Jack O’Brien interviews Cactus founder/CEO Joe Conrad about how campaigns like Man Therapy may be starting to change the trajectory of suicide among working-age men. Lecia Bushak reviews the new CSRxP poll results that show a bump in bipartisan support for legislation to curb drug costs. And the controversy over full body scans leads our healthcare social media segment, along with items on RFK Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy on the campaign trail and TikTok’s “girl dinner” trend. Music by Sixième Son.

Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Hey, it’s Marc

Readers of MM&M may recall our coverage of the “Man Therapy” campaign, specifically last May’s effort targeting New England fisherman.

For those who may not be familiar with it, this 11-year-old public service campaign aimed at potentially suicidal men has utilized humor to promote conversations around men’s mental health.

Visitors to Mantherapy.org are introduced to the fictional mustachioed therapist “Rich Mahogany,” who dishes out lines like, “You can’t fix your mental health with duct tape,” and encourages users to take a “20-point head check.” 

The campaign’s content and resources are designed to break down stigma, improve health- seeking behavior in the target population, and reduce suicidal ideation 

The national suicide rate is highest in working-age men. But research has validated “Man Therapy’s” unconventional use of humor to address that grim statistic. 

The campaign has also spawned a spin-off firm – Grit Digital – which creates software BH platforms for colleges, as well as a movement known as Moonshot for Mankind, a conference and online conf series designed to promote men’s health.

This week on the podcast, Jack O’Brien sits down with ad man Joe Conrad, founder and CEO of Cactus – the agency behind “Man Therapy” – for Conrad’s take on why the creative approach has proven so effective, the national discourse it’s sparked about this serious issue, and what’s next for the effort, which Conrad calls an “eye opener for using branding creative and tech to address mental health.”

And Lecia’s here with a health policy update…

Hey Marc, today I’ll give a rundown of new poll results from the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing that show increasingly bipartisan support from the public for legislation that reduces drug costs.

And Jack, what three issues ya got on tap for this week’s healthcare social media segment?

This week, we’re talking about the ramifications of Kim K’s body scan, RFK Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy make noise on the campaign trail and the conversations around eating disorders in light of TikTok’s ‘girl dinner’ trend.


and welcome to the M&M podcast. My name is Jack O’Brien. I’m the digital editor at, mmm. I’m pleased to be joined today by special guest Joe Conrad, the CEO and founder of cactus agency. Joe, how are you doing today? Doing

great, Jack. Thanks for having me.

I appreciate you making time to come on the show to talk about, what’s been a really important. And I would say, kind of emerging Topic in the past few years, around Health Care around men’s mental health, and kind of the stigmatization aspect. And I have a number of specific questions about the campaigns and the different efforts that you’ve worked on. But on a base level, why is this been such an important initiative and

topic for you and your agency to work on? Well, our eyes were really open to the issue and the epidemic that this men’s Mental Health crisis had kind of turned into. When in 2010, I was meeting with somebody who works in suicide prevention and he was telling me about the number of men, male suicides working age men, 25 to 54 that happened each year in this country.

Um, you know, seven out of 10 suicides are from this population. And you know, we had we looked around and we were very intrigued by the public health world. And if anybody had ever done a campaign or an effort targeting specifically working age men, and we found very, very little knot in the US and we looked around the world and we found again a very little that had been focused on this very important population. So that was kind of our first eye-opening, where we became aware of the issue and also just the lack of anybody doing anything interesting or creative in the space to address it.

I wanted to touch on the creative aspect there because we’ve written about a few of your campaigns, as it relates to the man therapy campaign initiative in. Mmm. We’ve had the firefighter one. I remember there was the one involving New England fishermen. How did those all come about? Because again, you’re kind of dealing with something where it’s people may not necessarily be as open to talking about it but these are the communities that you’re trying to reach in a very you know, effective way.

