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December 31, 2021 29 mins

Ryan Gorman hosts an iHeartRadio nationwide special featuring Dr. Jaime Fergie, Director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and Medical Director at the Global Institute for Hispanic Health. Dr. Fergie offers insight into the Omicron variant, along with important information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Also joining the show is Dr. David Spigel, Chief Scientific Officer at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Dr. Spigel breaks down the top cancer research advancements of 2021. Finally, Food Network Celebrity Chef Nate Appleman checks in to talk about the need for plasma donations across the country and how he became personally involved in that issue.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to I Heart Radio Communities, a public affair special
focusing on the biggest issues impacting you this week. Here's
Ryan Gorman. Thanks for joining us here on iHeart Radio Communities.
I'm Ryan Gorman, and we have some important conversations lined
up for you coming up. In a moment. I'll talk
to the medical director of the Global Institute for Hispanic

Health about the current state of the pandemic. Then I'll
check in with the chief scientific officer one of the
top cancer institutes in the country to find out about
some of the top advancements in cancer research. And finally,
I'll be joined by Food Network celebrity chef Nate Appleman
to talk about his advocacy for plasma donations. So we've

got a very busy show for you on the way
right now. To get things started, I'm joined by Dr
Heimie Fergie, director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children's Hospital
and medical director at the Global Institute for Hispanic Health.
Dr Fergie, thanks so much for coming on the show.
And first of all, from a big picture perspective, what
has stood out to you about what we've seen from

this virus and the pandemic over the past two years. Well,
I think it is the wave that come, uh, the
and go, you know, the fact that we think that
this is going to be over. Uh, And it's not
the fact that when we think things are getting better
than shortly thereafter they comes another there in another way.

And uh, you know, I think it's been an experience,
very very difficult for the community, very difficult for the
healthcare providers, and it's destined everybody's resilience. And what are
you seeing now when it comes to the omicron variant,
this increase in cases that's taking place during the holidays,

What is it that you're most concerned with and and
what are some things that everyone should keep in mind
as we weather yet another COVID nineteen related storm. Well,
certainly you know the fact that in three weeks these
new variants went from nowhere there was basically nothing in

this country to now being by far the most important
variant is that it's about seventy of all the cases
in the country, and in in Texas for example, in
our regions or nine. Uh. You know, it's tremendously concerning
because we still have a lot of people who have
not even though in my you know, the vaccines that

are available and free. We st a lot of people
who have not invac in it at all, and it
is clear that for this new omicron variable, you need
to have not only your two vaccine, but you need
to have your third shot to be fully protect. So
I'm concerned about the people who have not been back
in there at all. I want to encourage people to
get back in the eighty I want to encourage those

who are back in it to go ahead and and
get the third dose, or the booster dose as it's called.
And with that, I think we're going to be able
to provide a good amount of protection against these on
micron variable. If we were to look at the more
positive side of the latest developments in this pandemic, would
it be that now, even with cases rising as high

and as quickly as they have been, we have more
tools in our toolbox this time around to prevent those
cases from leading to so many hospitalizations and deaths. Right.
I think that is a very good point. I mean,
the the main tool we have the vaccines. Unfortunately, you know,
we need a third dose to make them really affective

against omicron UH. One issue also is that even though
we still have the monoclonals. Some of the monoclonal antibodies,
the injections are not as good for omicron. I say
it used to be for the other um COVID nineteen variants.
So in a way we're losing as some of the

weapons we had. We still have one that is available
and is good, but some of the monotons and antibodies
that we have used in the past are not effective
against omicron. So they they hope is and and this
is not clear. The hope is that this is not
going to be as severe the ALTA. And there are

some evidence from other countries that it was not very
not so severe, but it may depend on which country
because some for example the South Africa where the whole
thing originated, they say it was not that severe. But
at the same time, the populations had a lot of
exposure to many many variants of COVID, and maybe they

already had a better protection than we have. So we
need to we need to know. So so Bott everybody
needs to be prudent, take precautions. You know, the holiday seasons,
be vaccinated, receive your booster, where your mask when you're indoors,
get together. Always family, but be sure that everybody in
the family is protected, and be careful, of course in

large gatherings that when you don't know who is vaccinated
who is not vacinated, remember that people can be reinfected
with this new omicron variable. I'm joining right now by
doctor Iimi Fergie, director of Infectious Diseases at drift All
Children's Hospital and medical director at the Global Institute for

