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Listen To CDC Foundation’s New Podcast: Contagious Conversations

The CDC Foundation recently launched Contagious Conversations to share our conversations with leading health influencers who are dedicated to making the world safer and healthier for us all. The first season features three episodes, each approximately 30 minutes long:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann;

  • Architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act Dr. Lex Frieden; and

  • Independent journalist and author Maryn McKenna.

Why a podcast, and why now? First and foremost, it’s a chance for our audience to listen to conversations with inspiring leaders and gain new perspectives about important health topics. Also, podcasts are gaining in popularity—according to a January 2019 CBS poll, two-thirds of Americans now listen to podcasts at least once a week, including 23 percent who listen a few times per week.

In the first season of the podcast, it was extremely interesting, for instance, to learn from Maryn McKenna, an independent journalist and award-winning author, who wrote a book about poultry’s effect on antibiotic resistance.

“It was a surprise to me to discover that story of chicken, in a way really, brackets the story of antibiotic discovery and antibiotic misuse,” said McKenna in the podcast.

I heard Dr. Lex Frieden, a 2017 Fries Prize recipient, say, “It may be difficult for me to climb steps because I use a wheelchair, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t get to the top of the steps if I use a ramp. It’s not my spinal cord injury that prevents me from getting to the top of those steps, it is the environment.”

And according to Dr. Desmond-Hellmann in her interview, “A health threat anywhere in the world is a health threat everywhere. So no matter who you are, having a world where people have the chance for a healthy, productive life actually lifts all of us.”

Those are just a few of my takeaways from Contagious Conversations. There are so many compelling insights to be gained about the value of public-private partnerships and the reason global health matters, the power of storytelling to improve our understanding of complex issues like superbugs and outbreaks, and the impact one committed champion can make on the lives of millions.

You can download Contagious Conversations wherever you get your podcasts, and we also encourage you to visit for bonus content, including transcripts of each episode.

If you like the podcast, please pass it along to your colleagues and friends, rate the show, leave a review, and tell others. And be sure to connect with us at to share your comments, questions and suggestions. Stay tuned for Season 2; it’s already in the works with plans for release in Spring 2019.

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