A podcast on how our health is influenced by commercial forces, wealth and power, hosted by Dr Nason Maani and featuring conversations from a range of perspectives.
Episode 10: Money, Power and Gambling with Rebecca Cassidy
58:15Hello everyone, and welcome back to Money Power Health. Today I have the great privilege of speaking to Rebecca Cassidy, professor of social anthropology at Goldsmiths, on the gambling industry and her experience of working on gambling industry research. The gambling industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, particularly through online and mobile gaming, and is increasingly consolidating globally. Gambling has significant health and social implications for both users and their families, particularly as the industry relies on a small proportion of players for the majority of gambling revenue. Notably, a significant proportion of gambling-related public health research is industry-funded, as are most academic conferences, despite a clear conflict of interest. Professor Cassidy and her colleagues were among the first to step into these spaces, and critically examine how the industry had coopted gambling research, terminology, and outcomes, and so besides being something of a hero of mine, her experience and example is relevant to anyone who has to stand up and say the unwelcome, but important truth about the root causes of health problems. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. You can find out more about the work she refers to below. The report Fair Game on gambling research: https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11731/1/Fair-Game-Web-Final.pdf Her book, Vicious Games: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9780745340395?gC=5a105e8b&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwkY2qBhBDEiwAoQXK5e8ilKkXnT5UqoYDR8RressAYaK72CcDuitgLkPtZEdBB_WAFBKFFBoCFm4QAvD_BwE A recent paper she co-authored on a public health approach to gambling regulation: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S2468-2667(21)00098-0 Music in this podcast was composed and performed by Daniel Maani. You can find out more about his music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4GDF0XnCn78nce0gesJoC7 And here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0Gs6V1gnUYEkZLfU2kjBdK See you in the next episode.
Episode 9: The Power of PR with Grant Ennis
48:44Hello and welcome back to Money Power Health. “Think global, act local!” “Be the change you want to see in the world!” “Every little bit counts!” We can all get on board with such sentiments, right? Well, todays guest Grant Ennis, would question that. He is the author of the book "Dark PR: How corporate disinformation undermines our health and the environment". In this new book, drawing on his experience working in the environmental, philanthropy, and public health sectors, he lays out the costs of commercial efforts to influence citizen action and discourse, individually and cumulatively. The book offers a wide-ranging appraisal of the narratives that he feels hold us back, the costs of our approaches to issues such as subsidies and tax breaks ,and, argues for the need to think more structurally, to organise, and to unite in broader coalitions if we wish to improve health in foundational, structural ways. I hope you enjoy the conversation. The book is available from Dajara Press in print or ePub: https://darajapress.com/publication/dark-pr-how-corporate-disinformation-harms-our-health-and-the-environment and from Audible as an audiobook: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Dark-PR-Audiobook/B0CCT1WMQ2 The publication he mentions led by Mark Petticrew is available here: https://jech.bmj.com/content/71/11/1078 and our related paper on the pollution of discourse and the need for effective counterframing is here: https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj.o1128 Dr. Terry Lynn Karl is the researcher he mentioned from Stanford in relation to electorialism: https://cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu/people/Terry_L_Karl The asian disease experiment was published here: Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. "The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice." science 211, no. 4481 (1981): 453-458. The full quote from Arundhati Roy that he refers to is here: [the] whole idea of 'you have to be a saint first and then be political' is [a] way of making sure that a whole lot of people are not political.” (Roy, Arundhati. “Interview and Q&A with Arundhati Roy.” In Earth at Risk: Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet. Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2013) Music in the podcast was composed and performed by Daniel Maani. You can find out more about his music here: https://www.danielmaani.com
Episode 8: Public health, inequality and resilience with Jihad Makhoul