Hispanic Health. Talk about what you've seen at drift All
Children's Hospital. How have kids and young adults been impacted
by the virus? Well, I think you know, working at
the children's often, of course it is very different from
the adults side. Um At the beginning of this pandemic,
there was almost nothing in children, very very rare caated.

Then we began to see this uncommon situation of the
inflammatory syndrome that occurs after COVID. We began to see
that children could be affected and they can be effective
for a long time. Not many, certainly, not as often
as in a dolts. But then we began to see
those children coming to the hospital with high fevers and

organ involvement, and they you know, fortunately most of them
did well, but certainly some went to the intention to
carry you, and there are complicated situations. So what we
have seen now as the pandemic have progressed, isn't more
children now are getting infective, particularly when delta appear more
children we're coming to the hospital, uh seek with this

delta variant that we didn't see the first year of
the pandemic. Now with omicron, It's really too early to
tell what's going to happen on the pediatric side. But
I would tell you we do hand vaccines for everybody
five years of age and older, and I wouldn't want
to encourage everybody, Hey, um, not only get yourself bad

bacon age your children five years of age or older.
The vaccines are said they are effective for children, So
I think they said the best thing we can do
to protect ourselves and protect our families. What can you
tell us about the safety and the efficacy of these
vaccines for children? A lot of parents across the country

we've had questions whether or not to get their kids vaccinated.
What are the possible long term implications from these vaccines?
Can you break that down for us? Well, the vaccine
have been studied carefully, and as is usually the case,
we studied vaccine first in adults. Uh, and then in children.
And of course you know, we can go back and

and remind people that they vaccine first studying the laboratory
be true, then the animal studies and it's a long
long process. But after all that and we need studies
and adults. Then after watching to be safe and effective
in adults, we moved to children and the same studies
that we're done in adult we're replicating children. And the
thousands of children were involved and they weren't turned out

to be very safe and very effective for those who
were or over five years of eight. And what people
talk about long term problems. What I want to remind
is everybody who listens is that the long term problems
are basically if you get COVID. That's where you can
have long term problems vaccines. When you have issues with vaccines,

they happened very soon after the vaccine is given. The fever, headache,
they malate, chills and that sort of thing we have seen.
I don't want to downplay anything. And you can have
some you can feel the side effects of a vaccine.
We have seen some very rare side effects including their
heart inflammation. Um that happens a very few individuals, very

few of the lesson most of them mails and that
last couple of days. But that's it. I mean, the
issue with vaccines, the problems you see with vaccines in general,
happened around the time you give the vaccine, within days
to week, but nothing happens months later. I'm joined right
now by Dr Heimie Fergie, director of Infectious Diseases at

Risk Called Children's Hospital and medical director at the Global
Institute for Hispanic Health. Tell us about the Hispanic community,
the vaccination rates, the spread of the virus. What you're
seeing there, Yeah, what we have seen, unfortunately is that
the Latino the Spanning community is more affected, uh than
out communities. That maybe because of the number of people

in the household because the most the generational families that
more more people get you know together, congregate in smaller
settings and easy to transmit. So we are seeing more
illness in the Fanning community. And unfortunately, we have also
seen that the numbers of people bactunity is is not

as good as it is in the general community. So
we're working working in that area. We just want to
reassure the Spanning community that these vaccines are highly effected,
they're very safe, you know, right now we have more
than two million people in this country who are fully vaccinated.
So the confidence on the vaccines that it's increasing. I

tell you that the vaccines are free. Uh you don't
have to you know, provide any form of identification. Many times,
it's just there are no barriers that people can go
to vaccines that g ob to find the nearest place
where they can get vaccinated no cost to them. And

