How Do You Make a Global Health Podcast?

Three years ago, Dr. Garry Aslanyan searched for a global health podcast he wanted to listen to. When he could not find one, he decided to start his own.

“I like podcasts as a tool in other areas, such as politics and current affairs,” Aslanyan told Health Policy Watch. “Podcasts allow for the most open discussions, and people can get access to them wherever they are. I also like that you get to know the guests in addition to the topic of concern.”

Aslanyan pitched for TDR to produce the “Global Health Matters” podcast. Now, with an ever-growing following and having covered dozens of topics on his weekly show, he shared insights into making the podcast with Health Policy Watch.


Aslanyan emphasised that the key to a successful podcast is having guests who genuinely engage listeners. Crafting questions that encourage guests to open up is equally crucial. To achieve this, Aslanyan continually researches the show’s topics in advance, ensuring he fully understands the context of his discussions with guests. However, the joy, he said, is that “to this day, every time I record, I learn something. I think that the listener should also have that experience.”

As part of the booking process, Aslanyan and his producer speak to the guests in advance to make sure they are a good fit and serve the role he wants on the show. Other times, his guests have guided him to find people who can bring a particular perspective.

Global Health Matters podcast guests
Global Health Matters podcast guests

Last year, TDR introduced a new segment to the podcast called “Dialogues.” This Season 3 feature involves conversations with thought leaders and authors. The goal is to discuss their books and delve into their motivations and the individuals behind them.

“This is a different way of approaching global health — not just from global health people,” Aslanyan said.

Dr Garry Aslanyan is the executive producer and host of the Global Health Matters podcast.
Dr Garry Aslanyan is the executive producer and host of the Global Health Matters podcast.


Global Health Matters produces the podcast using Riverside FM, a platform Aslanyan finds superior to Zoom or Google Meet. Riverside FM records each guest on a separate track, preventing noise interference and ensuring that issues like a bad connection from one guest don’t affect the overall audio quality.

He admitted that if there had not been a pandemic, making the podcast would likely have taken 10 times the effort. However, today, 99% of the guests he wants to host are prepared with the equipment they need to make it happen — wherever they are.

Aslanyan records from home to ensure a quiet environment and avoid interruptions. The podcast’s technica; producer also requires guests to complete a tech check in advance to confirm they know how to connect to Riverside FM and use the appropriate microphone and headphones. There have been times when guests in some countries need a better Internet connection. In those cases, if it is not super expensive, he usually asks them to switch to 4G.


Aslanyan stressed that having a good communications strategy when launching your podcast is essential to ensuring people know it exists and growing listeners.

He also said that, if possible, offering multiple languages is helpful, especially for a global podcast.

Global Health Matters is in English, but TDR tries to promote it in at least four languages, including providing transcripts.

“It gets easier after you start,” Aslanyan said. “With time, you get a better sense of quality — what is a quality topic or quality guest. You don’t need to figure out everything at once.

“Just getting started is important. And keep at it.”


Listen to the Global Health Matters podcast on Health Policy Watch.

Visit the podcast website.

Image Credits: Global Health Matters.

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