A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Listen and Learn


Julie Roth ’99 MD’04 RES’05 F’09

Julie Roth ’99 MD’04 RES’05 F’09 built her career in the relatively new field of women’s neurology, treating patients who were pregnant or had neurological symptoms unique to women. As the associate professor of neurology and of medical science collaborated with ob/gyn colleagues on rare, but scary, cases of neurological diseases in pregnant patients, Roth realized that “ob/gyns are not taught about the brain and the nervous system, and neurologists are not taught about ob/gyn.” She wanted to help trainees bridge that gap, but decided against writing a textbook: “that’s not how our residents are learning.” So she learned to podcast.

On Neurostories.com, she’s published a curriculum pairing approachable, 15- to 20-minute audio stories with written case studies on conditions in pregnancy like stroke, epilepsy, and MS. Roth found that residents learned equally well from the written and podcast versions, and the latter “was the preferred way to learn.” Now she’s a “major podcasting advocate,” she says, “because if you know something and you’re the only person who knows that thing, how are you going to get that message out there?”

THE PUSH: The podcast’s title evokes childbirth and the push doctors need to study its content: “You don’t want to learn about it—until you really need to know about it.”

SPEAKING UP: Patients who’ve struggled to get treatment are eager to tell their stories on The Push. “They’re on a mission,” Roth says. “They want people to learn.”

LEARNING CURVE: It took Roth “probably 40 hours” to edit her first episode; her latest took about 10. Now she’s co-teaching a podcasting class for med students.

BACKGROUND NOISE: When Roth’s three kids get rowdy, it drives her crazy—but it makes great audio. She’s recorded their shouts and laughter to tell patient stories.

BRAIN EXERCISE: Roth plays the bass in the Providence Medical Orchestra, jams with friends, and has even played on the podcast.

ON THE AIR: During undergrad, Roth was a late-night DJ on WBRU. “I didn’t like the talking,” she says. “I’d play a 25-minute John Coltrane and sit back.”


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