I want to encourage everybody who haven't done it to
go ahead, go ahead and get your vaccine, vaccinate your
family and if you all have already to vaccine, get
your booster. All right. Dr Jimie Fergie, director of Infectious
Diseases at DRISK, called Children's Hospital and medical director at
the Global Institute for Hispanic account with the latest on

the pandemic. Dr Fergie, thanks so much for coming on
and sharing all of that insight. We appreciate it. It
was first of all, I want to thank you for
for inviting me, and uh, hopefully things are going to
get better. I will be available in the future if
we have any other issues to talk about. All right,
sounds good, Thank you again. Dr Fergie. Now let me
bring in my next guest here on I ART Radio Communities.

I'm excited to have this conversation because some really great
things happened in that you might not know about. I'm
joined now by Dr David Spiegel, chief Scientific Officer at
the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, to talk about some of
the top advancements in cancer research over the course of
this past year. Dr Spiegel, thank you so much for
coming on the show, and first of all, tell us
a little bit about the work you do at the

Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Yeah, hey, thanks for having me. Um.
We strive to bring new therapies to patients in the
communities where they live. So in cancer care, patients are
obviously looking for everything they can to fight fight the disease,
and we have a lot of great standard therapies, but

research is really the found nation of trying to move
the field forward, find new new therapies for patients. And
so we are kind of in the I guess business
of trying to bring research right to the patients doorsteps,
so patients don't have to travel across the country to
centers to get care innovative care. We try to bring

that right to them and and that's that's kind of
all we do. We're focused on that. Obviously, the focus
of the past two years has been so much on
this pandemic. Has cancer research taken a back seat or
has it continued to advance like it normally would have
if we hadn't been in the middle of this public

health crisis. Well, it's a great question, and obviously it's
been going on for a couple of years now. It
certainly is a challenge. If you think about what it
takes to care for somebody, they have to leave their home,
they have to come to a clinic or a medical
center to get care. See of all the usual challenges.
Of course, you have to be diagnosed, which involves getting
testing done and having surgery, sometimes getting bobs he's done.

So the pandemic clearly has affected those basic processes. But
in terms of what we do, which is hearing, you know,
providing research to providers around around the country and a
network where they care for patients in their communities. Fortunately,
throughout the pandemics, Erricane has been able to continue what
we were doing before the pandemic, so to open new studies,

to bring new therapies to these clinics where patients live uh,
and so fortunate for us. It's not been easy, uh
where we we work, and it's not been easy across
the globe for clinical research and cancer to kind of
continue at the pace before the pandemic. But we've been
very fortunate. We've We've got a lot of people working
hard to make sure patients have the same opportunities that

they had before the pandemic during the pandemic so that
they can get the best care possible. I'm joined by
Dr David Spiegel, chief Scientific Officer at the Sarah can
And Research Institute. Let's talk about the top five accomplishments
and cancer research in early detection so important and there
were some advances in that correct. Yeah, so this is

a big area. This is this is interesting and a
bit scary to think about. This is trying to find
cancer that already exists. So you're not you're not trying
to prevent cancer that'd be ideal, but you're trying to
find cancer at its earliest time points. We're all familiar
with traditional screening. We think about mammography for breast cancer screening,
or colonoscopies for colon cancer, and I go down the

list for cervical cancer, perhaps mirrors and and we have
what's called t key scanning for lung cancer. These are
great tools that we use to find those cancers early.
Finding cancer early gives you your best chance of beating it,
of curing patients. And you know you can find it
hopefully when it's smaller, before it's spread, and do things
like surgery to remove it. And so what's been kind

of exciting is the development of chest in the blood.
So this is just drawing Ryan two vials of blood
to look for uh, fragments of cancer uh that that
somebody you know wouldn't necessarily know, they wouldn't be symptomatic
from this. There should be something that the cancer wherever
it is kind of so called, spills it into the

blood stream and you can you can detect that. Technology
is so advanced now that we can find these fragments.
And so what what's now been released this past year
in terms of being publicly available and what's in development
with a number of different kind of areas and a
number of different areas of research with various companies, is
expanding these tests and making them better at finding cancers.

