a podcast automated by Leah Smith, Kat Godfried, and Deena Mainali 


Hi! We are Leah, Deena, and Kat, juniors at Princeton University with the Global Health Program. Welcome to our podcast, where we discuss, “finessing” the problematic US healthcare system; from providing care to seeking care to caring for oneself. 

Our aim is to improve patients’ relationship with health by reframing what can be done by patients for patients as small revolutions. We use the term small revolution to say that when patients become self-aware of the power and importance they have in their own health and their interactions with the healthcare system, they become involved in building a better healthcare system. Join us in exploring this idea through discussions about Patient Autonomy, Cultural Competency, Strength in Numbers, and finally a small revolution example; Sarah Latta, a ballet dancer from Palmer, Alaska, a type 1 diabetic and COVID survivor who navigates generating her own autonomy with a chronic illness, and choosing joy, with the support of her family and dance community, as she continues to recover from her symptoms. 



An Introduction


1 – Patient Autonomy


2 – Cultural Competency


3 – Strength in Numbers


4 – Sarah’s Story


Small Revolutions: Sarah’s Story 

We present to you Sarah’s Story. 

Sarah front right

Sarah Latta is a bright and beautiful 21 year old ballet dancer who grew up in Palmer, Alaska (with Leah) She is an example of a small revolution. 

We document her health history, from diabetes to continuing to recover from COVID months and months after she first got it; April 10, 2020. 

 Sarah was home in Alaska for the majority of the time having the virus and struggling with debilitating after effects, from April to September. 

 “I was thankful for my family,” she says, “I would have not gotten through this without them…it would have just been me, sleeping and staring into the abyss if it weren’t for my family keeping me company in the moments I was awake.” 

Sarah has type I diabetes, among other pre existing conditions such as renal failure at age 7. She was used to having health at the center of her life. She is used to existing in the normative, a walking example of Canguilhem’s definition of health as the ability to adapt. When she caught covid she was sleeping 22 hours a day, for about a month and a half, as well as having an incessant dry cough. They gave her a steroid for her cough after a lung X-Ray, but quickly learned it caused her blood sugar to spike to dangerously high levels. Her mom called her endocrinologist constantly, to try and find things that would help. Though disabling her from eating for almost a week, it successfully cut her cough to more manageable levels. 

Sarah was able to share this bit of information with a type I diabetic who was fearful in light of their recent COVID positive test. She was able to share her story, offering suggestions to others from her debilitating experience. She is also currently trying a supplement, Glutathione, from other’s suggestions. She says she is already seeing it make a difference in her fatigue symptoms, which is still sleeping 15 hours daily. 

Sarah mentions how her mental health has been a struggle, but the support group on Facebook has helped a lot, as well as her family. She knows it has affected them greatly, especially with anxiety, but also financially. She knows things will never be quite the same again, but she continues to push forward. 

Her doctors didn’t and still don’t know quite how to help Sarah. But her and her family are continuing to pave the small steps for her future in light of an undisclosed full recovery time. 

As of now, she finds joy by watching others dance, listening to music, knitting/reading or journaling for small bits of time. And of course, she finds great joy in time spent with her friends and family on her good days. 

 It is our pleasure to share her story with you and we hope you feel as empowered by her story as we did. 

Sarah remaining hopefully for her dancing future 


We want to thank you for listening, and for Professor Sebastian Ramirez for helping us ideate and guiding us through this process. We couldn’t have done it without you, Seba! Shoutout to Arbel, Heidi, Pallavi, and Samin as well for being wonderful mentors for us throughout the semester. And of course, thank you to Dr. Alana Arnold, Dr. Diana Contreras, Dr. David Godfried, Bertha, and Sarah Latta. You inspired us through this experience; we learned so much thanks to your wisdom and experiences.


For your reference

1 – Patient Autonomy


Delaporte, F. (2000). A vital rationalist: Selected writings from Georges Canguilhem. New York, USA, NY: Zone Books.


Biehl, J. (2017). Theorizing global health – Princeton School of Public and … Retrieved December 8, 2020, from https://spia.princeton.edu/system/files/research/documents/Biehl_TheorizingGlobalHealth _2016.pdf


National Institute for Health. (n.d.). What Should I Ask My Doctor During a Checkup? Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-should-i-ask-my-doctor-during-checkup

2 – Cultural Competency


Georgetown University. (2019, February 13). Cultural Competence in Health Care: Is it important for people with chronic conditions? Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://hpi.georgetown.edu/cultural/


Milman, O. (2019, April 15). ‘We’re not a dump’ – poor Alabama towns struggle under the stench of toxic landfills. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/15/were-not-a-dump-poor-alabama-towns-struggle-under-the-stench-of-toxic-landfills

3:00 – On social determinants of health and Primary Healthcare

Farmer, P., Kim, J., Kleinman, A., & Basilico, M. (2013). Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction. University of California Press. Retrieved December 8, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt46n4b2

MacKellar, L. (2017, May 18). Randall M. Packard A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016. xii + 414 p. $26.00. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/padr.12067


Sykes, W. (2020, June 30). Wanda Sykes: White People Get Opioids | Netflix Is A Joke. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8dml_mZEMs


EMPOWER Lab. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://publichealth.nyu.edu/research-scholarship/centers-labs-initiatives/empower-lab


Structural competency. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://structuralcompetency.org/

3 – Strength in Numbers


Rose S. L. (2013). Patient advocacy organizations: institutional conflicts of interest, trust, and trustworthiness. The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics41(3), 680–687. https://doi.org/10.1111/jlme.12078


Chacoff, A., Sachs, A., Dovey, C., McNaught, M., Dombek, K., Blaustein, G., . . . Saval, N. (2016, September 28). How to Survive a Footnote. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from https://nplusonemag.com/issue-23/annals-of-activism/how-to-survive-a-footnote/


Diniz, D., & R., G. W. (2017). Zika: From the Brazilian backlands to global threat. London: Zed Books.


Prince, M., Patel, V., Saxena, S., Maj, M., Maselko, J., Phillips, M. R., & Rahman, A. (2007, September 4). No health without mental health – The Lancet. Retrieved December 8, 2020, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)61238-0/fulltext


Stawski, M., & Stawski, S. (Directors). (2019, June 2). Tokyo Tales: Our Thoughts on Oddly Yvie (Simon and Martina Podcast Episode 19) [Video file]. Retrieved December 7, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Catxa8HcYU