Raise the Line

Osmosis.org

Osmosis.org explores solutions with top experts to strengthen the capacity of our healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. read less

The Unexpected Career Opportunities in Life Sciences - Marc Cummings, President & CEO of Life Science Washington and Dr. Tina Albertson, Chief Medical Officer at Lyell Immunopharma
4d ago
The Unexpected Career Opportunities in Life Sciences - Marc Cummings, President & CEO of Life Science Washington and Dr. Tina Albertson, Chief Medical Officer at Lyell Immunopharma
“There's a real diversity of jobs available that folks don’t always think about initially when they think about going into healthcare,” says Marc Cummings, the President and CEO of Life Science Washington, a nonprofit trade association serving the life sciences industry in the state of Washington. Dr. Tina Albertson, the Chief Medical Officer at nearby Lyell Immunopharma, agrees. For instance at her company, which does R&D on cell therapies for solid tumor cancers, there’s a need for specialists in logistics who organize and monitor the movement of patient cells that need to be flown to other locations to be genetically engineered and returned to the bedside for use in treatment. As these industry veterans share with host Michael Carrese, the Seattle region is a well-established hub in the growing biotech sector due to a unique blend of strengths including longstanding non-profit research institutions and powerhouse tech companies such as Microsoft and Amazon. “This region is really well-prepared for innovation from a basic science standpoint and also from the tech side of our community,” says Albertson. Check out this revealing discussion of the challenges and opportunities in life sciences, the critical role AI and machine learning is now playing, and what they wish more people understood about clinical trials and drug development. Mentioned in this episode: https://lyell.com/https://lifesciencewa.org/
A Patient-Centered Approach to Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy - Dr. Manish Agrawal, Co-Founder and CEO of Sunstone Therapies
5d ago
A Patient-Centered Approach to Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy - Dr. Manish Agrawal, Co-Founder and CEO of Sunstone Therapies
“With psychedelics right now, there's a lot of hype around the compound, which is somewhat important, but Sunstone Therapies is really founded on the belief that the delivery is more important than the drug,” says Dr. Manish Agrawal, the company’s co-founder and CEO. As interest in the use of psychedelics for mental health treatment grows and various compounds continue to move down the path of FDA approval, Agrawal wants to be sure the medical system is prepared to provide the safest and most effective experience for patients.  In fact, his company is conducting clinical trials to help define the standards for optimal patient care. Serious thought is given to everything from lighting to how patients are greeted, and of course there is great emphasis placed on training therapists properly and supporting them as they do what can be emotionally taxing work. “When people come through Sunstone, we want them to feel loved and held -- because they're dealing with very difficult issues -- but also the rigor and the discipline of a very thorough process that is very safe.” Listen to this super thoughtful conversation with host Shiv Gaglani as Agrawal discusses a new model of mental health care, psychedelic-assisted group therapy, and the transformative results he’s seen in patients. “In the right context with the right amount of support and understanding, psychedelics can help people resolve difficult emotions.”Mentioned in this episode: https://www.sunstonetherapies.com/
Seeing Language Differences as An Opportunity, Not a Barrier - Dr. Pilar Ortega, Founding President of the National Association of Medical Spanish
Jan 25 2023
Seeing Language Differences as An Opportunity, Not a Barrier - Dr. Pilar Ortega, Founding President of the National Association of Medical Spanish
Why is it that Hispanics make up 20% of the U.S. population, but only 6% of the physician workforce? Well, Dr. Pilar Ortega, founding president of the National Association of Medical Spanish and co-founder of the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement, is working towards closing that gap. As an immigrant herself, she and her family have experienced trying to navigate a medical system that wasn’t designed for them. Now as an emergency physician and clinical associate professor with dual appointments at the University of Illinois Chicago Departments of Emergency Medicine and Medical Education, she’s tackling those issues head-on. She will also have the opportunity to address these concerns in her new role asVice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Wearing her academic hat, Dr. Ortega utilizes her bi-cultural background to create resources and credentials for Spanish-speaking providers, including two books published by our parent company, Elsevier: Spanish and the Medical Interview: A Textbook for Clinically Relevant Medical Spanish and Spanish and the Medical Interview: Clinical Cases and Exam Review. Don’t miss this enlightening episode of Raise the Line as Dr. Ortega shares her thoughts with host Shiv Gaglani on why language should be seen as a professional skill, the importance of language re-education and the discrimination both Latino providers and patients face.Mentioned in this episode: https://www.namspanish.org/
The Need for Leadership Training in Medical School - Nita Gombakomba, National President of the Student National Medical Association
Jan 18 2023
The Need for Leadership Training in Medical School - Nita Gombakomba, National President of the Student National Medical Association