Yeah I think everything about our man therapy campaign and the experiences and Ad Agency in developing and launching that campaign has been just incredible and very non-traditional in as much that we don’t really have a client. We created the campaign because we saw a need in the market and our agency, at Cactus took it on as a passion project. And so, when we launched in 2012, we really, you know, used our best practices of really great strategic insights, a great creative concept, we decided to use humor to address a very

Our subject and and get guys to kind of lean in and break down you know any barriers or some of the stigma and get them to kind of trust the campaign and think oh this is interesting. This is different. This looks like something I can relate to maybe I should check it out. So we launched man therapy The Hub of the campaign was man. Therapy.org the website where the fictitious therapist Dr. Rich mahogany was there to greet you and you know defense a 20-point head inspection. Give you some advice point you around on the site and it really, it really hit a chord. I think in resonated with people the New York Times wrote a feature article about it quickly spread to this cult following because it was taking such an interesting approach to a very dark topic. And then you know, we didn’t cut any Corners when it came to the brand and the creative quality of the production quality, the way the website was built and the interactive experience that we created. So we really taped into something that I think really resonated.

And it was an eye-opener for us on really the power of using creativity and Technology to address behavioral health issues

and can you talk about that humor aspect? Because like I said, both of the campaigns that we’ve covered in the past year or so really lean into that whole like this is obviously a very heavy subject. We want to talk to you about something that’s meaningful but we’re not trying to come from a place that’s just. So I guess you could say, overall with concern, we really want to meet you on the level. Can you talk about that? Because I feel like that really goes into these efforts that go towards, you know, breaking down stigmas and really kind of opening a more transparent conversation.

Yeah. Yeah, I think, you know, it works for a number of reasons, I think one is men, but also not just men, but also in the first responder Community humor and, you know, giving each other hard time. You know, we would say, guys would say breaking each other’s balls but, you know, they all have this camaraderie with, with female firefighters or for responders law enforcement. So we knew the humor kind of cut across all that and oft

Times people will use humor to deflect a serious topic to kind of not focus on that and deflect it to a different and use it to kind of let some air out of the situation. So we really use that same strategy of, you know, let’s let’s really be funny. Let’s let’s create this character that you didn’t really know if he was real or not, and we knew that we wanted to talk about mental health and much different terms and make it relatable, and approachable and accessible. And really let guys know that therapy comes in many forms and taking care of your mental. Health is the manliest thing you can do. And so, we leaned into that, that manly thing and it really paid off

And I’m kind of curious too. You talk about it not necessarily being for one client per se but obviously you know you talk about the widespread media coverage Beyond you know the trade Publications like mmm into the New York Times what is the feedback been like from the target audience? You’re trying to reach these men that maybe have these mental health issues that they haven’t addressed before. What is that been like?

It’s been an incredible experience. You know, we launched the campaign in 2012. So just 11 years ago, this July and you know we have a lot of data from the website 2 m, i l l, i o n visits over 500,000 men of completed. The head inspection 50,000 men of clicked on the crisis line. We can see a lot of what they’re doing and asking about searching for on the site. We have a lot of data, then we’ve gotten, you know, dozens and dozens of anecdotal stories from men and their loved ones talking about how that website really helped him and they appreciated it. How did they become a part of it? Really hundreds and hundreds over the years of people who kind of raise their hand and expressed some feedback or wanted to be a part of it and then we just completed it. The CDC sponsored a 1. 2 m, i l l i o n dollar

Six-year clinical study of man therapy in the state of Michigan. And it just wrapped up about two years ago and we had to wait was just recently published in November but what that study found of talking up to 600 men and following them after their experience with the website. And then also following them long-term is the three goals that we set out for The Campaign Will clearly be in that. We were breaking down the stigma and making it more approachable. We were improving, help, seeking behavior and working age men. And most importantly, we were reducing suicidal ideation after so many experienced our site and our screening tools. So you know, we have clear evidence that not only is it a neat idea, but we know that it works and that’s helped fuel its growth and kind of sustainability across the US.

And I have to imagine that so much more validating. I talked to a lot of leaders all the time and they’ll talk about, you know, we got this many Impressions or we made, you know, this many eyeballs. But when you’re able to say like, oh, we made an impact in terms of cutting down on suicidal, ideation or the amount of people that actually go and talk to a therapist or, you know, take the steps to address their mental health, that must be very validating as a leader.