1:09:01Hello everyone, and welcome to Money, Power, Health. All three themes very much play into the health and wellbeing of the people of Lebanon, which has been assailed by a multi-pronged crisis for the past few years. Lebanon hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the largest number of refugees per capita of any country, and has experienced a profound combination of socioeconomic turndown and COVID-19 pandemic since 2019, in addition to the devastating port of Beirut explosion in 2020. This week, I will be speaking to Judy Makhoul. Judy is professor of Department of Health Promotion and Community Health at the American University of Beirut (AUB), and has a had a rich and varied career spanning academic work on disaster relief, displaced population and commercial determinants of heallth, but also work with Save the Children in Lebanon. In this conversation we cover how she became interested in these areas, her work and life in Beirut, and her reflections on conducting research and teaching in the complex, challenging circumstances of Beirut in the light of the civil war, the Syrian war, and the 2020 explosion. Her research and publications have focused on war affected populations such as internally displaced families of the Lebanese civil war, border crossing refugee populations, (Palestinian and Iraqi refugees) qualitative research and community based research and research ethics in the Arab region. You can find more about her research here: https://tinyurl.com/ycyvzsvc And the work of the GECI-PH network here, coordinated by Rima Nakkash and Melissa Mialon: https://www.aub.edu.lb/fhs/Pages/GECI.aspx Link to Daniel Maani’s music: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4GDF0XnCn78nce0gesJoC7
Episode 7: Advancing Public Health in Local Government with Greg Fell
55:03Hello everyone and welcome back to Money Power Health. As we have been discussing in previous episodes, health is to a large degree shaped by our social and physical environments. Public Health, as defined by Acheson, is “the science and art of promoting health, preventing disease, and prolonging life through the organized efforts of society.” Some of that art and science, in fact a lot of it, plays out at the level of local, rather than national government. In the UK, local authorities have statutory public health responsibilities carried out by teams of local public health professionals, led by a Director of Public Health. Directors of public health are responsible for determining the overall vision and objectives for public health in a local area. What’s so fascinating to me about public health in local authority settings is that it is at the coalface. DPHs and their teams have to work alongside a range of other local stakeholders and elected councillors who change over time. For many of them, health might be a secondary concern, or not even something they consider themselves affecting. The skills they apply in doing this, are unique, but incredibly important for many of us who care about money, power and health. This week we are talking about the practice of public health in local authorities, with Greg Fell. Greg Fell is the Director of Public Health in Sheffield, and Vice President of the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH). During the COVID-19 pandemic, DPHs like Greg and their teams faced enormous pressures in terms of their capacity, coordination, expertise and media presence. He is a leading voice in UK public health, and has an excellent blog where he pulls together a wide range of knowledge into bite-size, actionable chunks. In this podcast we cover Gregs journey into Public Health, what a Director of Public Health does, the state of health and health inequalities in Sheffield, what it was like working in a public health team during COVID-19, how to think pragmatically while mindful of the wider forces that shape health, what brings satisfaction in work of this type, what personal qualities one needs to be effective in that kind of local government setting, and what commercial determinants of health mean for public health at the local authority level. Huge thanks to Greg for sharing his candid reflections, he is a fountain of information. Link to Gregs blog: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com Link to ADPH website: https://www.adph.org.uk Link to the article on the pollution of discourse he mentioned: https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj.o1128.long Link to the Health Foundation’s excellent report on framing and health: https://www.health.org.uk/publications/a-matter-of-life-or-death Link to the citizens advice bureau he mentioned: https://www.nhs.uk/services/service-directory/sheffield-citizens-advice-bureau/N10977109 Link to Daniel Maani’s music: https://youtalktoomuch.band
Episode 6: The firearm industry, power and the law with Jon Lowy
57:05The firearm industry is, without question, a commercial determinant of health. It manufactures and markets harmful products, and companies actively compete with each other on features like round count, ease of reloading, and lethality. More civilian-owned firearms, of more types, with more accessories like scopes or red dot sights, more bullets and magazines, in more locations, is good for business, but as clearly born out by the evidence, is bad for health. In recent years gun sales in the US have increased dramatically, and the prospect of further gun control looks dimmer, as a result of the US supreme courts ruling on the right to concealed carry. You might think of this as a uniquely American issue, but firearms are a global problem, and firearm harm certainly isn’t restricted to the US alone, but the US does loom large, both in terms of the harm to American citizens, but also as a source for guns that then end up in other countries, trafficked illegally, for example to Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Canada. However, even in public debates in the US, the main figures that dominate the debate are political ones, including the NRA. The industry itself has received somewhat less attention as a barrier to progress, or a facilitator of firearm-related harm, unlike for example the the tobacco industry. To talk through the role of the gun industry, the nature of firearm-related harm, and some of the challenges to reducing it, we are joined by Jonathan Lowy. He is the Founder and President of Global Action on Gun Violence, and before that was the chief council and vice president legal for the Brady Campaign. Jon has been an advocate and litigator on these issues for some 25 years. If you want to find out more about Global Action on Gun Violence, their website is here. You can read more about the lawsuit between the Mexican government and US gun manufacturers here. If you want to find out more about the firearm industry as a commercial determinant of health, we wrote a commentary in the American Journal of Public Health here. Led by Dr Zain Hussein, some empiric research on how the firearm industry frames firearm harms and their solutions can be found here. The music for this podcast was composed and recorded by Daniel Maani. You can find out more about his music here: https://youtalktoomuch.band
