry, who wrote one of the definitive accounts of the worst American pandemic, the Influenza pandemic of 1918-19.

Trust for America's Health

Oklahoma spent almost $172 million on public health in fiscal year 2019 — up 12% from the year before — but cuts at the federal level are undermining progress.

Trust for America’s Health Executive Vice President and COO Nadine Gracia said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s overall funding has been essentially flat since 2011, and its $2 billion a year public health grant fund is getting less than half its intended funding from Congress.

On this edition of our program, we speak with two different doctors -- one in Boston, and one here in Tulsa -- about the current medical, hospital-level fight in the U.S. against coronavirus. First we hear from Dr. Daniela Lamas, a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Brigham & Women's Hospital who is also on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Then we hear from Tulsa native Dr. Jabraan Pasha, an associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency program at OU-Tulsa.

Public health officials in Tulsa -- and everywhere else, of course -- are now monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, COVID-19. This virus was first identified in China in January. Late last week, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced in Tulsa County: a man in his fifties who had recently visited Italy. On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we offer an update on this still-evolving, fast-changing situation. Our guest is the Tulsa Health Department's executive director, Dr. Bruce Dart, who has worked in public health for forty years.

It's easy to take safe drinking water for granted, but so very much of public health stems from having it (that is, having lots of it) on hand. Moreoever, the problems that've recently affected Flint, Michigan -- and other communities -- have brought the whole potable-water issue to the forefront for many Americans. Where does Tulsa's drinking water come from, and how does it get here? How safe is it, and how clean or "pure" is it? And how do we know these things? How is our water monitored? And how often?

US Public Health Service working in Haiti after 2010 earthquake
US Public Health Service

Over the years, the U.S. Uniformed Public Health Service has contributed to containing pandemics in Africa, preventing disease outbreaks after natural disasters,  and helping move forward public health initiatives like the Clean Air Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act, but it also has been criticized for its role in the notorious Tuskegee syphillis study which followed African-Americans with the disease for decades, even after penicillin was known to cure the illness. Today, there are proposals to slash the funding for this organization, or eliminate it altogether. Our guest is Dr.

Faculty and fellows participating in the HEAL Initiative in Hinche, Haiti. (UC-San Francisco)

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, an interesting discussion of global health -- that is, thinking about the health and well-being of the world's populations in a global context, and moreover, about how to serve those populations by improving care (and achieving equity of care) for all people. It's about seeing health care as a basic human right, and thus as something that people all over the world are fully entitled to. Our guest is Dr. Phuoc Le of the University of California at San Francisco, who also teaches in the public health program at UC-Berkeley. Dr.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Judy Melinek, a board-certified forensic pathologist practicing forensic medicine in California's Bay Area, where she is also the CEO of PathologyExpert, Inc. Lately, Dr.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the City of Tulsa's in-depth and multifaceted efforts to address issues of resilience, equity, and racial disparity across various demographic and geographic sections of our community. Our guest is DeVon Douglass, who was recently appointed by Mayor G.T. Bynum as Tulsa's Chief Resilience Officer. Before this appointment, Douglass served as the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Policy Analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, a detailed discussion of how being "housing insecure" can seriously and negatively affect an individual's -- or a community's -- health and well-being. Our guest is Dr. Megan Sandel of Boston Medical Center, who is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

On this installment of ST Medical Monday, we offer a wide-ranging chat with Dr. Harold Pollack, the Helen Ross Professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. He's written prolifically on the inter-related topics of poverty, policy, crime, and public health; his articles have appeared in scholarly journals like Journal of the American Medical Association and Social Service Review as well as in political magazines like The Nation and The New Republic.

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