From the desk of the EMD: Podcasts – why you should be listening

November 4, 2019

There are many ways to get allergy education. You can go to national meetings, like the one this week in Houston hosted by the College. There are great regional and state meetings with terrific speakers. Of course, you have the allergy journals like Annals. Webinars on educational topics in allergy and practice management, both live and on demand, are available on the College Learning Connection. But this column is not about all the different ways you can keep up with allergy education from the College. I want to talk about my favorite way to get medical education and, for that matter, all types of education and entertainment. That’s podcasts.

I apologize to you if you regularly listen to them as I give a brief history and overview to the others not familiar with this learning tool. According to Wikipedia, a podcast is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download to listen to. The word was suggested by Ben Hammersley, a British internet technologist and journalist, as a portmanteau of the words iPod (you do remember what an iPod was?) and broadcast in 2004 (OK, I had to look up portmanteau, too. It is a linguistic blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word). I guess the best way to think of podcasts is that they are like radio programs that can be played anytime and anywhere at your convenience. Many people have applications on their smartphone, tablet, and computer to subscribe to different podcasts and automatically keep them updated with the latest ones.  Usually I listen to podcasts on my iPhone using an app called Downcast. There are many of these podcatchers available to organize and collect your podcasts. Apple has its own app where you can search for and listen to podcasts, which is free.

I listen regularly to several different podcasts. I can break them down into several subjects. Many of my favorites are personal finance, such as Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey, Bogleheads on Investing and the Dough Roller Money Podcast. I have two podcasts that cross medicine and personal finance. One is the White Coat Investor Podcast hosted by an ED doc, which is invaluable in helping physicians to avoid financial mistakes, and Hippocratic Hustle, which interviews women physicians on their business or side projects. My geek shows with all my Apple podcasts, which include the Apple Bitz XL, iMore, Mac Power Users, MacBreak Weekly and the Mac Geek Gap. Of course, I can’t leave out DawgNation Daily, to keep up with University of Georgia sports.

But I said that podcasts are a great way to keep up in medicine. Yes, they are. Here are my favorite ones dealing with medicine. If you have a chance, download some of them and see what you think.

  1. TED talks in Science and Medicine. If you are not familiar with TED talks, you are missing out on great lectures. This podcast features world- renowned physicians and scientists.
  2. Straight Talk MD. Dr. Frank Sweeny explores hot-button issues in science, medicine and health care.
  3. NEJM This Week. That’s self-explanatory.
  4. This Podcast Will Kill You. Not really, but it does discuss a different disease with each episode.
  5. Bedside Rounds. Adam Rodman, MD tells fascinating medical stories.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the College’s podcast, AllergyTalk. Gerald Lee, MD, Merin Kalangara, MD, and Stanley Fineman, MD, FACAAI are producing very informative programs covering the articles in AllergyWatch and other topics important to the clinical allergist. If you have not listened, give it a download and see for yourself. Maybe you will find that podcasts are great ways to keep up in medicine and allergy, too.

Michael Blaiss, MD, FACAAI, Executive Medical Director