So so what you have is instead of traditional things
like colonoscopy's mamography finding a handful of cancers. You now
potentially have a blood test that can find many different
types of cancer. And what's great about the testing so far,
the one that's been released, is that if you find something,
and hopefully obviously find something that thinks that it may

be high, that means that somebody's not like to get
a test back says that they have cancer and that
they don't. In fact, the chances of that happening or
it's wrongs about one and two hundreds. So if you
get back this test and it says, you know, cancer
is suspected or has been found, it's almost certain that
that's the case, and then that would lead the team

the doctor to then expand his or her evaluation to
find that cancer earlier that nobody was suspecting. So a
huge breakthrough. A number of studies in progress to advance
these kinds of tests so that they get out there.
One has been released, but many many are development. We've
had a chance to help with a lot of this work,
as as have many great centers around the world. But

this is a very exciting development for things to come.
I'm joined by Dr David Spie Gold, chief Scientific Officer
at the Sarah Canon Research Institute, about some of the
advancements in cancer research. When it comes to therapies. There
are a number of different fronts that I know you've
been working on, from targeted therapies to immunotherapies, which I

think a lot people have heard a lot about recently,
um to some therapies designed to target tumors. Can you
tell us about some of those advancements. Yeah, sure, you're right,
there's a lot that's been out there. Hector's commercials now
for the so called immune therapy. But but basically, I
guess I would divide things into two categories. Either can

can you have a therapy a drug that can identify
the cancer so you administer it, whether it's a pill
or an ivy that goes through the vein medication that
uh what we call intravenous that can target the cancer
and kind of eliminate it. Or can we do something
that gets your immune system to do that. That's kind
of the two big areas that continue to be the greatest,

kind of uh most promising areas for new drugs that
are in development. So let's talk about the first. So
we already have pills, many pills for various types of cancer,
whether it's learned cancer or breast cancer, that can target
specific um kind of weaknesses or or signals within the
cancer that can then weaken the cancer or stop it

from growing. Those exist today. We use what's called genetic
testing or genetic sequencing to find those targets. I tell
patients it's like trying to find the address on a mailbox.
We have the ability now to find those addresses, deliver medications,
many of them pills that can find that address, get
to the cancer at that so called location and stop

the cancer from growing and kill it. And so that
that's that's here now in many cancers. We have to
you have to test patients. You can do that with
what's called blood testing or tissue biopsies. So that exists now,
and there's a whole host of therapies and development to
to improve upon that. And then we have what are
called immune therapies. And again this are too too broad

characterizations of drugs that fight cancer. But immune therapies are
like it sounds, these are the therapies that are designed
to get your immune system, your body's own defense system,
to fight cancer. We we you know, I think the
public knows a lot about where is learning a lot
about the immune system. We think about things like COVID,
but here instead of fighting infection, we're trying to fight cancer.

So there's many therapies now that are FDA approved, that
are available and at least seventies seven zero seventy different
kind of cancer indications where medications are there to um
go in and get your bodies immune system to kind
of wake up, find cancer and eliminated. These things have

been on the market so to speak, since two thousand fifteen,
but many are in development kind of better versions of
what's on the market or newer ways to get more
people to benefit from these therapies. You know, if you
take if you take say a hundred people say with
lung cancer, and you say, well, we're going to use
immune therapy to fight that lung cancer, most patients are

unfortunately not going to have their immune system kind of
wake up to do that work. Uh, you know, maybe
them will. Can we develop strategies to get more people
to have the immune system be affected by this? And
we you know, we're excited about opportunities that are in
progress now. But Moore is coming so and that's just
loan cancer. But there's a lot of tumor types where

this is this has become a reality already, and ones
where we haven't quite solved that. You know, we're hopeful
that we're gonna be able to solve that. In the
years ago. Dr David Spiegel, chief scientific Officer at the
Sarah Canon Research Institute with some of the top advancements
in cancer research in r Spiegel, thanks so much for
the great work you're doing and thanks so much for
coming on the show to share all of that with us.

