Campus News

UB postdoc helps debut public health podcast

By DAVID J. HILL

Published February 8, 2019

headshot of Hailey Banack.
“It’s intended to explain what epidemiologists do, and when people should believe, or ignore, the results of health research studies. It’s by epidemiologists for non-epidemiologists.”
Hailey Banack, postdoctoral associate
Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

A UB researcher helped the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) break new ground by appearing on the organization’s inaugural public health podcast. The podcast is called “Epidemiology Counts,” and new episodes will air every month.

Hailey Banack, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, appeared on the inaugural podcast, titled “Why should I trust that new health study?” Banack was joined by Matthew Fox, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University, and Bryan James, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Rush University.

“We are broadly discussing health research, giving a ‘big picture’ look at how to interpret and understand the results of health studies, and what makes a good study and a bad study,” says Banack, who is a member of a committee of epidemiologists and SER members that will curate the podcast.

“It’s intended to explain what epidemiologists do, and when people should believe, or ignore, the results of health research studies. It’s by epidemiologists for non-epidemiologists,” she adds.

The podcast is the brainchild of Enrique Schisterman, a UB graduate who currently serves as president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and is senior investigator and chief of the epidemiology branch for the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

On the inaugural episode, which debuted in January, podcast host Fox described the program as “a podcast that gives you up-to-date information on the state of health research straight from the researchers who are deeply involved in this work.”

Each episode will focus on a specific disease or health condition, and will feature guest researchers who study it.

The first episode set the stage for future editions by zeroing in on what epidemiology is, which many people don’t understand.

“The basic goal of most epidemiology is to measure disease frequency, so how frequent a disease is in a population, or to compare measurements of disease frequency in different groups,” Banack says.

“It’s really important that what we do, what we study occurs in a specific population and we’re focused on groups of people, which is different than some clinical research, which is focused on individual risk or patient treatment decisions,” she adds.