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Risk Factors

Risk Factors

By Elizabeth Sherwin
Welcome to Risk Factors, a public health podcast where we discuss determinants of health, also called risk factors, and interview researchers, practitioners, advocates, and more.
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Child Welfare System

Risk Factors

Science Communication
On this episode I talk with Sarah Anderson, PhD, about science journalism and communication. Sarah explains how she writes about technical topics for a non-scientific audience, and we discuss tips for talking with journalists and fact-checking science related tweets.  Check out some of Sarah's work here: Here are some tips for fact checking science articles:
March 17, 2022
Maternal Health
On this episode of Risk Factors I talk with Dr. Katherine Bianco about maternal mortality, including the disparities we see here in the United States. We also discuss simulation training for obstetric emergencies in Guatemala, and the importance of providing medical care in a patient's preferred language. To learn more about GOMOMS, check out their website: During the episode Dr. Bianco mentions the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative ( and I reference this report titled Toward the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine:
November 30, 2021
Trauma Informed Systems
On this episode of Risk Factors I talk with Pooja Mhatre, MPH, about trauma informed systems and what it's like to be an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss how the pandemic has impacted our workplaces, data-driven strategies to address vaccine hesitancy, and more. To learn more about trauma informed systems, check out this resource from the San Francisco Department of Public Health:
October 19, 2021
Mental Health
On this episode of Risk Factors I talk with Julie Vaccaro about mental health. We discuss structural ways to improve mental health, what is needed to make mental healthcare more equitable, and how nutrition relates to mental health. If you or someone you know could benefit from mental health resources, please see this CDC webpage: 
September 09, 2021
Child Welfare System
On this episode of Risk Factors I talk with Aubrey Blacker, MURP, about the child welfare system. We discuss the history of foster care and its relation to racism and policing, the benefits and disadvantages of using data to tell a story, and what the future of the child welfare system could look like. During our conversation Aubrey mentions these two TED talks: and as well as this Facebook Live recording from BLM LA:
August 03, 2021
Educational Equity
On this episode I talk with Dayna Chung, MBA, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Community Equity Collaborative, an organization that launches, supports and connects San Francisco Peninsula programs that tackle educational inequality from preschool through high school. We discuss segregation and systemic racism, gender and pay inequities, and prenatal care and early childhood support, and how these issues intersect with education. Check out the Heckman site for more research on the benefits of investing in early childhood programs:
July 01, 2021
Digital Health for Health Systems Strengthening
On this episode I talk with Naina Ahuja, MPH, about digital health, global health, and primary healthcare. We also touch on what it means to be an epidemiologist, telenovelas for public health promotion, and more! Here is the link Naina mentioned from WHO: Recommendations on Digital Interventions for Health System Strengthening: 
June 08, 2021
Adolescent Health
Welcome to the pilot episode of Risk Factors, a public health podcast where we discuss determinants of health, also called risk factors. Today we are focusing on what many would call a particularly “risky” period: adolescence. I will be talking with Dr. Lucía Magis-Weinberg, a cross-cultural developmental science researcher, about how we frame our research and interventions in the field of adolescent health. To learn more about the work discussed on today’s episode, please visit the Transitions website at The website is available in English and Spanish.
May 02, 2021