“In medical school, you don't learn about leadership. You don't learn about what skills are required to make large-scale strategic decisions that can impact your patients,” says Nita Gombakomba, who will complete her medical degree later this year at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  As national president of the Student National Medical Association -- which has been fighting for equity and diversity in the medical field for sixty years – Nita has cultivated a broad perspective on medical education and the practice of medicine as she contemplates the future she and her classmates are facing. As she explains to host Michael Carrese, adding leadership training to medical school curricula is particularly important for students from underrepresented communities who see few role models in the ranks of healthcare leadership. As president of SNMA, she’s made leadership opportunities for members a focus, as well as community service initiatives and addressing health disparities. “We've really been pushing the focus on how housing instability also doubles as healthcare instability and the other health disparities that are related to that.” Tune in for a thoughtful perspective from the trenches of medical education and learn why it was important for Nita to take a break from med school to earn an MBA. https://snma.org/Mentioned in this episode:
An Inside Look At the Long Battle to Legalize Psychedelics: Dr. Rick Doblin, Founder & Executive Director of MAPS
Jan 12 2023
An Inside Look At the Long Battle to Legalize Psychedelics: Dr. Rick Doblin, Founder & Executive Director of MAPS
“I know it's hard for people to think about holding on if they're in despair, but there's the possibility of healing coming ahead. Don’t give up hope,” says Dr. Rick Doblin, who has devoted his career to getting MDMA and other psychedelics approved by the FDA.  As you’ll hear in this episode of Raise the Line, he could be on the verge of seeing his decades-long dream come true.  On the day host Shiv Gaglani spoke to Doblin (January 5, 2023) successful results from a Phase 3 clinical trial of MDMA to treat PTSD were released by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – an organization Doblin founded thirty-six years ago. This sets in motion a process that could result in FDA approval of MDMA for this use in 2024. That’s very good news for the millions of Americans with PTSD – and hundreds of millions worldwide – whose disease is resistant to other treatments. One of the next big steps is training therapists to incorporate these drugs into their work, something MAPS and other organizations are moving quickly to accomplish. Tune into this fascinating conversation about the political and social factors that have held up legalization of psychedelics for decades, other promising applications of MDMA, what fuels Doblin’s passion for normalizing the use of these promising medications, and the largest ever conference on psychedelics coming to Denver, Colorado in June.  Mentioned in this episode:https://maps.org/https://psychedelicscience.org/
Fostering Respect for Science and Support for Health Innovation - Max Bronstein, Assistant Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Jan 11 2023
Fostering Respect for Science and Support for Health Innovation - Max Bronstein, Assistant Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
The growth in skepticism about science that was fueled by disinformation during the pandemic has been a frequent topic on Raise the Line, with many insightful guests from medicine and academia offering analysis of the problem and possible solutions. On today’s episode, we’ll hear from someone who is very well-placed to actually make progress on this front. Max Bronstein, the Assistant Director for Health Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, joins host Shiv Gaglani to discuss the broad support President Biden has provided for science – elevating his science advisor to the cabinet level being a prime example – and also provide details about programmatic investments that tell the tale at a deeper level. At the top of Bronstein’s list of examples is the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, also known as ARPA-H, which aims to drive transformative biomedical and health breakthroughs with a focus on equity. “The mission is about making sure there are cures for diseases, better diagnostic platforms and better technologies out there, but also making sure those are actually available to all Americans.” Don’t miss this inside look at new efforts to strengthen the biotechnology workforce, broaden access to clinical genetic sequencing, advance development of treatments for rare diseases, and much more as a new era in health innovation gets underway.  Mentioned in this episode: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/
Using AI to Solve Medical Mysteries and Spur Rare Disease Treatments – Dr. Matthew Might, Kaul Precision Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Dec 21 2022
Using AI to Solve Medical Mysteries and Spur Rare Disease Treatments – Dr. Matthew Might, Kaul Precision Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
“It's still early days in the application of all this technology relative to its long-term potential, but even so, it's already producing some big wins for patients,” says Dr. Matthew Might, whose impactful career in computer science and medicine has been shaped by the rare disease odyssey of one of his children. His son, Bertrand, was the first person in the world diagnosed with a particular form of NGLY1 deficiency, a neurogenic degenerative condition that causes developmental delays, seizures and frequent infections. Unfortunately, Bertrand succumbed to an infection at the age of twelve in 2020 but by that time, Dr. Might's work in precision medicine had led to crucial discoveries for dozens of children with NGLY1 deficiency. Now, as director of the Hugh Kaul Institute of Precision Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he uses an AI-based system programmed to connect the dots in extensive databases of medical literature to make inferences about potential therapies for uncommon diseases. Check out this fascinating conversation with host Shiv Gaglani about the promise of this approach, the challenges in repurposing drugs and conducting clinical trials in the rare disease community, the need for more genetic counselors and Dr. Might’s work on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which he calls the Rosetta stone of the human genome. Mentioned in this episode: https://www.uab.edu/medicine/pmi/