Episode 5: Going upstream in health data and decisions with Salma Abdalla
52:36Hi everyone, and welcome back to money power health, a podcast on how our health is influenced by wealth and power. As we discussed in our introductory episode with Sandro Galea, one of the main things that determines our health is the distribution of resources and opportunity, yet, when we think of data on health that might better inform decisions, we tend to focus on healthcare related data, on patients, disease prevalence, and risk factor epidemiology. This week I want to speak with someone who is trying to help decision-makers think more broadly, and more upstream, when it comes to data on health. As you will see my guest this week has already been at the heart of some very interesting work on inequalities and health, on who we think of, and whose voices we might include. Her own personal story is a testament to her tenacity, intelligence, and commitment to studying the causes and practical solutions to within and between country inequalities. This week I am speaking to Dr Salma Abdalla about going upstream, when it comes to data and decision-making. She is a Sudanese medical doctor, is an Assistant Professor in Global Health and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. She studies how data on the social, economic, and commercial determinants can be used to inform decision-making on health and health equity in different contexts. She also studies the effects of trauma on global population mental health. She has published over 50 scientific journal articles, co-authored 8 reports and policy briefs, and co-authored 9 book chapters. She was the Director of the 3-D Commission on Determinants, Data science and Decision making. She also served as a secretariat member for the WHO Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Abdalla was also engaged in advocacy efforts to incorporate the voices of young people in setting the global public health agenda for several years. She was elected the Secretary General of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations for the term 2013-2014. She was also named an emerging voice in global health in 2018 and a Moremi fellow for young women leadership in Africa in 2012. You can find out more about the 3D commission here: https://3dcommission.health The paper on global health scholarship we discussed is here: https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/10/e002884 The paper on CVD prevalence by wealth is here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32975572/ The paper that makes reference to "prisoners of the proximate" which I couldn't remember (!) is by AJ McMichael and is here: https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/149/10/887/172868 Thanks for listening as always.
Episode 4: Commercial influence on science with Lisa Bero
52:48Hello everyone, and welcome back to Money Power Health. As you know, this podcast is about money, and power, and the role they play in shaping population health. I am particularly interested in the commercial determinants of health, the activities of the private sector, and the structures it operates in, that shape health directly and indirectly. One of the values of taking a commercial determinants lens to these issues, is that it allows us to consider commonalities in commercial incentives, strategies and tactics. A key example of this, is considering commercial influence on science and the generation of knowledge. That is what the topic of todays podcast is, and for this I am joined by Professor Lisa Bero. She is a Professor of Medicine and Public Health, and Chief Scientist at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado. She is Senior Editor, Research Integrity for the Cochrane Collaboration, and was co-chair of the Cochrane Governing Board from 2014-2019. She has pioneered the use of internal industry documents and transparency databases to understand corporate tactics and motives for research influence, and has developed a range of qualitative and quantitative methods for assessing bias in the design, conduct and dissemination of research. She also kindly contributed a chapter on industry influence on research for our book, the commercial determinants of health, published by Oxford University Press. In the podcast we talk about how she got interested in this area of research, some of her findings on the cycle of commercial bias in research, the impact of this work, how to communicate it to scientists and to the public, and of course, some advice for early career researchers. You can find more about her work here: https://www.cuanschutz.edu/centers/bioethicshumanities/facultystaff/lisa-bero-phd And some of the work she mentions with Alice Fabbri is here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30157979/ Here is an example of the use of meta knowledge research, in the context of research on the health effects of salt: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/45/1/251/2363485 The music for this podcast was composed and recorded by Daniel Maani. You can find out more about his music here: https://youtalktoomuch.band
