Episode 57: Improving Public Health Messaging with Megan Tebbenhoff

In Episode 57, we talk to USC alum and epidemiologist Megan Tebbenhoff about the U.S.’s response to the pandemic, the role and responsibility of the government when it comes to public health messaging, ways to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and the work that needs to be done regarding climate change and population displacement.

Megan Tebbenhoff recently graduated from Columbia University with her MPH in epidemiology and a certificate in public health and humanitarian action. Megan spent her time at Columbia working on COVID-19 global health research and studying public health in the humanitarian setting. She is passionate about global health equity and accessible healthcare for all. Megan is working in the Strategic Information Unit at ICAP at Columbia University to support dozens of global health research programs. When she is not working, she enjoys getting outside in different parts of Brooklyn and trying new restaurants around New York.

This episode was recorded on April 5, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

“Having the exposure and having the understanding almost makes it more challenging to be in the environment where [the pandemic]’s what most people are talking about. You see a lot of misinformation… You know too much almost. It’s almost an ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of situation.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“It’s so interesting to see how we’ve placed a lot of responsibility on non-government actors to be the guardians of [pandemic policies] and on the individual to be the guardian of what is actually safe and what is unsafe. And I think at the end of the day our government should be the organization that’s leading this.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“I think that there’s a lot more that the government could have done to help people stay inside when they really needed to.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“Climate change is going to be a major issue in the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“We’re going to get to the point where people can’t keep living where they’re living because of flooding, because of extreme heat or extreme drought. And that’s going to become an exponential growth in the number of people that are displaced from their current homes over the next century.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“Those apocalyptic movies aren’t that far off.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“Every humanitarian intervention is also very flawed, and it’s very difficult to actually learn lessons from the things we’ve done.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“The vaccine conversation is a very challenging one…People don’t want to be patronized.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“Public health messaging is really an important field and really needs to be taken seriously, and I think for the most part it’s been underdone and underfunded.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

“It’s challenging when you leave public health decisions in the hands of people who don’t understand public health.” -Megan Tebbenhoff

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