HealthLink on Air

Sundays at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Hosted by Amber Smith

“HealthLink on Air” is a 60-minute program produced since 2006 by Upstate Medical University, the academic medical center in Syracuse, NY.

“HealthLink on Air” provides a weekly dose of information on health and medical issues affecting central New Yorkers. The program showcases health professionals and researchers from Upstate Medical University, Upstate University Hospital, the central New York community and those visiting the region who are involved with health care issues and events. The interviews are permanently archived online.

For more information, visit the HealthLink on Air website.

Ways to Connect

Upstate cardiac surgeon Dr. Stephen Waterford explains atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that affects millions of Americans and can lead to a stroke, and how it can be treated with medicines or various procedures, including minimally invasive surgery that is highly successful in correcting the condition.

He also describes common problems that can develop in heart valves and the advantages of valve replacement vs. valve repair on this episode of "HealthLink on Air."

This week: Eating well, staying safe, recovering at home

Sep 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many people are eating. This may include eating most meals at home, dealing with a smaller budget and finding sporadic or limited groceries at the store.

For help making nutritious, and tasty, choices, Dr. Kaushal Nanavati addresses some points to keep in mind in this week's "HealthLink on Air." He's the assistant dean of wellness at Upstate Medical University, where he is a doctor of family medicine and the medical director of integrative therapy.

In this episode of “HealthLink on Air,” we’ll hear from four professional caregivers – a physician, a nurse practitioner and two nurses – who battled COVID-19 on the front lines during the height of the pandemic in New York City.

Dr. Christopher Tanski, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Upstate, oversaw the care of patients at the makeshift hospital at the Javits Convention Center.

Patricia Goodyear is an Upstate nurse practitioner who is a colonel in the Army Reserve. She spent two months deployed to Queens Central Hospital.

This week: Safe school returns, lead poisoning

Aug 26, 2020

Is the student in good health? Is his or her parents? What is his or her ability to learn online?

These are some of the things to consider when deciding how safe it is for a child to return to the classroom, says Dr. Jana Shaw, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Upstate. In this "HealthLink on Air" interview, Shaw talks about what schools are doing to reduce the spread of coronavirus and what parents can do to help.

This week: Dermatologic concerns, wellness advice

Aug 20, 2020

Work-life balance matters, especially as more people find themselves working from home.

Dr. Kaushal Nanavati is the assistant dean of wellness at Upstate, an assistant professor of family medicine and medical director of integrative therapy. He provides suggestions for establishing boundaries between work and household responsibilities in this week’s episode of “HealthLink on Air.”

Nanavati also addresses social isolation and what employers can do to help employees who had to begin working at home because of the pandemic.

Upstate Medical University is seeking individuals to participate in a clinical trial evaluating the safety and performance of a potential vaccine against COVID-19.

Two students at Upstate Medical University launched "Happy Period Syracuse," part of a social movement designed to provide menstrual supplies to women and teens who are poor or homeless.

Problems with sleep can worsen a person's health in the year after a stroke.

Discussing their research on this topic, physical therapist George Fulk, a professor of physical therapy in the Upstate College of Health Professions, and nurse Karen Klingman, the associate dean and associator professor in the Upstate College of Nursing, are featured on this episode of “HealthLink on Air.” They explain their recommendations for those who are recovering from a stroke, and why sleep is so important for recovery.

Epidemiologists from Falk College at Syracuse University provide an overview of what we've learned about the COVID-19 pandemic so far in this week’s “HealthLink on Air.”

Brittany Kmush specializes in infectious disease epidemiology and David Larsen specializes in environmental epidemiology. Together they explain what's working, and not, in terms of controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This week: Surviving COVID-19, a new vaping hazard, and more

Jul 15, 2020

He spent nearly a month at Upstate University Hospital, much of that time on a ventilator, battling COVID-19 and worrying that he would not survive. But Travis Duffy did survive, and he shares his story and how he feels now that he is back on his Canastota farm, in this week’s episode of “HealthLink on Air.”

Can going barefoot sometimes be better for your feet? Should you wear compression stockings? When do your feet require medical attention? These and other issues concerning foot health are explained by physical therapist Christopher Neville, an associate professor in the physical therapy education department at Upstate and co-director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Institute for Human Performance.

A nurse practitioner who is a colonel in the Army Reserve spent two months at Queens Central Hospital, caring for patients with COVID-19 when New York City was hardest hit by the pandemic.

Patricia Goodyear tells about her experience and how it differed markedly from the type of care she is used to delivering at Syracuse's Upstate Medical University in this week’s “HealthLink on Air.”

Also on the show: Infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Katie Anderson discusses a study of households with COVID-19. Listen this Sunday, July 5 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. for "HealthLink on Air."

This week: Developing a COVID-19 vaccine; herd immunity

Jun 24, 2020

What is the potential for developing a COVID-19 vaccine? In this episode of "HealthLink on Air," a physician scientist who specializes in infectious disease and vaccine development, explains the process of creating a vaccine -- and how that process is being safely accelerated during the pandemic.

Since his lab began collecting ticks in July 2019, researcher Saravanan Thangamani has received more than 4,000 ticks sent by the public. Nearly 90 percent have been deer ticks, and about a third of those carried the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Physical therapist Zachary Boswell explains why physical therapy is often necessary for people who are recovering from a severe COVID-19 infection, on this week's "HealthLink on Air."