Episode 3: Social Media with Nora Kenworthy and Marco Zenone
43:16Hello everyone, and welcome back to Money Power Health. As I mentioned in the first episode, part of the goal of this podcast is to bear witness to some of the hidden forces that shape health, and the extent to which they relate to money and power. Sometimes it is hard to perceive, but everything from the quality of the air you are breathing, to the bacterial count in your tap water, or your proximity to a firearm, affects your health, and is in large part a consequence of the distribution of money and power. And that isn’t just the case with the physical world. Many of us now also spend a large proportion of our lives and interact with others through social media. That digital world is shaped by commercial forces, just like the physical one is. The companies that produce these are sometimes incredibly large, and active political players, through funding political campaigns, co-designing and conducting research, and engaging in CSR efforts, including with UN organizations. Social media platforms are crucial conduits of information, and networks of influence, though often in highly selective and unequal ways. These are not simply utility providers. In the case of much of social media, while the platform itself is an environment we inhabit and interact with, it is designed by a company that relies to a large extent on maximising engagement, data collection, and ad revenue, through our presence on it. There has been increasing interest in how social media algorithms may amplify or inadequately moderate harmful content, including hate speech and misinformation, or be used by harmful product manufacturers to promote their products, or shape public discourse. Research is now beginning to consider the ways in which social media companies, and platforms, might be regarded as commercial determinants of health, and since you probably found the podcast via social media, I thought it would be good to devote an episode to understanding some of the health implications that arise as a result of the nature, incentives, platforms and activities of social media companies, since they are responsible for an increasing portion of our social worlds. To do this, I have invited two guests. The first is Professor Nora Kenworthy. She is an associate professor in the school of nursing and health studies at the University of Washington, who has conducted a range of research projects on the health implications of crowd-funding platforms and social media more generally. Joining her is Marco Zenone, a researcher and doctoral candidate at LSHTM who’s studies focus on the intersection of public health, misinformation and marketing on social media. You can find an example of the work Nora referred to on crowdfunding here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8519036/ and an example of Marco's work here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/poi3.188 We wrote a short conceptual article on social media as a commercial determinant of health, which you can find here: https://www.ijhpm.com/article_4248_0357b3eafff74f9eec69cd6d310cd803.pdf The music in this podcast was by Daniel Maani. You can check out more of his music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4GDF0XnCn78nce0gesJoC7 and here: https://youtalktoomuch.band
Episode 2: Conducting research in public health with Martin McKee
39:39Welcome back to Money Power Health. This week, we are speaking to Professor Martin McKee, on his research in public health, the responsibility to communicate public health to wider audiences, including the media, and some advice for early career researchers on specialisation and collaboration. Martin is a Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He is a past Chair of the UK Society for Social Medicine (2010), President of the European Public Health Association (2014-16), and chair of the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Open Society Foundations (2010-15). He is a member of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine. He is currently the President of the British Medical Association, the trade union and professional body for doctors and medical students in the UK. The BMA has been very active in speaking up about the health impacts of the cost of living crisis for people in the UK. You can read more about their work here. Martin just wrote a piece reflecting on the UK and health three years post Brexit, which you can read here. If you are interested in the work of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, which he mentions in the podcast, you can find out more about their work here. Thanks so much for listening. Warmly, Nason
Episode 1: Introducing Money Power Health, with special guest Sandro Galea
25:38Welcome to Money Power Health, a podcast on how our health is influenced by commercial forces, wealth and power, hosted by Dr. Nason Maani, lecturer in inequalities and global health policy at the University of Edinburghs Global Health Policy Unit. In this first episode, with the help of guest Professor Sandro Galea, Dean of Boston University School of Public Health, we introduce the podcast, and discuss the main themes in the podcast title. A link to the book mentioned at the start of the podcast is here: https://academic.oup.com/book/44473 And Sandro Galea's book entitled Well, which we also referenced, is here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/well-9780190916831?cc=gb&lang=en& You can find out more about Sandro Galea here: https://www.bu.edu/sph/profile/sandro-galea/ If you have any ideas for podcast guests or topics, you can email Nason here: [email protected]