By Christopher Reeves, MD
Are you a medical worker, student or simply a health enthusiast looking for some new healthcare podcasts? Sifting through all the content out there can be a chore: more than 850,000 podcasts are currently active worldwide, and health and fitness is the fifth most popular podcast topic. Some are made for everyday health enthusiasts, while others specifically speak to MDs and RNs.
Whether you’re a medical beginner or pro, you’ll enjoy having at least one of these podcasts as appointment listening.
For healthcare novices: “TED Health”
If you’re already a podcast listener, you’re probably familiar with the TED family of podcasts.
The brand, famous for its TED Talks since 2006, produces curiosity-driven programs on topics such as work, technology, design, business and, of course, health. Among these is “TED Health,” where host Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, comments on a different health-focused TED Talk she shares weekly.
Speakers present well-researched but easy-to-understand theses on health topics, including COVID-19, vaccine science, nutrition and mental health. You’ll occasionally get to hear from such notable names as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former NFL quarterback Alex Smith.
Best of all, these bite-sized episodes rarely exceed 30 minutes. You can easily gain some useful health knowledge during your commute or a walk around the block.
For more advanced listeners: “The Peter Attia Drive”
Fun fact: Dr. Peter Attia and I trained together at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Now he’s gone from my co-resident to one of my (and many others’) favorite health podcasters.
In this podcast, “The Peter Attia Drive,” he dives deep into a spectrum of healthcare topics. He generally focuses on longevity (increasing one’s lifespan and life quality) and explores branches of medicine that relate to it. These include exercise and nutrition, chronic disease, metabolic health, pharmacology, psychology and even oral health.
Whatever the topic, Dr. Attia brings in highly qualified experts to help educate listeners. You’ll come out of each episode with a fellowship-level understanding of that week’s focus. Still, despite his immense medical knowledge, Dr. Attia isn’t afraid to dig deeper into (and rethink his stance on) complex topics. (See the episode embedded below.)
Sometimes he indulges his outside interests: environmentalism, history, sports and more. He even had Lance Armstrong join him on the mic last year to talk about how he’s grown since his highly publicized doping scandal.
A couple caveats: “The Peter Attia Drive” is more of a time commitment, with weekly episodes averaging about two hours. And if you don’t have a decent working knowledge of basic medicine and related jargon, you might get lost occasionally.
For listeners who like a challenge: “The ZDoggMD Show”
One of Dr. Attia’s earlier podcast guests was Zubin Damania, MD. An internist who completed his fellowship at Stanford University, Dr. Damania quickly became fed up with what he calls the “dysfunctional healthcare system.” (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
Thus, his online persona, “ZDoggMD” – branded as “healthcare’s only unfiltered voice” – was born. Dr. Damania took to the internet in the early 2010s to make comedic content that lampooned modern medicine while educating and entertaining viewers. His musical videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube, the most popular being his parody of “In Da Club” by 50 Cent:
He started “The ZDoggMD Show” in 2017, taking on contemporary healthcare issues with a blend of physician knowledge, casual conversation and trademark wit. What really sets him apart, however, is that he’s unafraid to shy away from thorny topics. Expert guests join him for
open, productive discussions on hot-button topics such as medical cannabis, vaccine mandates and the psychology behind school shootings, among many others.
If you want honest, dynamic takes on divisive issues that might or might not challenge your own views, this is your show.
Christopher Reeves, MD is chief medical officer of Worksite Labs.