I had an exciting summer working as an intern at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, shadowing attending neonatologists on critical care rounds in the newborn intensive care unit and a primary care pediatrician in a CHOP community clinic. When I was not observing their clinical duties, I conducted research regarding the efficacy of podcasts as an outlet for medical information. I also had the honor of helping these ladies script, edit, and produce their medical podcasts – Baby Doctor Mamas (run by neonatologists Dr. Parga-Belinkie and Dr. Montoya-Williams) and Primary Care Perspectives (led by primary care pediatrician Dr. Lockwood).
There has been research conducted on the role of podcasts in medical education, but it tends to focus strictly on its influence on healthcare providers without investigating patient perspectives. I collected surveys primarily through two channels – in-person collection in the waiting room of a CHOP primary care community clinic and through targeted social media outreach. Our survey was entitled “Provider and Patient Opinions, Preferences, and Knowledge of Podcasting as a Tool for Health Promotion” and it sought to capture the quality indicators across various demographic groups among healthcare providers, parents, and patients. We were curious to learn where providers go for medical information as opposed to where they refer their patients to and which media patients actually use.
A highlight of my summer experience was the chance to write the script for a few Baby Doctor Mamas podcast episodes. I started by creating a literature review on several discussion topics and then brought the topic to life by shaping it into a conversational script for listeners. The first episode I led was named “Sharenting: Post It or Private?” which explored whether parents are doing their children harm by blurring the boundaries between public and private life. We outlined important safety guidelines and precautions to keep in mind for the new generation of parents raising children in a digital culture. I really enjoyed laying out this discussion about social media and society, while also giving room for the hosts to share their own experiences and opinions as mothers.
Another episode centered on the types and forms of infant formula on the market and what makes each different. I loved writing this script. I learned that breast milk is much more complex than we might give it credit for because it not only varies from woman to woman, but it varies within the same woman over time. It is made up of live cells and bioactive compounds that do not have a shelf life, and so they can’t be added to a manmade formula. There are delicate chemical interactions and ratios at play that make it impossible to strike a balance as perfect as the one women’s bodies naturally produce.
On Primary Care Perspectives, I assisted Dr. Lockwood as she interviewed a guest physical therapist on scoliosis in children, and one day, we flipped the script and I interviewed Dr. Lockwood about her expertise in adoption medicine.
My PURM experience allowed me to collaborate with wonderfully supportive mentors and to pursue many of my (seemingly disparate) interests. I was proud to be able to apply my writing, audio, and research skills to investigate the intersection of podcasting and pediatrics.