Summary: Created and hosted by journalist Emily Kumler, Empowered Health stems from a history of frustration in finding reliable information on women’s bodies and how to best care for them. Each week, we will be breaking down the barriers of health misinformation and arming women with the knowledge they need to live healthier, happier lives.
America has a critical need for more doctors, especially in underserved communities. The American Medical Association estimates a shortage of about 35,000 primary care physicians and 60,000 specialists by 2025. Rural areas will be hit hardest by this, along with inner-city communities, both of which already face additional socio-economic barriers to adequate healthcare. The MAVEN Project is working to connect experienced volunteer physicians to vulnerable health centers to combat these shortages.
COVID-19 has caused many patients to shift from their usual office visits to now-covered telehealth appointments. Virtual visits allow for the ability to remotely manage medical issues during a time when in-person care may not be an option for many. But even in pre-pandemic times, the U.S. has limited access to mental healthcare, while demand for support increases. We explore the mental health app landscape and investigate how effective telepsychiatry really is.
Social media allows those living with medical conditions to share health anecdotes to a wider audience, turning many patients into influencers within their condition's community. Healthcare companies, in turn, have increasingly tapped into these networks by partnering with influencers on campaigns. WegoHealth's Julie Croner joins us to discuss the ethical dilemma that advocates face when compensated. We revisit the credibility issues around influencers' sponsored content with journalist Suzanne Zuppello.
Influencers aren't just promoting beauty, lifestyle, and fashion products anymore, they're posting #ads with medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and even testimonials on surgical techniques. But is this ethical? Dr. Sophie Boerman, who studies consumers' understanding of sponsored content, helps us understand why these posts are so influential. Suzanne Zuppello, who has been reporting on the trends in health sponcon, breaks down the ways the government has failed at regulating these ads.
While the coronavirus shutdowns have been difficult for everyone, they weigh especially heavy on single mothers who are navigating everything alone. Dr. Marika Lindholm, a sociologist and founder of Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere (ESME), an online community for solo mothers, explains how the pandemic has amplified single mothers' socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Across dozens of ESME-hosted Facebook groups, the mothers' posts contain the same undertone: They are scared.
Bladder leakage is not something women have to live with, yet many do. While approximately half of U.S. women over 50 experience urinary incontinence, very few seek treatment. Urogynecologist Dr. Carolyn Swenson breaks down the most common forms of urinary incontinence, addresses leakage during the postpartum period, and lays out treatment options. Dr. Donna Mazloomdoost, director of the NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, discusses the lack of attention around the condition and shares helpful resources.
With more Americans dying in their homes than in hospitals, end-of-life doulas are stepping in to assist the process. While doulas are mainly associated with the role of supporting mothers through pregnancy, doulas who guide clients through their last moments are rising in popularity. For those with a loved one nearing the end, death can be a taboo topic. The end-of-life doula helps make everyone comfortable with the process, assisting with burials, legacy work, estate planning, companionship and more.
A constant theme on Empowered Health is the importance of advocating for your own health, but what does that exactly mean? Christie VanHorne, a public health consultant, joins us to explain how she helps others understand good patient-provider communication. VanHorne teaches how to best prep for office visits, communicate efficiently during appointments, and understand bias in health care in her various workshops.
Manal Rostom has never let her hijab stop her from excelling at her sport. In 2015, the Dubai-based athlete broke barriers as the first hijabi woman in a Nike campaign, modeling their new sports hijab. Later, she became the first Egyptian woman to run Great Wall of China Marathon marathon—the pharmacist-turned-runner is on track to run all six of the major marathons. Rostom runs Surviving Hijab, a female-only Facebook community, as a space for other veiled women to find support, advice and inspiration.
Dr. Heather Hirsch, who leads the Menopause and Midlife Clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital, breaks down what women should expect as they go through menopause. We discuss estrogen replacement therapy, hot flashes, changes in metabolism during menopause, and the Women's Health Initiative. Hirsch also explains how cognitive behavioral therapy can be beneficial when dealing with the symptoms that arise during the menopausal transition.
You may be conscientious of the ingredients—or even the macronutrients—in the meals you eat, but what about the chemicals used during crop production of your food? For the past two decades, investigate journalist Carey Gillam has covered American agriculture. Her book "Whitewash" chronicles what happens when agribusinesses place corporate interests over public safety. Gillam explains the potential health hazards of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, which is most commonly found in the weedkiller Round
After altering her diet to fix her own health problems, psychiatrist Dr. Georgia Ede became fascinated by how what we eat affects our physical and mental health. Ede helps her patients reduce or eliminate their need for psychiatric medications using nutritional strategies. She will also explain how to thoroughly examine nutrition studies, specifically taking a look at EAT-Lancet's plant-based recommendations and unpacking its inconsistencies.
Metformin, most commonly used to treat type two diabetes, is one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. We talk to Cindi Morshead, whose research found metformin has sex-dependent effects on brain repair in mice. In recent years, metformin’s off-label benefits have become an area of interest, with some even deeming it a miracle drug. We were curious about the adverse effects of the drug, so Adam Konopka joins us to explain his study looking at how metformin blunts the effects of exercise
After watching the Sandy Hook tragedy unfold on the news, Shannon Watts knew she needed to do something. She went on to found Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a non-partisan grassroots movement working to end gun violence. We talk to Watts about the power of organized mothers, the organization's main initiatives, how Moms Demand Action gets major retailers to listen, and the pushback she gets from oppositional groups.
Human trafficking is a major public health crisis in the United States. While most cases remain unreported, we know that women and children are often the victims of the modern day slavery. Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, an emergency medicine physician and executive director of HEAL Trafficking, breaks downs what human trafficking consists of and clears up misconceptions. Stoklosa explains how clinicians are in a unique position to help trafficked persons due to how frequently they access health care.