YJBM Special Series: Racism and Health – Episode 1



In this episode of our special series, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast host Felicia interviews Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim about pathways to adverse health in African-Americans due to racism and police brutality as a public health concern. Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim is a Social & Behavioral Sciences lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health and a medical sociologist who studies racial and ethnic health inequities by examining the effects of social stratification, environmental justice, and police brutality.


Return of Dr. Verdolin: An Animal Biologist on how Animal Behaviors and Social Distancing are Interconnected



On this episode, Dr. Jennifer L. Verdolin returns to Heartwood, this time in the era of COVID-19. Dr. Verdolin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and an expert in animal behavior. The author of two books, including Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships and Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics, she draws on animal behavior to reveal how much we can learn from other species to improve our relationships, families, and lives. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, NPR, Slate, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. Jennifer was a featured guest on the D.L. Hughley Show from 2014-2018 and is a frequent media guest on other radio and podcast shows. She enjoys engaging the public and speaks at places like the 92nd St Y and universities around the country. She also consults for television production companies in the US and abroad.


Assisting in Trauma Recovery with Mick Hirsch, DIV ’03



Mick Hirsch, Executive Director of THRIVEGulu, discusses his experience as a chaplain specializing in trauma recovery, his work resettling refugees in Cambodia, and THRIVEGulu’s humanitarian efforts in Uganda.


The Convergence of the Built Environment, Racial Equity, and Public Health: A Conservation with Dr. Allison Mathews



Allison Mathews is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research interests include community engagement, the sociology of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, religion, HIV/AIDS, and social psychology. Her current research examines the use of crowdsourcing theory to implement community engagement activities aimed at facilitating discussion about the social and ethical aspects of curing HIV (searcHIV).

Allison Mathews’ postdoctoral work has developed the 2BeatHIV project, which is a research project focused on empowering local and global communities to shape the future of HIV cure research. The project hosts a series of crowdsourcing contests that encourage community members to use art, technology, and music to develop HIV cure marketing campaigns (see 2BeatHIV.org for more info). The project has reached over 1000 people at in-person events and over 350K unique users online. 2BeatHIV has also received local and national media attention, including volunteer interviews with Viola Davis, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bun B from UGK, Shirley Ceasar, David and Tamela Mann, Johnny Gill, and a host of Radio One Raleigh radio personalities.

She was a Humphreys Fellow and earned her PhD in Sociology in 2015 at UNC Chapel Hill. Her dissertation research focused on the role that stigma attached to being Black and gay played in Black gay men’s strategies to manage identity conflict while maintaining connections to churches. Allison was inducted into the Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Honor Sociology in 2013 for her service to the local community and university and received the Everett K. Wilson Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2014 for her excellence in teaching.


“We can’t protect the environment until we get DEI right.” – Marcelo Banta of J.E.D.I. Heart



Marcelo Banta was originally trained as a conservation biologist, and ended up shifting his career focus from biodiversity to people diversity after finding himself as the sole programmatic person of color at a national conservation organization. That experience was so bad that he didn’t want anything to do with the environmental movement ever again. However, he realized he could not abandon what he loved—those cute little puffy baby piping plovers and all my brothers and sisters having oppressive experiences with environmental organizations. Since the environmental movement could not be successful and sustainable until it got this J.E.D.I. thing right, he went all in. His experiences led him to co-create the Center for Diversity & the Environment, which he ran for a decade, providing transformational trainings for thousands of leaders and organizational change processes for dozens of institutions. He also co-founded the Environmental Professionals of Color, a network for leaders of color to survive, thrive, lead, and innovate.


Essays: What Works



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Part 1 of 3. The most effective application essays help admissions officers understand who students are and the contributions they would make to a community. There’s no formula or perfect essay topic, but Hannah and Mark discuss what makes an essay work for an applicant. Admissions officer Keith joins to share insights on the choices that can be most effective when writing an essay.


Ep. 33 – Valérie Courtois on Indigenous-Led Land and Wildlife Stewardship



As wildlife across Canada face unprecedented pressures from climate change and industrial development, Indigenous Peoples, who have relied upon and managed these animals for millennia, are leading the way on ensuring their protection. From Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon Territory, groundbreaking Indigenous-led protection initiatives are ensuring Canada’s treasured species like the boreal caribou and globally important landscapes are safeguarded for future generations. In this episode, we speak with Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI) founder and director Valérie Courtois, an Innu forester who is a leading advocate for Indigenous-run guardianship and land protection across Canada. Courtois discusses the remarkable efforts of seven First Nations to pull caribou in the Ungava Peninsula back from the brink and her work empowering Indigenous peoples to manage and protect their ancestral lands.


Yale’s Women In Government Fellowship



The group talks with current Yale students who recently participated in Yale’s Women In Government Fellowship. Learn more about this particular program and also learn how students leverage experience in public service toward their career goals, whether they remain in government or not!


Death Episode II



In this episode, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast hosts Emma and Elizabeth interview Dr. Lidya Tarhan, a professor in Yale’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, on her fascinating work investigating the disappearance of organisms of the Ediacaran Period from the fossil record.


How to pick a lab during a pandemic



Choosing a thesis laboratory is one of the most important decisions graduate students make during their research careers. In this episode, Edgar Perez, a first year PhD student at UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute, discusses his experience in choosing a research lab despite not being able to perform research physically in the laboratory space and how both remote communication and asking the right questions – to senior students, his rotation mentors, and potential colleagues – were essential in this process.