In this episode of The Notable Woman Podcast, I interview Dr. Karen Hilyard, a public health communication expert, on COVID-19.

This is our second episode focused on COVID-19. I wanted to start with Amy Simpkins and exponential growth because I felt like that was the first thing people were having a hard time wrapping their heads around, and now that you know how contagious this disease is and why that matters so much, Karen’s the next person we should all be listening to.

Karen’s an expert in public health communication and just so happens to be my friend. She was happy to get on and explain to me what we should be hearing from our local, state, and federal leaders, and what we should actually be doing.


  • What it’s like in Georgia, both personally for Karen and her larger area, which is rural and suburban (quite different than me in NYC, but also similar in how our healthcare systems will respond)
  • Briefly discuss exponential growth (check out Amy’s episode for more information on that)
  • What people are still doing that they shouldn’t be – like block parties and play dates
  • Plain language guidance about what we should be doing instead
  • History on the US pandemic response plan from George W. Bush’s administration
  • Amazing tips for organizations not sure how to communicate about COVID-19
  • What we can be advocating for in our own communities, like funds for people who are food insecure and halting evictions
  • Why we should be concerned about civil liberties and the best way to make sure we maintain our rights
  • Who is doing a good job communicating right now
  • The testing debacle

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did creating it. You can listen now, right here from this webpage by clicking the play button below.

Prefer Apple Podcasts? Android user? Go to Overcast here or Google Podcasts here. Pocket Casts? Radio Public? Something else? And of course, if you loved the episode, a review is always appreciated! 

EPISODE RESOURCES INCLUDE (affiliate links included):

Today’s Guest

Karen Hilyard

“Without testing in place, we weren’t able to do that. And we were not able to sound the alarm, and it was a critical missed step in which we will never know how many people have actually had the virus. And we certainly missed some opportunity to take action when we could have perhaps slowed the spread.”

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About Karen Hilyard

Karen Hilyard, Ph.D. is a behavioral scientist and communication strategist who trains and advises state, federal, and global clients on both routine and crisis communication.  Beginning in 2006, she was part of a CDC-funded team that spent three years training public health communicators how to implement the federal pandemic preparedness and response plan.  She has written extensively about social distancing and other government directives during a pandemic.   

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