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Queer Diagnosis: The LGBTQ+ Health Podcast

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Queer Diagnosis: The LGBTQ+ Health podcast was created by Zarya Shaikh ‘22, Biochemistry major and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor; Srihita Mediboina ‘21, Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Economics double major; and Jameson Coleman ‘22, Physics and Astronomy double major. 

Tell us more about your podcast: Srihita Mediboina
Srihita:
Currently, the podcast has focused on increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people in healthcare. Uptil now, we have interviewed medical school students about how their careers and identities inform each other. However, we hope to expand to perhaps include the experiences of LGBTQ+ patients and how their identities have informed their healthcare experiences. 

Zarya: Our mission statement is: We are committed to ensuring that all LGBTQ+ voices involved in the healthcare decision-making process are represented. Queer Diagnosis takes an intersectional approach to meeting with patients, medical students, and healthcare providers of different and multiple identities. Our goal is to sustain visibility and a sense of community in healthcare. By having vulnerable conversations that serve to inform current and future health care professionals, we can care not only for patients but also each other. 

What inspired you to start your own podcast? 
Srihita: The initial inspiration came from Zarya. As someone who will be part of the healthcare field, she was surprised by the lack of LGBTQ+ representation. I was interested in exploring that perspective. I thought I could also provide an outside perspective. As someone outside of the healthcare field, I could be a conduit for the audience that might not be familiar with it as well. 

Zarya Shaikh Zarya: Srihita and I discuss equity within and between different communities almost daily. A podcast is a great way for us to continue having these conversations but with the added benefit of an outside perspective (specifically from individuals who identify with the LGBTQ+ community). 

One night in December 2020, I Google’d “LGBTQ+ physicians”,“Muslim LGBTQ+ physicians”,“Pakistani Muslim LGBTQ+ physicians”. Google yielded 0 search results for these last two inquiries. I was devastated to learn I would be the sole member of this specific demographic post-medical school. But I’m a big fan of statistics and, probability-wise, the math didn’t add up. I tried other Google searches and came across several articles in which physicians were given advice on how to treat patients within the community. It was odd to see there were not many resources (I could find) in support of physicians who identified as LGBTQ+ themselves. Finally, I came across a research article written by a physician working at a hospital close to my home. He interviewed fellow physicians who spoke to how identifying as LGBTQ+ in healthcare was isolating. I was about to email him when I realized the conversation I hoped to have virtually could be one that many others could benefit from. I imagine other people like myself were Googling similar things. Within the same night, I called Jameson and Srihita; we got to work almost immediately. I knew I could count on Jameson for the technical aspect, and I also knew these conversations I was hoping to have publicly were simply an extension of the ones Srihita and me were already having in private. I am grateful to have friends who are extremely supportive of my endeavors and eccentric late-night ideas. 

Who is your audience? 
Srihita: As we are students, much of our advertising is done in different newsletters throughout Stony Brook. Therefore, the main audience we are trying to reach are students and faculty.

Zarya: Our intended audience at this time is pre-health students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community and medical students. SBU graduate students, faculty, and staff have reached out in support of our podcast as well! 

What is involved in creating each episode? 
Jameson ColemanJameson:  For each episode, I act as the editor. I record the Zoom meetings, touch up the audio, remove background noise as much as possible and splice each participant's audio together, retiming the space between questions as needed to create a better flow. I’d say each week takes about 4 or 5 hours of editing work in order to get to the final product.

Srihita: I help with crafting the questions for the interview and writing the description for the episode. However, the majority of time is spent on editing the transcript. This would result in 4-5 hours of work per episode. 

Zarya: I invest 5-6 hrs/week in the podcast. I reach out to individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ through Twitter and also to folks referred to us through word-of-mouth. Pre-interview, I work with Srihita in refining the interview questions and checking in with our guest to confirm they are comfortable with the questions we would like to ask beforehand. After the episode is recorded, Srihita and I dedicate an hour to preparing and recording our reflection post-interview. I listen to the rough cut of the episode and review the audio edits with Jameson. After edits, we send the audio to our guest to confirm once more that they are comfortable with the content presented. Once we receive their approval, I create flyers that are then posted to social media. Jameson directs our Instagram account while I manage the Twitter account. Afterwards, I send emails to various newsletters around campus for our flyer and episode description to be included in the following week. I post episodes on our website at 5 AM on alternate Wednesdays. The podcast would not be possible without Srihita and Jameson. 

Based on our research, we have not been able to find other podcasts in this specific niche of supporting LGBTQ+ individuals at an undergraduate level. This was the partial inspiration for creating our own podcast.

What sort of reception has your podcast received? 
Srihita: We’re still in a pretty nascent stage, so it’s hard to gauge reaction. Recently, we had a listening party hosted by a few students. Their feedback definitely inspired us to consider widening the scope of what the podcast can cover. 

Zarya: Positive! My favorite example to date: I had been hosting a social media takeover of the College of Arts and Sciences’ accounts and looking for students to speak to why they chose Stony Brook. I entered the Humanities Building and asked the first two folks seated at the table closest to me in the Atrium. I introduced myself as a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council and asked if they would be interested in a feature on the CAS Instagram story. They asked if I was a host for Queer Diagnosis. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they not only listened to the podcast but were enjoying it as well! I like to promote the podcast through word of mouth, so it was nice to meet two listeners who I did not directly know. They were kind and shared feedback on our podcast. At this time, we have a growing listener base. I look forward to receiving more feedback so we can improve. 

What has been the greatest challenge in hosting your own podcast? 
Srihita: Time management is a bit of a hassle. Being a new podcast, I think all of us are learning how to best build a process that works for all of us with our schedules. 

Zarya: Time management. It can be difficult to reserve a time (that works for all three of us) to record the interview and reflection. Editing, transcribing, and promoting episodes are also not procrastination-proof; we have definitely made significant progress and will continue to. 

What has been the greatest reward of hosting your own podcast?
Srihita: The greatest reward is having those conversations. Most of our guests have been people we had never met before the podcast. Everytime, I have been stunned at how open, informative, and thoughtful they are. As someone outside the healthcare field, the podcast has pushed me to consider new thoughts and ideas.

Zarya: It is great to meet so many accomplished individuals who are passionate about what they do, always striving for improvement. I often find inspiration in our interviews. With each conversation, I find myself becoming more confident in my identity and in my public speaking. 

Available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts . Read episode transcripts here .

Check out Queer Diagnosis at QueerDiagnosis.com , Twitter , & Instagram @QueerDiagnosis