Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recap of Episode 218: Tracy Kidder -- Beyond 'Mountains Beyond Mountains' (Season Two Finale)

Our final episode of Season Two aired last Sunday, December 6, and the free podcast is available to download on our iTunes page! We were joined by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder (left), the author of Mountains Beyond Mountains -- an acclaimed nonfiction account of international health icon Dr. Paul Farmer -- and also the recently released Strength in What Remains.

Kidder's Strength in What Remains tells the astounding true story of a young man from Burundi who escapes genocide, only to arrive in New York City with only $200 in his pocket and no knowledge of the English language. The man, named Deo, sleeps on park benches in Central Park... until he manages to attend Columbia University, complete a medical degree, and go back to his native country to found a clinic.

In this episode, we enjoyed a lively interview with Kidder, who joined us as part of his book tour for Strength in What Remains. Kidder described his experiences with Dr. Farmer and Deo -- specifically, what it was like to immerse himself in their lives, their worlds and then write his best-selling books about them. He commented on the process of actually being with Deo as he returned to the country, Burundi, where he at one time had lost almost everything he had.

We very much enjoyed speaking to Tracy, and we hope you get a chance to listen to the podcast on our iTunes page. All the episodes from both Season 1 and Season 2 are available as free downloads at that link, and if you'd like to find out more about the guests we have featured in our 26 episodes thus far, check the Episode Guide on the right side of the page!

UP NEXT: As 2009 draws to a close, and as we have now wrapped up an 18-episode Season 2, we sincerely wish everyone a happy holiday season. Hosts Avash Kalra and Lakshman Swamy, Executive Producer Shamie Das, and the entire Radio Rounds team will return with an exciting new season on January 3, 2010. We have several wonderful guests lined up for Season 3, as well as some new segments... and of course, some surprises as well.

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Meet the Hosts

Avash Kalra is a medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. He is a 2005 graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in Psychology. Before starting medical school, Avash worked for one year at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, where he conducted research on lifespan extension. He then worked for one year as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Avash was born in England and lived there for 11 years. He spends his free time working as a staff writer for an NCAA hockey website. Over time, he has developed unhealthy obsessions with college hockey, poker, and the Dave Matthews Band. His favorite television shows include Lost, 24, Dexter, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He is now an avid reader... of medical textbooks. He frequently points out that he has "the perfect face for radio." And -- as you'll discover -- he likes puns.

Lakshman Swamy is a medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. He is a 2005 graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, where he self-designed the Neuroscience major. Before joining medical school, Lakshman worked for two years in the Trapp lab at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation as a lab technician working with multiple sclerosis.

Lakshman is a young gentleman in the MD/MBA program at Wright State, and accordingly, his favorite character on Scrubs is Dr. Kelso. He has an eclectic taste in music, loves audiobooks -- especially mysteries -- and watches 24, M*A*S*H, and Battlestar Galactica. Yes, two of those shows have run their final season -- he is also constantly behind the times. He has NO idea what he wants to do with his life, but he is sure it will involve turning down the position of Surgeon General for bigger and better things.

Shamie Das is an MD/MBA dual degree student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. He graduated from Emory University in 2004 as a dual major in Biology and Sociology. He went on to earn his Masters Degree in Public Health in 2007 from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. As a graduate student, he also performed bench research in Molecular and Cell Biology at the Emory University School of Medicine. In his free time during college, Shamie volunteered as an EMT-Intermediate and went on to become certified as a Paramedic.

Shamie was born in England and soon after moved to the US. In his free time he enjoys photography, traveling and fine cuisine. A few of his life goals are to visit every continent and climb Everest. An avid extremist, Shamie enjoys leaping out of perfectly good airplanes, white water rafting and jumping headfirst into gorges. Recently engaged, he also spends countless hours on the phone with his fiancée. His favorite authors include Hemingway, Frost, and Crichton (and of course Robbins). Television is a thing of the past in his current life, but occasionally he still watches PBS and listens to NPR and (of course) Radio Rounds.