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Diseases, History and Cocktails: “This Podcast Will Kill You” by Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke

by Manju Karthikeyan

There are a variety of health podcasts out there that unpack different science myths. What is unique about This Podcast Will Kill You, however, is that it humanizes disease, taking complex, prevalent, and taboo topics within medicine and epidemiology to convey powerful messages. 

The podcast is led by two professionals, the first being Erin Welsh, PhD, who is a disease ecologist and epidemiologist by training and works as a science communicator. Erin Allmann Updyke, MD, PhD, the other co-host, also studied epidemiology and disease ecology and is currently a resident physician in family medicine. 

Despite the impressive professional backgrounds of both Erins and the technical complexities of the topics they discuss, This Podcast Will Kill You makes their material relatable and comprehensible to all. For example, in their episode “Menopause is whatever you want it to be,” the physiological processes underlying menopause and reproductive cycles are broken down for the general public. It also does an excellent job of unpacking societal stigmas and shame associated with menstruation. 

Another episode, titled “Blastomycosis: How fungus became amongus” follows a similar format, tracing the history of pathogenic fungi in an educational, yet entertaining manner. Other topics include “C. diff: Fighting poop with poop,” “Diabetes: Short & sweet,” “Guinea worm: (Almost) ancient history,” and more. The podcast occasionally includes prominent pop culture figures and relevant scientists.

Do not be discouraged by the seriousness of this subject matter; each episode is layered with anecdotes, witty banter, and enthusiasm, to create a more engaging audience experience. Beyond engagement within the podcast, the Erins also publish drink recipes for their listeners such as “Quarantinis” and “Placeboritas”. Each recipe follows the episode theme, usually involving a pun such as “Rum for your Life,” “Vitamin D-Licious,” and “the Clonic Tonic.”

This Podcast Will Kill You is available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. To engage more with the recipes, episodes, and podcast hosts, you can visit their website