Infectious Diseases Celebrates its 50th podcast! Celebrates its 50th Podcast!

It’s only fitting that a milestone podcast from USF infectious disease experts, one that will reach audiences around the globe, will touch on the current and urgent global topic of climate change.

On April 30, the USF Division of Infectious Diseases, which is in the College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, will post its 50th online podcast titled “A Global Swarming: Infectious Diseases and Climate Change.” This podcast will feature the division’s webcast co-founder Richard L. Oehler, MD, assistant professor at the College of Medicine.

USF infectious disease faculty, staff, and fellows regularly contribute presentations to the podcasts on such varied and pertinent topics as community-acquired methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA), HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, West Nile virus, and emerging infectious diseases.

The effort is one of the first, if not the first, university-affiliated medical podcast site of its kind on the internet, Dr. Oehler said, offering remote access to healthcare professionals seeking clinical expertise on a broad range of infectious disease topics. Anyone worldwide with an internet connection can download the presentations without charge.

Building upon a broad vision

The website ( was originally conceived by Dr. Oehler, Julian Corvin, the division’s project administrator, and Dr. John T Sinnott, MD, director of the division and associate dean of International Affairs for the College of Medicine. The idea came about because, “we realized that our infectious disease faculty did not have a way of sharing their vast experience and teaching skills outside of the small groups of students and medical residents who attend our lectures,” Dr. Oehler said.

“With the podcast site, we truly have not only a university audience, but also a worldwide audience.”’s audience is growing each month, with thousands of hits since the beginning of 2008, he said.

“I felt especially rewarded to hear a recent applicant to our infectious disease fellowship training program from Alabama tell me that ‘I watched your podcasts online and decided to apply to your program because I realized what good teachers you were,’” Dr. Oehler said. “We are proud to make this important contribution to the USF Health’s Strategic Initiative to enhance the use of instructional technology. We also recognize that the changing technology of education and the changing realities of health care require flexibility and willingness to share knowledge within our university and throughout our community.”

In the milestone 50th podcast, Dr. Oehler examines how climate change is likely to affect the global burden of infectious disease pathogens, from malaria to foodborne illness. This presentation is a culmination of a 6-month exploration of the literature surrounding climate change and its effect on disease vectors.

“I started with a simple premise,” Dr. Oehler said. “We know that we are likely to be affected by climate change–in fact all life on earth will be influenced by global warming. It seems clear to me that the relationships between man and the microbes would be heavily influenced by this change.”

In his presentation, Dr. Oehler takes the listener on a journey from the South American Andes to northern Italy to the western highlands of Kenya to tell the story of how climate change is in the process of influencing the burden of infectious diseases worldwide.

Planning for the future is entirely university supported and funded, with no advertising or commercial content. The site also features a section with lecture handouts and other information resources, podcasts for patients, as well as links to other important infectious disease educational resources.

Building the site over the last year was quite a challenge for a first time website designer, Dr. Oehler said.

“But the biggest credit for its success goes to our contributors,” he said. “We are great educators in the Division of Infectious Diseases. If we did not have the resource of our great infectious disease faculty to draw from, would not exist. My great thanks to all of our contributors who have made the website such a success this year.”

Future plans for the site include further expansion of the library of infectious disease titles available online and pursuing CME capability within the website to permit clinicians to meet their educational requirements through the podcasts. Nevertheless, with remote learning becoming an increasingly popular way of keeping up to date with the latest medical developments, will most certainly continue to be an important online resource for clinicians everywhere. All content can be accessed through Dr. Oehler can be reached for further comment at

Check out the Division’s web site.

Story by Richard Oehler, MD, and Julian Corvin, of the USF Health Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine, and Sarah Worth, USF Health Communications.