19. Behind the Scenes of Dear Pandemic

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we reflect on the important ways population health scientists have contributed to the pandemic response by chatting with Drs Lindsey Leininger and Amanda Simanek, two members of the Those Nerdy Girls who lead Dear Pandemic website and social media platforms. Dear Pandemic uses social media to answer people’s pandemic-related questions, aiming to cut through the swirl of disinformation on the web with clear and concise communication.  Join us as we learn how Dear Pandemic got started and emerged, how the team is communicating science in innovative ways, and the lessons the Nerdy Girls have learned about their science and professional development with this project.  Listeners can learn more about Dear Pandemic here: https://dearpandemic.org/

18. Legacies of Racism on Our Contemporary Political Moment

We are just in the first few months of 2021 but there is already quite a bit to digest. On the heels of a year of racial reckoning with the punctuation of the January 6 insurrection, deep societal fractures have been revealed. While surprising to many Americans, for many people, especially the outstanding scholars who contributed to this episode, these recent events are products as a continual manifestation of the legacy of racism that undergirds the United States. If racial equity in health, socioeconomics and other outcomes are a goal of population health, it is clear that we must disrupt historical legacies of racism that have continued to affect contemporary issues. We were pleased to be joined by Professors David Cunningham and Geoff Ward, both from Washington University in St. Louis. Professor David Cunningham is the Chair of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on racial contention and its legacies. Dr. Geoff Ward is Professor of African and African-American Studies and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Sociology and American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. His scholarship examines the racial politics of social control and the pursuit of racial justice, historically and today.

Listeners can find Professor Cunningham’s latest book, Klansville, USA: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan here.

Professors Ward and Cunningham are editing a forthcoming special issue  for The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science “Legacies of Racial Violence: Clarifying and Addressing the Presence of the Past” with an anticipated publishing in May 2021.

17. Grads of Color and the COVID Crisis

By the time of this recording, the COVID-19 pandemic has been raging on for just over a year. Although the arrival of effective vaccinations signals that we are headed towards the end of this unprecedented moment, we are likely only beginning to grapple with the ways in which the virus has fundamentally altered our society.

One place where fallout from COVID-19 is already being actualized is academia. From stories on the ground, this pandemic has created a set of previously unimaginable challenges for scholars across the board—but particularly for assistant professors, post-docs, and graduate students of color. In this episode of Sick Individuals/Sick Populations, we welcome Sandte Stanley, Dr. Zelma Oyarvide Tuthill, and Kevin Martinez-Folgar to share their experiences in navigating the pandemic as early career scholars. We chat about how COVID has impacted our guests’ professional goals; discuss what type of support we would like to see our academic institutions develop in to help scholars navigate the uncertainty of a post-COVID world; and chat about how the “dual pandemics” of racial violence and COVID-19 have coalesced to impact our guests’ work and personal well-being.

This episode is sponsored by the Student Committee of IAPHS.

16. The Ongoing Battle for Democracy

Whether covering your face during a pandemic or developing policies that create equitable access to health promoting resources and healthcare, politics are involved. As we consider population level policies and practices capable improving the health and well-being of people around the globe, one of the biggest barriers is not funding. It’s political will. Unfortunately, it seems that our current political climate is toxic. We were fortunate to talk to Dr. Nadia Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Purdue University, to help us understand our nation’s current political moment. Dr. Brown’s current book, Sister Style, published by Oxford University Press, was just recently released. Listeners may enter (ASFLYQ6) for a 30% discount on the book.

15. Vaccine Uptake and Equity

At this stage of the pandemic, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is absolutely critical if we seek to return to any semblance of normalcy in the foreseeable future. Despite the development of multiple, highly effective vaccines, we have all been frustrated with the slow rollout as well as the inequitable dissemination of the vaccine to date. For this episode, we were very fortunate to be joined by Dr. Mati Htlatswayo Davis, an infectious disease specialist at Washington University and the Veterans Administration Healthcare System in St. Louis. Htlatswayo Davis has regularly interacts with patients and discusses the vaccine and considers the broad population health implications of the current pandemic and how we can get more people vaccinated.

14. Sunnyside Strong: Lessons from Population Health & Community Collaboration

For population health scientists, community-research partnerships are often thought of as one avenue to build equity and social justice into research by working with communities to build the tools and resources to addresses health inequities. But how can we ensure that these partnerships work effectively, and what unique opportunities does community based research offer population health? In this episode we chat with the leaders of the Sunnyside Strong Collaborative in Houston, Felicia Jackson, Family Support Services Manager at the Houston Area Urban League, Rachel Kimbro, PhD, a sociologist at Rice University, and Quianta Moore, MD, JD and a Fellow in Child Health Policy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. This team was recently awarded IAPHS’ Community Research Partnership Award to recognize excellence in collaboration between community groups and population health researchers. Join us to unpack how this team developed an award-winning research collaboration, the lessons they learned, and where their work is going next. Learn more about Sunnyside Strong by checking out the team’s summary report.

