Listen to the experts.

The podcast focused on the issues that affect global health.

Every episode features leading voices from healthcare, government, and research sharing the latest thinking about the health issues that affect all of us. Listen in and expand your perspectives.

Episode 7

(published 1/27/2021) 

Global Investments, Domestic Dividends

Dr. Rebecca Martin, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health (CGH) [LINK], joins this episode to discuss their recently published Outbreaks Report [LINK]and the important work CGH is doing around the world. She highlights several of the Center’s programs, including the Field Epidemiology Training Program which has taught over 18,000 Disease Detectives to lead prevention, detection and response in more than 90 countries. Now the most experienced of those countries have begun to mentor others through crises.

Dr. Martin goes on to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on the Center’s programs, especially critical initiatives like measles and polio vaccination. She describes the Center’s mission as “working globally to domestically.” The symbiotic nature of that mission has become increasingly apparent during this pandemic, as the lessons learned abroad are now helping to inform the response to COVID-19 at home.



  • 03:39 —The Center for Global Health’s history, mission and 10-year anniversary successes.
  • 06:46 — Disease detectives: over 18,000 health professionals in 90 countries trained to lead prevention, detection and response.
  • 11:49 — How CGH programs have adapted and innovated in the face of COVID-19.
  • 18:15 — The impact of suspending programs due to COVID-19. The collateral damage from program suspension could have been greater than the virus itself.
  • 22:37 — What the next ten years holds for the Center for Global Health.
  • 24:51 — Three key examples of how investing in public health overseas has taught the U.S. valuable lessons that can be implemented at home.
  • 31:40 — Partnerships are key. This work cannot be completed alone.
  • 38:04 — Has the pandemic taught us to value equity?

Episode 6

(published 1/27/2021) 

COVID-19:Up Close and Personal.

Towards the end of last year, our co-host Ken Berta (aka Surge) contracted COVID-19. Determined to add to our pool of knowledge on the virus and provide a resource for others, he kept a diary of his experience. In this episode, he talks candidly to fellow host, Dr. Rob Breiman (aka Spike) about his battle with COVID-19.



  • 02:00 — Keeping a COVID diary. To document this disease, sharing our COVID experiences is critical. We all want to know what is going to happen next and what we should do when.
  • 05:09 — Day One – The first symptoms and self-isolation: fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain.
  • 09:22 — Tests – not so easy to take and tough to sit through.
  • 12:35 — Round two of symptoms: cough, migraine, nausea, low oxygen levels, chest constriction, and finally, the fever.
  • 16:00 — Mitigation methods or how to stay out of hospital.
  • 17:33 — Day Five – The symptoms compound and worsen, the delirium begins, but worst of all is not knowing what to do or whom to turn to for advice.
  • 20:50 — Day Seven – loss of taste and smell
  • 22:00 — Retracing the steps to exposure.
  • 24:00 — The virus spreads to other family members.
  • 27:20 — Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody trial.
  • 33:00 — Lessons learned? Isolate, drink fluids, try to stay mobile, do breathing exercises, know where to go to get tested.

Episode 5

(published 12/22/2020) 

COVID Questions: Spike and Surge on the Spot

Having received several queries and questions from our listeners, in this episode Dr. Rob Breiman and Ken Berta, aka Spike and Surge, set out to provide some answers. They discuss trust in vaccines, COVID virus mutation, safely reopening schools and businesses, and the mitigations we’ll need to keep as the vaccine rolls out.


Episode 4

(published 12/11/2020) 

Come together: Community, COVID and the vaccine

“I think healthcare is a right; everyone should have options”


In this episode of GHC3 Talks, Kathy McNamara, Associate Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the National Association of Community Health Centers joins our hosts Dr. Rob Breiman (Spike) and Ken Berta (Surge) on the podcast.


They talk about how the community health centers have responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the burnout faced by dedicated staff who have been on the frontline since March.


In discussing the preparations needed to distribute a vaccine, Kathy highlights the importance of moving from macro to micro planning at the community level and the critical need for tailored messaging to be delivered by trusted members of the community.

Special Guests



  • 03:57 — COVID-19 did not change the needs of patients, but the care delivery models had to.
  • 06:27 — Concerned about serving communities but also about taking care of the compassionate care chain who has been on the front line since March
  • 07:11 — Trust is key and health centers have been building relationships with families over several generations.
  • 11:42 — They have seen a lot of macro planning, but the focus needs to turn to micro planning at the community level.
  • 16:26 — Communication is key, and it needs to be tailored to the audience and be delivered by trusted sources
  • 19:52 — Some of these communities are more worried about their own socioeconomic issues than they are COVID and vaccination.
  • 28:50 — Introducing GHC3’s Priority-based use of Allocated Vaccines Estimator (PAVE). A tool intended to aid health professionals with immunization program planning and vaccine distribution.

