August 23, 2021

‘DNA’ podcast Season 2 explores COVID, science and trust in communities

Listen to Episode 1, Blueprint for a Pandemic-Ready Society, and subscribe on your favorite platform.

The first episode of the second season of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s original podcast series, Vanderbilt Health DNA: Discoveries in Action, tackles bold questions and issues pushed to the surface by COVID-19.

This season, the award-winning 10-episode series delves into a host of topics, including the role of clinical trials in advancing medicine, equity and representation, what makes a society pandemic-ready, evolving ICU care, and the permanent imprint of the pandemic on how medical institutions connect to their communities.

On other episodes, which release every Monday through the end of October, experts explain why it’s essential to bust the stigmas around talking about bowel health as colon cancer rates rise in young adults; health care’s inextricable links to climate change; innovation in transplantation; the importance of trustworthiness; the gut’s microbiome — and more.

Season 2 of the Vanderbilt Health DNA podcast series launches on Aug. 16 with the trailer and an episode every Monday starting Aug. 23.

“One of the deeper learnings from COVID is that we, as people, are reckoning with what it means to be healthy. Conversations that illuminate the role science has in society matter more than ever as we weigh what our roles are, both individually and collectively,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Whether you’re listening in for the second season, or joining us for the first time — welcome to these important conversations about what’s changing in the next generation of medicine, science and our communities.”

The first episode, Blueprint for a Pandemic-Ready Society, explores the sophisticated web of logistics required to contain pathogens. Keeping economies buzzing takes collaboration across industries, institutions and borders—all while harnessing political and societal will to blunt transmission.

James Crowe Jr., MD, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, explains the “amazing capacity” of the human immune system. Robert Carnahan, PhD, associate director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, explains how everything from shipping and bureaucratic red tape to international treaties impact how scientists and communities respond. H. Keipp Talbot, MD, MPH, associate professor of Medicine and Health Policy, appraises the existing public health and communication networks’ impact on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, which remains her top priority.

DNA’s debut season was awarded Podcast of the Year by Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) and was highly favored by listeners. The series was recognized in the Top 100 Health & Fitness podcasts on Apple and featured as one of Apple Podcasts Top Shows in Science three days after its first episode.

Tune in on your favorite platform: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pandora, and the Health Podcast Network. New episodes drop every week on all podcast platforms starting Aug. 23.

Join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn with #ListenDNA and by following @VUMC_Insights.

To learn more about Vanderbilt Health DNA and access episode extras, visit


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