13. RacismLab Presents – Toxic Equilibrium: Structural Racism and Population Health Inequities

A structural understanding of racial inequalities has begun to take root across the U.S. Public health stakeholders, citizens activists, and lawmakers, at even the highest level of government, have indeed begun to consider that interventions to combat racial health inequity must be designed with systemic racism in mind. In this episode of Sick Individuals/Sick Populations, we speak with several scholars from the University of Michigan’s Racism Lab–a transdisciplinary collective at the forefront of scholarship on structural racism–about the crucial contributions of a structural racism framework for the current historical moment. Join us as we chat with Kayla Fike; Ramona Perry; and Dr. Myles Durkee about their research on racial inequality; their advice for building out a productive interdisciplinary group; and the upcoming RacismLab symposium, Toxic Equilibrium, which will focus on structural racism and population welfare.

12. #IAPHS2021 – Racism, Power, and Justice: Achieving Population Health Equity

Happy New Year! We are excited to share our first episode of 2021. We were fortunate to speak to the IAPHS President, Dr. Kathie Mullan Harris, and Conference Co-Chairs, Drs. Maggie Hicken and Hedy Lee, who stopped by to tell us about their plans for this year’s conference, themed Racism, Power, and Justice: Achieving Population Health Equity. This theme is highly relevant given the current events of the day. Dr. Hicken also shared information with us about the upcoming joint IAPHS and University of Michigan Racism Lab symposium called Toxic Equilibrium: Structural Racism & Population Health Inequities on February 24th. More information about the symposium can be found here.

11. Empirically-Derived Place Typologies For Population Health Research and Action

Increasingly, researchers and policymakers are designing place typologies to understand distributions of place characteristics that influence population health and to inform policy response options. This growth is fueled in part by expanded access to small area data and the availability of new statistical approaches. By identifying how sociodemographic, economic, and population characteristics align across places, typologies can elucidate patterns in what can otherwise be highly complex matrices of disparate data. Typologies thus serve an important descriptive function that enables policymakers in different places to have a common understanding of issues at stake. Characterizing how patterns and trends are associated with improved or worsened health outcomes may also serve to inform policy change opportunities to support improvements in population health, by either spotlighting trends or learning from outliers. At the same time, many users also identify limitations in the use of typologies for prediction purposes.

In this episode, speakers will present recent empirical work or works-in-progress to categorize cities or other places into typologies based on essential socioeconomic, population and other characteristics. Speakers will discuss uses and limitations of typologies as tools to inform policy, as well as efforts to assess associations with health and health disparity outcomes.

Session Chairs: Lorna Thorpe and Dante Chinni
Presenters: Justin Feldman, Usama Bilal, Ari Pinkus

10. Manufacturing Policies to Improve Vaccination: Are Mandates the Way Forward?

Recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles have heightened concern over suboptimal vaccination rates. Undervaccination may be due to access barriers, hesitancy over the safety and effectiveness of vaccination, or both. A variety of strategies exist to encourage greater vaccine uptake, including increasing access to vaccination services, improving vaccine education among youth and parents, providing incentives such as financial bonuses to parents with up-to-date children, and mandating vaccination of schoolchildren without approved exemptions. Child vaccine mandates are ubiquitous in the USA and employed internationally in various ways.

Vaccine mandates vary in several key elements, including: target population, what is required, consequences for noncompliance, who is in charge of enforcement, and—perhaps most hotly debated—procedures for exemption. In US states, efforts to remove religious and philosophical exemptions, for example, have become hotly politicized and subject to backlash including protests and ballot measure recall efforts. While the legal and ethical dimensions of such policies are often discussed, conclusions regarding the effectiveness of mandates as a strategy—particularly when they are met with public resistance—remains a thorny issue, as context and implementation factors likely play a substantial role in the success of mandate policies.

This interactive panel will present a range of evidence-based perspectives on the question: Are mandates the way forward for population vaccine coverage? Panelists from multiple disciplines will describe their research using different approaches to assess the effectiveness of vaccine mandate policies and assert a stance regarding the use of mandates as a policy lever. The moderator will facilitate a lively question and answer session following these presentations, inviting the audience to participate in the dialogue around how to study and implement policy on this challenging topic.

Session Chair: Devon Greyson
Presenters: Richard Carpiano, Kolina Koltai, Andrea Polonijo