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Hopkins Reader

Hopkins Health Newsfeed

Elizabeth Tracey, Host

Each day, Elizabeth Tracey scours embargoed medical literature to zero in on the most compelling peer-reviewed studies from all over the world, then reaches out to the relevant expert at Johns Hopkins for an interview. The resulting conversations form the basis of the Hopkins Health Newsfeed — 60-second spots that are broadcast each weekday, both nationally and internationally, by CBS Radio, Voice of America and many other outlets.

“To sit with people who are complete experts in their field and hear what’s going on research-wise is an incredible education,” says Tracey, now in her 18th year of hosting the Health Newsfeed, which is also available on a podcast.

Whether exploring the latest on sugar and cancer, the dangers of high blood pressure or the perils of e-cigarettes, Tracey says she looks for findings that are not only noteworthy and solidly researched but also actionable. Her litmus test: “Is it going to inform somebody’s decision-making?”

In the latest phase of a career spent helping others navigate medical uncertainty, Tracey became a certified clinical chaplain with The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Fittingly, the idea came by way of a peer-reviewed randomized controlled trial that caught her attention in a big way: a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that median survival among patients with stage IV lung cancer was longer in the group receiving palliative care than in those receiving usual treatment. Key to the palliative care model is the chaplain, whose role Tracey describes as “opening a space in which people can talk about how what’s happening to them in the hospital is impacting them spiritually.”