Vol. 1, No. 1

Columbia Public Health Now

Columbia Public Health Now is a podcast from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health which is currently focused on providing trustworthy scientific information about COVID-19. The host, Maria Andriella O’Brien, received both her MBA and MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University and is now the deputy chief of staff at the School of Public Health. In each episode, she chooses an issue related to the virus—where did it come from? How are scientists studying it? What have we learned from past epidemics?—and interviews a faculty expert who can provide solid information for the general public. 

The production quality is good, though the scripted Q & A format makes for a dry listening experience. The emphasis is on providing accurate scientific information without spin in the belief that the public will be safer if well-informed.

Fact-based: 5 of 5. This podcast is very much about the facts, seeking experts on the Columbia faculty to speak to the crisis from a scientific perspective.

Host: 2 of 5. Unfortunately the podcast sounds overly scripted, as if the host is reading the questions for guests without much animation or warmth, and that detracts from its listenability. 

Production: 4 of 5.

Storytelling: 3 of 5. The Q & A format tends to make each episode sound very similar and a bit dry.

Perspective: 3 of 5.

Action-Oriented: 3 of 5. “Listen to the experts!” might be the action this podcast advocates. Respect science. Not a bad message, just not enormously inspiring.

Overall Rating: 3 of 5.