We appreciate it. Yeah. Thanks Ryan. You might have seen
my next guests on the Food Network, but you might
not know about the cause. He's working hard to raise
awareness for one that's very personal for him. I'm joined
now by Food Network celebrity chef Nate Amplement along with
his son Oliver. Nate. Thanks so much for coming on
the show. And and let's start with how you first
got involved in the culinary industry and your journey to

becoming a celebrity chef. Yeah, thanks Ryan, thanks for having us. Um. Look,
I've been interested in food since I was you know,
I think I came out of the womb. Uh, it's
something that I was super into from an early age.
I used to try to eat everything I could and
and I fell in love with cooking and now it's
it's what I get to do on a daily basis.
It's it's been an incredible journey. Um. It's something that

I've you know, focused on my entire life, and it's
allowed me to do things like this, to be able
to be here to spread the word about plasma donation.
And we're gonna talk more about that in just a moment.
Real quick, though, tell us about that initial experience when
you first made that transition into television. How did all

of that come about? Uh, well, you know, just like
many things in life, it kind of came out of nowhere.
I got an opportunity to go on um I think
it was it's called it was the Next Iron Chef,
and growing up, Iron Chef was something that I used
to watch all the time. So I set the opportunity
and that was my first that was my first time
really being on TV. And and you know, I loved

every minute of it and it I got that I
got that competition bug and it necessarily it wasn't necessarily
about TV. It was really just about cooking and winning.
That that got me hooked. Now, would you say that
evolution to becoming a celebrity chef, has that changed how
you do things as a chef, and and how has
just the entire experience, how has that impacted you? Well,

I think you know, as a human, I've I've involved
you know, just naturally over time, but also as a chef.
I think you know, when you're young, you you you know,
you you have a certain style that you want to
cook and you try to do cool things, and then
you get to a point where you just want to
be people, which you know segues into kind of what
we're talking about now, right the act of giving back

as a ship. You know, it's you're all about hospitality,
You're all about you know, giving to others, and so
you know this, this this is in line with you know,
what I do on a daily basis, and you know,
being being on TV just gives me that platform. It
allows me to be able to, you know, help spread
awareness and spread a word for a cause that I

really believe. And on that note, let's talk about the
cause you're focused on right now. I'm Ryan Gorman with
Food Network Celebrity chef Nate Appleman. His son Oliver is
also with us. Tell us about your son's condition and
how you ended up taking up this cause of plasma donations. Yeah,
the whole reason I partnered with Abbot was because when

my son Oliver was too he was diagnosed with kalasaki disease.
It's a pretty rare disease and the main treatment to
to help kids is derived from a plasma based therapy.
So this one hits really close to home. Prows Right.
It's not just me, you know, sitting here, you know,
shilling for for some cause that I don't care about.

This one. It actually really makes a difference, and we
are living proof. You know, if it wasn't for people
out there donating plasma and early basis, Oliver might not
be here to be able to tell you his story.
And you know, so we want to thank everybody who
has donated and who will donate. And there's a major
shortage of plasma donations across the country right now, correct, Yeah, Ryan,

we are in the biggest shortage that the country has
ever seen the plasma. So we really need to take
advantage of this holiday season, the act of giving, and
we need to get out there and give to others
and um, you know there's really no excuse. That's a
pretty seamless process. Is anybody can do it. That's over
eighteen and weighs over a hundred and ten pounds, and

you know, as long as you meet all the environments.
But you know, you show up, it's just like giving blood.
It takes about an hour and a half, two hours,
you're in and out and the good news is that
your body replenishes that plasma after twenty four hours. So
you know, they allow you to donate twice a week.
And Oliver, let me bring you into this real quick.
Where can people find out more information about different ways

that they can help? So people like you who are
in need of these plasma donations so you're taken care of,
you can't check out be the one donor dot have
it fine websites where you can do Yeah, so there's
the website itself will take you to in the United
States to where you can go and give plasma in person.

