337 episodes

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.

Distillations | Science History Institute Science History Institute

    • History
    • 4.6 • 81 Ratings

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.

    Exploring 'Health Equity Tourism'

    Exploring 'Health Equity Tourism'

    In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a new public interest in health inequities research. With this new focus, there also has come new funding with many researchers and institutions clamoring to receive lucrative funding and recognition in the field, but there are no official guidelines to distinguish a health equity expert.
    In this episode we sit down with Dr. Elle Lett who coined the term "health equity tourism" to describe when privileged and previously unengaged scholars enter the health equity field without developing the necessary expertise.
    Credits Hosts: Alexis Pedrick
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producers: Padmini Raghunath & Sarah Kaplan
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions

    • 47 min
    The Mothers of Gynecology

    The Mothers of Gynecology

    Of all wealthy countries, the United States is the most dangerous place to have a baby. Our maternal mortality rate is abysmal, and over the past five years it’s only gotten worse. And there are huge racial disparities: Black women are three times more likely to die than white women. Despite some claims to the contrary, the problem isn’t race, it’s racism. In this episode we trace the origins of this harrowing statistic back to the dawn of American gynecology—a field that was built on the bodies of enslaved women. And we’ll meet eight women who have dedicated their lives to understanding and solving this complex problem.
    Credits Host: Alexis Pedrick 
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producer: Padmini Raghunath
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

    • 56 min
    Correcting Race

    Correcting Race

    Certain medical instruments have built-in methods of correcting for race. They’re based on the premise that Black bodies are inherently different from White bodies. The tool that measures kidney function, for example, underestimates how severe some Black patients’ kidney disease is, and prevents them from getting transplants. Medical students and doctors have been trying to do away with race correction tools once and for all. And they’re starting to see some success.
    About Innate: How Science Invented the Myth of Race “Correcting Race” is Episode 9 of Innate: How Science Invented the Myth of Race, a podcast and magazine project that explores the historical roots and persistent legacies of racism in American science and medicine. Published through Distillations, the Science History Institute’s highly acclaimed digital content platform, the project examines the scientific origins of support for racist theories, practices, and policies. Innateis made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
    Credits  |   Resource List   |   Transcript
    Credits Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producer: Padmini Raghunath
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.
     
    Resource List A Unifying Approach for GFR Estimation: Recommendations of the NKF-ASN Task Force on Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Disease, by Cynthia Delgado, Mukta Baweja, Deidra C Crews, Nwamaka D Eneanya, Crystal A Gadegbeku, Lesley A Inker, Mallika L Mendu, W Greg Miller, Marva M Moxey-Mims, Glenda V Roberts, Wendy L St Peter, Curtis Warfield, Neil R Powe
    A Yearslong Push to Remove Racist Bias From Kidney Testing Gains New Ground, by Theresa Gaffney  
    ‘An entire system is changing’: UW Medicine stops using race-based equation to calculate kidney function, by Shannon Hong 
    Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics, by Lundy Braun 
    Expert Panel Recommends Against Use of Race in Assessment of Kidney Function, by Usha Lee McFarling 
    Hidden in Plain Sight – Reconsidering the Use of Race Correction in Clinical Algorithms, by Darshali A. Vyas, Leo G. Eisenstein, and David S. Jones
    Medical student advocates to end racism in medicine, by Anh Nguyen 
    Precision in GFR Reporting Let’s Stop Playing the Race Card, by Vanessa Grubbs 
    Reconsidering the Consequences of Using Race to Estimate Kidney Function, by Nwamaka Denise Eneanya,  Wei Yang, Peter Philip Reese

    • 48 min
    "That Rotten Spot"

    "That Rotten Spot"

    When the plague broke out in San Francisco in 1900 the public health department poured all of their energy into stopping its spread in Chinatown, as if Chinatown were the problem. This episode reveals why they did it, what it has to do with race science, and what it tells us about the history of public health.
    Credits Host: Elisabeth Berry Drago
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producer: Padmini Raghunath
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

    • 51 min
    Black Pills

    Black Pills

    In 2005 the FDA approved a pill to treat high blood preassure only in African Americans. This so-called miracle drug was named BiDil, and it became the first race-specific drug in the United States. It might sound like a good a good thing, but it had the unintended consequence of perpetuating the myth that race is a biological construct. 

    Credits Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producer: Padmini Raghunath
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.
     
    Resource List Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century, by Dorothy Roberts
    Oprah’s Unhealthy Mistake, by Osagie K. Obasogie
    Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age, by Jonathan Kahn
    Saving Sam: Drugs, Race, and Discovering the Secrets of Heart Disease, by Jay Cohn
    The Slavery Hypertension Hypothesis: Dissemination and Appeal of a Modern Race Theory, by Jay S Kaufman, Susan A Hall
    Superior: The Return of Race Science, by Angela Saini

    • 54 min
    Bad Blood, Bad Science

    Bad Blood, Bad Science

    The word “Tuskegee” has come to symbolize the Black community’s mistrust of the medical establishment. It has become American lore. However, most people don’t know what actually happened in Macon County, Alabama, from 1932 to 1972. This episode unravels the myths of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Syphilis Study (the correct name of the study) through conversations with descendants and historians.
    Credits Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago
    Senior Producer: Mariel Carr
    Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
    Associate Producer: Padmini Raghunath
    Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer
    “Innate Theme” composed by Jonathan Pfeffer. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.


    Resource List Black Journal; 301; The Tuskegee Study: A Human Experiment
    Descendants of men from horrifying Tuskegee study want to calm virus vaccine fears, by David Montgomery 
    Examining Tuskegee: The infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy 
    Nova: The Deadly Deception 
    Susceptible to Kindness: Miss Evers’ Boys and the Tuskegee Syphis Study 
    Tuskegee Legacy Stories
    Under the Shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and Health Care, by Vanessa Northington Gamble
    Voices For Our Fathers Legacy Foundation

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
81 Ratings

81 Ratings

philonous ,

An Indispensable Podcast for Contested Times

This podcast comes from an institute I love and have supported for over a decade. The Science History Institute, formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation, is making superb use of its endowment and its resources to produce concise, relevant, informative, incisive, insightful and engrossing series on topics that are important to our understanding and vital to our public discourse. If “mainstream media” makes you angry, then this is your remedy. Set aside time to take in these fantastic history lessons. An hour of Distillations is worth 10 lifetimes of “social media”.

Avid Listener and Learner ,

Great season

I’ve really enjoyed the latest season, especially how they tackle larger topics but also bring it back in to a Philly perspective. Even if you don’t live in Philly, though, these stories and histories are worth a listen.

public historian ,

Weird stories and cool facts

Love the range of topics they cover. Always strange things to learn about with compelling characters.

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