Words Matter. Especially In Public Health
America Dissected – Episode 215:
It’s not only what you say — it’s how you say it. And that’s often where public health gets it wrong. Our producer Emma talks to a recovered anti-vaxxer about what ultimately brought him around. Then Abdul talks to Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist and health communicator, about how far humility and accessible language can go to protecting health.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: The Texas State Supreme Court rules against an abortion for a non-viable pregnancy. The FDA approved a new therapy for sickle cell anemia. The first FDA approved therapy that uses CRISPR technology. The W.H.O. warns of impending public health disaster in Gaza as the death toll nears 20,000. This is America Dissected. I’m your host, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. [music break] So much of what we say is about how we say it. And sometimes we don’t say it all that well. Our guest today is Jessica Malaty Rivera, an epidemiologist and health communicator. But this week, for our last episode of 2023, we wanted to do something different. To bring us some context for our discussion, our producer Emma went out into the field. She shared a conversation with Craig Idlebrook, a former anti-vaxxer. They talked about why he resisted getting his kid vaccinated and what ultimately brought him around.