PODCAST: The State of Public Health with Dr. Ashish Jha

May 23, 2024

Today’s episode features a candid conversation with Dr. Ashish Jha, a globally renowned public health leader and Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

An accomplished physician and researcher, Dr. Jha is acclaimed for driving improvements in public health policy and practice. Most notably, his groundbreaking work on pandemic preparedness and response led to a role at the White House, where he served as Covid-19 Response Coordinator under President Joe Biden. 

Dr. Jha and Heather Howard in Broadcast Center

On the show, Host Heather Howard, a professor at Princeton University and former New Jersey Commissioner of Health, and Dr. Jha frankly discuss what’s working well and where we need to do better in public health. Dr. Jha highlights how U.S. investments during the pandemic improved vaccines, treatments, medical surveillance, and infrastructure to reduce Covid-related deaths while preparing us for the next public health crisis. He also exposes some of our biggest public health failures, including systemic inequities, vaccine hesitancy and disinformation, and declining trust in institutions, emphasizing the importance of listening to everyday people and focusing public health on what matters to them.

With an eye toward the future, the conversation addresses emerging challenges, such as climate change, the sustainability of funding for public health, and managing health care costs, and how to counter these challenges though evidence-informed policies, technological innovation, and sustained, collaborative engagement. Dr. Jha provides a hopeful perspective on ways to overcome political divides and chart a path forward for something we all care about -- helping people live longer, healthier, better lives.

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Dr. Jha references the seminal work of the late Uwe E. Reinhardt, a Princeton University professor and respected health care economist: “It’s The Prices, Stupid: Why The United States Is So Different From Other Countries.”

Heather Howard penned an article related to their discussion on Long Covid and post-viral syndromes: “Learning From Past Disasters to Help Covid Long Haulers.”