The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health created the Public Health On Call podcast on March 3, 2020, in the early days of COVID-19. The initial goal was to make credible, scientific expertise accessible to the public in quick, clear, and informative conversations.
The podcast continues to primarily cover the COVID-19 pandemic, tracking news of the emerging omicron variant, and, most recently, discussing how we can learn to live with COVID in an endemic phase. In addition, the podcast has introduced a vast array of public health topics including emerging antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and yeast, the importance of the transportation bill for health, the worsening overdose crisis, and attacks on health care facilities during war. Public Health On Call also covers reproductive health and other Supreme Court cases and is closely following the escalating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. In addition to interviews with researchers, public health commissioners, and elected leaders, the podcast has featured patients, clergy, ethicists, front line clinicians, and former health officials fired for doing their jobs.
The primary hosts are Joshua Sharfstein, MD, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement, a faculty member in health policy, pediatrician, and former secretary of Maryland’s Health Department; and Stephanie Desmon, director of public relations and marketing for the Johns Hopkins Communications Programs and a former journalist. Josh and Stephanie tackle complex topics in relatable, engaging ways, bringing real-world perspective, and countering misinformation. Lindsay Smith Rogers, associate director of content strategy for the School, produces the podcast and occasionally contributes as a host.