Navigating Change in the U.S. Healthcare System - Susan Dentzer, President & CEO of America’s Physician Groups
Dec 19 2022
Navigating Change in the U.S. Healthcare System - Susan Dentzer, President & CEO of America’s Physician Groups
We welcome one of the nation's most respected health and health policy thought leaders to Raise the Line on this episode.  Susan Dentzer’s remarkable career includes many years of reporting on healthcare for major national news outlets, being a senior policy adviser to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and serving as a board leader in medical education and health system delivery, just to name a few of her contributions. Earlier this year, Ms. Dentzer was appointed president and CEO of America's Physician Groups, an organization representing more than 350 physician groups providing coordinated, value-based healthcare for more than ninety million patients nationwide. She's also currently board chair of Research America, which advocates on behalf of biomedical and health-related research and innovation. Tune in to this elucidating discussion with host Shiv Gaglani that delves into what the pandemic revealed about value-based care and virtual care; what is helping to lessen clinician burnout; surprising views among medical students on the use of tech in healthcare; what is at the root of the public’s mistrust of science, and much more. “The reality of healthcare is very complicated. What I would make a plea for is that we all try to engage in developing a greater understanding of the issues, as opposed to seeing them through a narrow lens.”Mentioned in this episode: https://www.apg.org/https://www.researchamerica.org/
A Hypothesis-Agnostic Approach to Accelerating Drug Discovery - Dr. Chris Gibson, Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion
Dec 14 2022
A Hypothesis-Agnostic Approach to Accelerating Drug Discovery - Dr. Chris Gibson, Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion
“I’m currently sitting 100 feet away from a giant lab full of robots where we can do up to 2.2 million experiments a week,” says Dr. Chris Gibson, the Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion, a company whose mission is to create a more efficient path to drug discovery. You are going to hear a lot of mind-boggling numbers from Chris in today’s Raise the Line episode, but they all boil down to this: advances in genetics, computing, artificial intelligence, mRNA capability and other technologies are all converging to accelerate the testing of drugs at an incredible pace. This is particularly good news for people with rare diseases who are often in a race against time for development of therapies. Although only founded nine years ago, Recursion already has four programs in clinical trials. A key factor in this success is a bold departure from the traditional hypothesis-based approach to science driven by lab failures Chris experienced while earning his MD-PhD. Once he and his colleagues cast aside their bias about what was driving the disease in question, they achieved success in animal testing. “We just modeled the genetic loss of function because we knew that incontrovertibly to be true, and then asked the cells what was actually driving the disease and what could make it better.” Don’t miss this fascinating look at reengineering drug discovery through gene mapping, training neural networks and other leading-edge technology. Mentioned in this episode: https://www.recursion.com/
Perspectives on Improving the Rare Disease Patient Journey - Dr. Maria Pfrommer, Director of Nursing Education at Osmosis and her husband, Jack Pfrommer
Dec 7 2022
Perspectives on Improving the Rare Disease Patient Journey - Dr. Maria Pfrommer, Director of Nursing Education at Osmosis and her husband, Jack Pfrommer
Regular listeners to Raise the Line know so-called "rare diseases" aren't really rare when you consider up to thirty million Americans are affected by them directly. That makes it likely you know someone who is impacted, or you know one of their colleagues, friends or loved ones. That fact has hit home at Osmosis over the last few months as we've started planning a major focus on rare diseases for 2023, which we're calling The Year of the Zebra. Several teammates have come forward to tell us their rare disease stories and we'll be sharing some of those on the podcast in the coming months. First up is our Director of Nursing Education Dr. Maria Pfrommer and her husband, Jack, who join host Shiv Gaglani to offer insights into the diagnosis and treatment journey they’ve been on to deal with Jack’s battle with retroperitoneal fibrosis, an inflammatory condition which can cause obstructions in the urinary tract. While Maria’s vast clinical knowledge and experience in healthcare systems has obviously been helpful, it was still a struggle to get the right diagnosis and treatment due to limited experience among healthcare professionals with rare conditions. “From my perspective, I really think that we need to learn more about rare disorders from every level of care,” she says. Tune in for great real-world advice for healthcare professionals dealing with rare disease patients including the importance of listening to the patient, understanding their whole life picture and focusing on transitions of care.