Episode 3

(published 12/04/2020) 

In Data we Trust: Getting Facts to the People.

“Investing in communications research is important. We need to understand who is hesitant, why they’re hesitant, whom do they trust as messengers, and what is it they really want to hear that would convince them it’s worth taking the vaccine.”


While the world watches and waits for a COVID vaccine to be reviewed and approved, Dr. Rob Breiman and Ken Berta, otherwise known as Spike and Surge, sit down with Dr. Walt Orenstein, Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Public Health and Epidemiology at Emory University and former Director of the U.S. National Immunization Program. They talk about what we should be looking for in the vaccine trial data and, perhaps more importantly, how we can persuade people to trust it.

Special Guests



  • 03:00 — The focus for the first round of vaccination. Where will you be in line?

  • 09:48 — A vaccine that stays in the vial is 0% effective.

  • 10:40 — Papers not press releases – what should we be looking for in the vaccine trial data?

  • 14:16 — Communication is key to combatting vaccine hesitancy. 

  • 16:49 — A one-size-fits-all approach to messaging simply won’t work.

  • 18:30 — The COVID-19 vaccine shows the incredible technological advance in vaccine development. We aren’t cutting corners, we’re just getting better at what we do.

  • 23:05 — What are the challenges in trying to immunize the whole world, and how can we combat them?

  • 31:12 — Global vaccination will benefit poorer countries, and richer ones too.

Episode 2

(published 11/19/2020) 

Title: Do You Hear What I Hear? Give the Messenger a Shot

In this episode of GHC3 Talks, Dr. Rob Breiman and Ken Berta are joined by Dr. Dan Salmon of John Hopkins University School of Public Health. In the wake of recent vaccine press releases, they discuss how to build trust in the COVID-19 vaccines, why that is important, and the crucial role that messaging will play.

“It’s much easier to help form views through information and knowledge and science than it is to change them once they’re existing. So we need to be a part of teaching people, educating people and creating the mindset.”

Special Guests



  • 02:14 — Vaccines are a victim of their own success.
  • 04:18 — Vaccine acceptance will move at the speed of trust.
  • 13:55 — Educating amidst a world of misinformation is a challenge, so messaging is key.
  • 14:41 — People’s trust in the vaccines is just as important as the vaccines’ effectiveness.
  • 19:03 — Thorough regulatory review is critical to the safety, acceptance and trust in these vaccines.
  • 22:45 — Vulnerable populations who need the vaccine may be reluctant to be first in line due to historic mistreatment and exploitation.
  • 25:25 — Mass vaccination programs are in danger of being undermined by safety scares.
  • 28:10 — Studies need to be credible, but more importantly believed by the public.

Episode 1

(published 10/22/2020) 

The fight to “bare” arms: ethics and equity in COVID vaccination

In this, the inaugural episode of the GHC3 podcast, our hosts Ken Berta and Dr. Rob Breiman discuss the complex and multifaceted issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccination. To help tackle this topic, they are joined by two special guests: Jim Lavery, Professor of Global Health Ethics at Emory University and Dr. Theresa Cullen, Director of Pima County Public Health Department. 

Jim shines a light on the role ethics could, and should, play in the prioritization of vaccine allocation, while Dr. Theresa Cullen underlines the need for community collaboration and data-driven decisions. 



  • 01:54 — The WHO is still the leading voice – and that voice says a vaccine is not a silver bullet. 
  • 07:55 — Production of a safe and effective vaccine may turn out to be the easy part. 
  • 12:42 — How ethics can help us understand the problems we face. 
  • 16:50 — Vaccine allocation models: the WHO model versus the Fair Priority Model. 
  • 19:40 — The last mile of distribution will determine how vaccine equity is perceived. 
  • 25:05 — What are the ethical goals in equitable distribution? 
  • 28:14 — Technology is producing vaccine at an unprecedented rate, but its only worth it if people receive a shot in the arm. 
  • 31:20 — We have to approach this pandemic as an opportunity and recognize the solution lies in collaboration: our success depends upon each other. 
  • 38:05 — The haunting question is who will get what and how will we decide? 
  • 43:22 — The ultimate public health goal? Data-driven decisions that guide integrated health and human services. 
  • 47:04 — Just who are Spike and Surge?