Sinai Health Foundation

Meet Garvia Bailey

Host of the Frontiers of Care podcast

In this podcast by Sinai Health Foundation, we’ll bring you stories from inside Sinai Health, a specialized health care system and biomedical research institute that excels in delivering life-changing care. Sinai Health’s globally recognized experts push the boundaries of care for infants, the most complex chronic illnesses, and the diseases of aging. Expertly steering the listener through these stories is Garvia Bailey, an arts journalist, broadcaster and producer.

What was your biggest ‘A-HA’ moment listening to the patient stories in Frontiers of Care?

A mentor once told me that as a journalist I would get the chance to ask questions of people that under normal circumstances you would not get to ask AND you would learn about things that you might not get a chance to hear about first hand if you weren't in this position. In this case, every interview felt like an 'A-HA.'

When I learned about fetal surgery from Dr. Van Meighem I was floored; when the details of HIPEC surgery was recounted to me, I was literally at a loss for words. Although I know these are medical procedures backed by science and technology and training and all still sounded a bit mystical to me. My respect for these medical professionals has always been very high, but hearing about what they do every day truly shifted something in me, deepening the awe I feel for the medical profession.

What stuck with you most about Sinai Health and its care?

I was consistently astonished by how personal the relationships felt between the medical professionals and patients. There were so many instances when a doctor would say, 'Ohhh, I remember how charming, x person was, or funny or attentive or apprehensive.'

They were actively engaged in the lives of these patients and it struck me every time as special and worth noting. Great care is one thing, but witnessing real human connection is so special and Sinai Health does that really, really well.

What do you want listeners to take away with them after listing to Frontiers of Care?

That we owe an enormous debt to those who work tirelessly to make sure institutions like Sinai Health are available to us. We are beyond fortunate to have access to this level of care and I’d hope that listeners would take home a deeper understanding of that AND a deeper understanding of how truly skilled and compassionate these healthcare professionals really are.

How has your perspective on healthcare changed having hosted this podcast living through a global pandemic?

Having the opportunity to sit down and speak frankly and intimately with those on the frontlines of this crisis was a privilege. It was a privilege to ask these probing and sometimes personal questions knowing that the level of worry that these healthcare professionals were experiencing was off the charts, especially for the long-term care episode. If anything, my gratitude for these caregivers just deepened because I got the chance to hear their stories firsthand.

What’s your strategy in taking the listener along someone’s very personal and sometimes complicated health journey?

My job is to be the bridge and ask what the listener would ask. We are talking about some complex stuff, so asking that one extra question of our guests was so important. When you’ve told your story (a lot) to friends, family, colleagues, it’s easy to answer with a kind of job was to get the interviewees to spell it all out because that is what the listener needs in order to be invested in the story.

What do you like best about podcasts as a storytelling medium (vs books, movies, etc)?

Intimacy. There is something so intimate about connecting one voice to one ear. It’s like an IV to your brain, to your heart and soul if it’s done right. There is little room for distraction when you are engaged in the kind of active listening a well-done podcast inspires.

What are your tips for being a good listener and finding the heart of a story?

I think we are all born to connect with stories so it’s already in us to want to be told a good story. There is so much heart in all of these stories and so many charming characters to root for. The team did all the right things, from the sound design to the storytelling, so it’ll be easy to be drawn into these worlds. The heart of the story will emerge if you just let it.

How are you protecting your mental, physical and emotional health as we enter the second year of the pandemic?

I exercise every day and walk my dog a million times a day. As Dr. Kim Coros says in the podcast, “movement is medicine,” so I take that to heart. I am lucky to have my daughter and partner with me in lockdown and they are both so easy to live with. I am also fortunate to work with my closest friends, so I get lots of belly laughs and deep connections during the course of a day. Staying connected to the world is really important.