And, research shows COVID-19 death rates are higher among people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. Dr. Margaret Turk from Upstate's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation and Scott Landes from Syracuse University's Aging Studies Institute at the Maxwell School tell about their study and why it's important.

A team of public health researchers at Upstate University Hospital used cellphone data to see how well people living in counties surrounding Syracuse have adhered to social distancing guidelines.

Christopher Morley, who chairs the department of public health and preventive medicine, explains the study and key terms like the reproduction rate and the case rate for COVID-19 in this "HealthLink on Air episode. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents not to put off well-child visits to the doctor, particularly for young children, during the pandemic.

Pediatrics professor Dr. Steven Blatt, director of the Upstate Pediatric and Adolescent enter, explains what's important about these visits. He also discusses how medical care has been provided during the pandemicon this week's show.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Jana Shaw discusses the symptoms of a rare condition that has appeared in a small number of children who have been infected with COVID-19 in this week's "HealthLink on Air."

Called pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, the hallmark symptom is a fever that lasts more than five days. Other common symptoms may be a rash, pink eye, swollen hands and feet or vomiting and diarrhea. Shaw explains the similarity with Kawasaki disease.

The coronavirus pandemic is keeping many people in seclusion and that provides time to reflect on our health and relationships.

Dr. Susan Levinsohn talks about the value of wrestling with existential questions and how this pandemic might be the perfect time to replace bad habits with healthy ones, in this episode of "HealthLink on Air." Levinsohn is an assistant professor of family medicine at Upstate who specializes in integrative medicine.

COVID-19 can impact the neurological system and some doctors have noted strokes in some patients. In this "HealthLink on Air" interview, Upstate neurologist Hesham Masoud discusses the neurological impact of the disease and explains why some patients report a loss of taste and smell. Masoud specializes in endovascular surgical neuroradiology.

Taking breaks from news reports and taking care of your body and mind can help combat the loneliness that may develop if you are isolating yourself during the pandemic, says Brian Amidon, a licensed clinical social worker from Upstate's Inclusive Health Services.

He makes the point in this week's "HealthLink on Air" that maintaining physical distance from friends and family should not mean staying away socially, and he talks about ways to stay connected.

The COVID-19 pandemic might create conditions that threaten the recovery of people being treated for their use of alcohol or other drugs.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner John Ringhisen from Upstate's Addiction and Pain Service explains how caregivers continue to provide telehealth appointments and in-person appointments during the outbreak. In this episode, he also talks about the risks of using tobacco products and/or alcohol, especially now.

The physician leading the makeshift hospital at the Javits Convention Center in New York City during this pandemic is Dr. Christopher Tanski, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Upstate. In this episode of HealthLink on Air, he tells what his days are like overseeing the care of patients infected with COVID-19. Also this week, medical sociologist Christopher Morley explains how the epidemic's "curve" is charted and what it means. And, neurologist Antonio Culebras discusses how to sleep well when you're worried. Listen this Sunday, April 19 at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

New York state has guidelines that instruct how medical staff should decide which patients will get ventilators during a viral pandemic. Dr. Thomas Curran, a member of the bioethics and humanities faculty at Upstate Medical University, explains how the entire health care system changes during a pandemic. "All of a sudden you have to shift from patient-centered practice to patient care that's really guided by public health considerations," he says. In this interview, he walks through three considerations in the state guidelines for whether a person gets a ventilator.

If a loved one tests positive for the respiratory virus known as COVID-19, pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Jana Shaw recommends isolating that person to minimize any contact with housemates. She says adequate fluid and rest may be helpful in providing some relief, but there is no treatment for the virus.

Staff from Upstate University Hospital train regularly to prepare for a variety of disasters, including pandemics.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Robert Corona explains how hospital leaders comprise an "incident command" team that meets twice a day during the current crisis and collaborate with staff from other hospitals in central New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo asked hospital executives to produce plans for expanding occupancy, and Corona explains in this "HealthLink on Air" episode how Upstate could increase beds by 77 percent.

Dr. Sharon Brangman is telling her patients to stay home, especially if they are in their 80s, to help reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus.

She's the chief of geriatrics at Upstate, and on this "HealthLink on Air" episode she explains that our immune systems deteriorate as we age, making older people more vulnerable to this and other viruses.

In this interview, she talks about ways to help prevent feelings of isolation and how to help seniors get through this pandemic.

Adam and MaryBeth Gillan of Rochester lost their daughter Maisie in January 2019 after the 9-month-old ingested a pill that had fallen on the floor of a neighbor's home. In this week's "HealthLink on Air" they talk about their efforts to improve medication safety, so no other family has to experience a similar loss.

"Keep Your Family Safe: Medication Safety" -- a video presented by the Upstate New York Poison Center

How many hours a day do you spend on electronic devices? Do you walk down the sidewalk looking at your smartphone? Can you get through a meal without being online?

Upstate psychiatric nurse practitioner John Ringhisen talks about FOMO (the fear of missing out), how addiction can be defined and the potential for addiction to electronics on this week's "HealthLink on Air."

More and more, cancer treatment is transitioning from one-size-fits-all toward an era of personalized treatment based on an individual patient's cancer characteristics.

Dr. Jeffrey Ross explains what immunotherapy and targeted therapies are, how DNA sequencing is done, and what patients should do if they receive a diagnosis of cancer but it is not known where the cancer began in this week's episode of "HealthLink on Air." Ross is an assistant professor of pathology and urology at Upstate.