It absolutely is, you know, we want to be effective. We want to constantly learn you know, where we’re succeeding or following shorts. We can improve and continually optimize and we’ve had a lot of people say, yeah, this is a knee campaign but is it really reducing suicide? And so as I said it’s such a complex issue and the numbers are really hard to track. You know, there’s so many different campaigns and and you know the issues may be getting worse and maybe a lot of the public education campaigns are working but it’s just it’s actually the numbers would be much higher. So it’s really hard to say but when you look at like our

Intervention, targeted at men. And then, you know, doing that clinical research study, we know that, in that microcosm of 600 men, it is effective. So that gives us confidence to really go out and try to spread the campaign and get it into the hands of as many men as possible.

I had one more question on man therapy before we kind of pivot the conversation a little bit and it kind of has to do with what you talked about the complexity of the Mental Health crisis. The nation as undergone obviously, that was apparent over a decade ago, when you launched, man therapy but in that time we’ve had a three year pandemic, that no one had seen coming and obviously that’s had its own impact on Mental Health in this country. How did that impact the initiative and maybe kind of refactoring, how you approach, or how you get this in front of the hands of different people, giving them that that fundamentally changed how the world operated.

Yeah, that’s a really insightful question. You know, when we launched in 2012 there, I think the stigma around men’s mental health was much greater than it is today. I think we’ve come a long way. I don’t think we’ve reached a Tipping Point with it but we’ve been one of those forces trying to push forward and get that Tipping Point to happen sooner where you know mental health seen on the same level as physical health and a guy would think about taking care of you know, a mental health challenges just like a broken arm. And so that’s come a long way. I think we’re a lot more open to it and I think the pandemic

Worsened and heightened the crisis, the Mental Health crisis and so put more and you know focus and interventions and more more people are paying more attention to it. And I think that that’s all going to be a positive thing. But I think you know the most important part of it is this idea that mental health isn’t just for some people that really every single one of us are somewhere along that Continuum of mental health and well-being and you could be in a great place. And then you never know what might happen in your life. You lose somebody close to you, you lose a job. You know you hit a spiral financial crisis and suddenly you could be, you know, really you know dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety and different things. So how can we all be more resilient? How can we flourish? And and I think when you take that approach, that mental health and well-being is for everybody that stigma just melts away because, you know, we’re all in it together and I think that I think that we have come a long way and at the same time

I look at men in general, since we’re specifically, you know, that’s where we started. Men and globally are in worse shape than they ever have been.

They’re graduating from college at much, much smaller numbers. Single men are much less likely to own a home than single women prisons are filled with mostly men. The suicide rate, we talked about already the loneliest of people out there are men who you know, can barely find maybe one good friend in their life, you know. And so it’s a time at the same time, you know, there’s a lot of social justice movements happening out there and you know, a lot of people aren’t going to feel sorry for white guys, but it’s not just white guys. It’s just men in general but I think, you know, I think they they are particularly I think suffering right now they’re dying young girl, and living less healthier lives and women. And so you know I think it has a residual negative impact on, you know, friends families, communities. And so you know, I think conversely with men, you know, being more aware of their em,

you know, mental physical, relational Health, you know, the better, I think everybody’s going to be so I think it’s still an important and ongoing conversation

Absolutely, those are very impactful words there and Switching gears a little bit. I want to talk about grit digital Health. If you can give our audience kind of a, an overview of the work that goes on that organization, may be some of the initiatives that you’ve stood up since its launch.

yeah, I’m happy to

Because of our work with men therapy as an ad agency. Like I’m an ad guy. That’s what we do, right? We create campaigns and it was a real eye opener around the power of using creative branding and Technology to address Behavioral Health. It was kind of a bit of