And once again that would be the one Donor dot abbot.
And what has the response been like since you've taken
up this cause, well, you know you're gonna have to
tell me. Ryan are you going to get out there?
Then I'll tell you becaucause that that to me, if
I can change one person, you know, you know, mission

accomplished absolutely, and the fact that there is such a
need right now for plasma donations makes the work that
you're doing even that much more important. I'm joining right
now by Food Network celebrity chef Nate Appleman. So looking
ahead too, what are your plans? Do you have anything
on the horizon more TV, any other ventures you want

to tell us about. Well, Ryan, I always have a
few things cooking, so to speak. Um, you know, and
we're we're gonna have to wait to see what brings us.
You know, we're in the we're in the midst of
of the you know, the pandemic still, so you know,
I'd rather just keep that focus on getting out there
and donating for the ones to need that we have
now that we have the time that you know, we

possibly are still in the growth of the pandemic and
each of us have a little bit extra time to
where we can go and donate some Let me ask you,
this is somebody who's right in the middle of the
restaurant industry. What have you been hearing from people you've
talked to about those types of business is weathering the
storm during this pandemic. Well, as you know, the restaurant

industry has been decimated over the last twenty months or so,
and it's been um, you know, yeah, the only word
to describe it as devastating, and there's no clear picture
of whether that's going to get better. So, you know,
I guess I just would encourage everybody to support your restaurants,
support your local places that you like to get food,

and support the chefs because without them, you know, we're
not going to be able to keep feeding people great
food and allow you to have the energy in the
strings to donate plasmas. Alright, A couple of final questions
here that I have to ask otherwise the audience would
not be happy with me. Again. I'm joined by Food
Network celebrity chef Nate Appleman. What are some dishes, some
meals that you enjoy cooking? Oh, we cook almost every

day in our house. You know. Oliver loves all kinds
of food. He uh, you know, there's there's uh, just
just the other night we had it was a simple
like rice dish, right. It was it was rice with
some raised meat lots of veggies and it was simple,
good cooking. It was nothing fancy, nothing you find in restaurants,
um and it was pretty nutritious. We had it was

it was a lot of beans, right, we love beans
up here. Help And you know, while we're talking about
eating healthy or something, I know you're very passionate about
heading into the new year. A lot of people that's
part of their New year's resolution to eat better, to
incorporate healthier foods and the meals that they prepare. Any

advice for them, well, I'm living through that that it
can work and it can happen. I used to wait
tw hundred fifty pounds before Oliver was born, and I
decided to change my life and change my lifestyle. And
now we just incorporate that into our our daily life.
Not only do we eat well, but also just this year,
Oliver and I started running together and it's been an

amazing bonding experience. So I encourage others to get out there,
spend time with your kids, and you know, treat this
time of the year as one to really connect with
people and get back all right one more time. Give
us all the information that we need on where we
can go to learn more about plasma donations. We can
check out being No One and Downer at It and

like I said, it shows over nine d sites out
there that you can go and you can donate plases.
Nate Appleman, Food Network celebrity chef, and his son Oliver
with us talking about food and plasma donations, a major
need across this country. Nate, thanks so much for taking
the time to come on the show, and thank you
so much for the great work you're doing on this issue.
We appreciate it, all right, thank you, thanks for having us,

and that's going to do it for this edition of
iHeart Radio Communities. As we wrap things up, I want
to offer big thanks to all of our guests and
of course to all of you for listening. If you
want to hear previous episodes of this show, we're on
your iHeart Radio app. Just search for iHeart Radio Communities.
I'm your host, Ryan Gorman. We'll be back, same time,
same place next weekend. Have a very happy New Year.
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