Courtesy of Yale School of Medicine

Yale School of Medicine student Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako MED ’20 has produced a podcast series titled “Flip the Script” to educate listeners on the topic of health disparities.

“Flip the Script,” which is at the intersection of social justice and medicine, runs roughly 30-minute interview episodes with individuals who work to address health inequalities. Past interviewees include historians, public health professionals, physicians, anthropologists, psychiatrists, lawyers and community health workers for incarcerated people.

Tiako found that, as a minority, he was often providing his peers with a more complex understanding of health disparities. In addition, health equity was a common topic of discussion amongst his conversations with minority medical students. When meeting with his academic advisor, a black woman who works in health disparities, Tiako discussed this variation of “black tax” that he feels as a minority in medicine.

“We were talking about the tax of being a minority in medicine,” Tiako said. “Sometimes you feel outside of learning medicine or doing medicine, you’re often faced with the reality that you have to bear the brunt of educating your peers [on matters of health disparities not taught in medical school] on one topic or another.”

Tiako’s motivation for starting the podcast sprouted from this realization, combined with his growing appreciation for podcasts as a medium of information transmission.

He said that in social settings or at the dinner table, if someone mentions the war on drugs in a way that is unfair, he can lead them to one of his podcast episodes on the topic instead of engaging in an extended back-and-forth conversation. Thus, the podcast serves as a “repository” to which Tiako can refer people, he said.

Tiako’s podcast has approximately 500–600 listens per episode.

“I enjoy the podcasts because it provides a platform for individuals at the forefront of current social political issues to voice their thoughts and current work in that field,” said Ashley Odai-Afotey MED ’20. “As someone interested in social, political and health justice topics, the podcast serves as a great way to stay informed.”

Tiako said working on the podcast has personally informed him on the different forces that shape the state of health for marginalized communities.

“[Tiako is] training in medicine, but comes into it with a very strong concept of social inequality and the ways that medicine contributes to it or could help rectify it,” said associate professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health Helena Hansen, who was interviewed for a podcast episode. “He’s had a lot of personal experiences with it too, as somebody who migrated to this country from West Africa and has been perceived and treated as a racially marginalized person.”

Tiako also writes about race, medicine and medical education for in-Training — an online publication authored exclusively by medical students. His in-Training column is called “White Coat and a Hoodie.”

Katherine Du | katherine.du@yale.edu