The Power of a Rare Disease Community - Luke Rosen, Founder of KIF1A.org
Dec 1 2022
The Power of a Rare Disease Community - Luke Rosen, Founder of KIF1A.org
“You know, it's easy to say that default answer that everything's okay, but it's really not. She's lost a lot of her vision, she's got hundreds of seizures at night, and she's having difficulty walking,” shares Luke Rosen about his eight-year-old daughter Susannah.  She was born with KIF1A-associated neurological disorder -- or KAND -- a rare, degenerative genetic disease for which there is currently no cure or treatment.  On this episode of Raise the Line, Luke talks about how he and his wife Sally summoned the strength to move beyond their family’s own challenges to create KIF1A.org which is working to rapidly discover a treatment for all patients and families affected by this devastating disorder, but to also create a supportive community.  “Five years later, we have approximately four hundred families around the world that we've identified and there's not one family I know that doesn't play a significant role in what we do.” Thanks to that global community and partnerships with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Columbia University, the n-Lorem Foundation, the Jackson Laboratory and many other organizations, there’s reason to be hopeful, as Luke shares with host Shiv Gaglani. “Susannah has been fortunate enough to just have started an experimental treatment. We really are on the brink of several things for, hopefully, the entire community.” Tune in for a candid and moving look at how families and supportive scientists and healthcare providers are mobilizing to fight back against a rare and pernicious threat to their children.Mentioned in this episode: https://www.kif1a.org/
The Health and Wellness Implications of Adding Scent to Virtual Reality - Aaron Wisniewski & Dr. Rachel Herz of OVR Technology
Nov 17 2022
The Health and Wellness Implications of Adding Scent to Virtual Reality - Aaron Wisniewski & Dr. Rachel Herz of OVR Technology
It’s not hard to start feeling relaxed when you experience a virtual reality visit to a mountain top, taking in the beautiful views of forested peaks and valleys and hearing the rustling breeze. You can actually feel transported from the real world.  But imagine how much more transporting it would be if you could also smell the pine trees? Well, now you can, thanks to OVR Technology, a Vermont-based company that has overcome substantial technical challenges to seamlessly add scent to the VR and AR experience. “Research has shown quite directly that adding sense of smell to VR tangibly increases presence and immersion and the key factors that everybody is looking for when they experience a VR environment,” says neuroscientist Dr. Rachel Herz, the company’s chief scientific adviser.  And because not everyone has positive associations with scents from the real world, says CEO Aaron Wisniewski, OVR is creating new ones to facilitate the therapeutic impact of the scented VR experience. Both stress that the applications for the technology go well beyond recreational use, and the units are already being deployed in clinical settings with one study showing a major -- and lasting -- drop in levels of pain, stress and anxiety among inpatients after doing just a few short sessions with the OVR headset per week.  Don’t miss this fascinating conversation with host Michael Carrese as we explore how OVR’s groundbreaking technology is adding a powerful new dimension to the virtual world.Mentioned in this episode: https://ovrtechnology.com/