It kind of wet our appetite a little bit, but it all kind of happened, very organically, this campaign man therapy led to so many things and one of them was a call from my alma mater at Colorado, State University. And they had a breakout of 17 suicides in a two year period. And so, you know, we lose about 1200 college students, a year on campuses to Suicide. They wanted to, you know, look into a potential solution and they knew about my work, so went up and started working with them and formed a really unique public, private partnership. There are a large land, grant University State University in Colorado about 35,000 students. And we really started to delve into the issue and we found that there’s a mental health crisis on college campuses that goes well beyond just to Suicide Challenge. And at that point,

We knew there was a solution out there that could really, I think provide some utility and value to students and to higher education. And so, at that point in time in 2015, we decided to launch a new company, a sister company called grit digital health. And our sole Focus would be to create software. You know, we have platforms that really helped people personalize and manage their own well-being, and we started with college students. And after we launched, we developed what we call the U platform which is personalized, comprehensive well-being site, that really manage, it helps people, you know, set priorities and goals and, and not just deal with issues. But also, you know, really flourish. And it’s something that we launched in 2016 as a pilot, it was very well received. So we took it to the market and today, we’re at about 200 campuses across the country with

Are higher ed Solutions.

And we have, since also been asked to create a version of our well-being platform for veterans. So that platform is called operation veteran strong. We also trans created it for First Responders, and that platform is called responders strong. And these are great National Partnerships where we’re really taking what we kind of created in the higher, ed space and bringing it to other markets. So that’s what grit is focused on is building wellbeing Solutions through technology.

It’s a very Noble effort, too. Just having, you know, personally having been on a college campus at the time that this was launched. I can tell you that, that was obviously something that was eye-opening to me, was just seeing, you know, the Mental Health crisis facing undergrads across the country. And obviously, the the suicidal ideation that comes along with it. I’m curious when you look at the advertising and marketing efforts around Suicide Prevention around mental health awareness, is there anything that is missing the marker? You see any room for improvement? Not only from your own organization, but maybe for other ones that you see out there in the marketplace.

I think there’s been a lot of really great work. You know, there’s you know, Suicide, Prevention Day, week month, different populations. There’s certainly been more Public Health, funding around it. It’s still probably a drop in the bucket and so there have been some, some really good and interesting efforts. I think there’s a lot of organizations pulling in that direction, I think.

What I would love to see more of is beyond just kind of like the crisis line. I think the new crisis text line. 988 is great. I think it’s long overdue that we launched that because that’s kind of serves that crisis purpose, but I think we need more tools and solutions that go upstream and our whole approach is early intervention prevention. The best defense is a good offense. And so that’s what really where we’re trying to take and I think there’s room for more of us to just promote mental health and well-being and the earlier and schools and the more we normalize that and get out in front of it rather than dealing with the acute crisis, you know, on the other end, I think that there’s a lot more room to run there. And I think also letting people know that everybody has a role to play. You know, we all are in touch with friends and family members, co-workers, and to just, you know, a little bit more, keep your eye on.

One another. And that’s probably the most powerful thing that we have been able to tap into you just yet.

Yeah, you talked about that proactivity kind of heading off any sort of a cue crisis down. The line is always going to be the preferable option. Joe, I’ve really appreciated you being on the show and obviously sharing your insights on these campaigns and these initiatives that you’ve been so deeply involved with over the past decade or so, I wanted to kind of shift the focus on the last question to the Future. And if you can kind of give us a little bit of a preview of the moonshot for mankind, in the work that you’re doing in that space.

Yeah, so the moonshot for mankind is a movement that we’re launching next week, July 25th to 28th. We’re having a series of workshops that are online

workshops and this is just the introduction of this New Concept. It grew out of a friendship that annuity developed friendship. This is another one of the ripples from man therapy about a year and a half ago, a gentleman named Jed Diamond reached out to me and he just heard about me and therapy even though he was in the field of men’s health. For the past 55 years is the best selling author. He’s dedicated his whole life to men’s mental health and so we obviously really hit it off and he said he wanted to do this moonshot. He had this moonshot, I did didn’t know where to take it or what it might mean. But we pulled together seven, different individuals who are working in men’s health men and women and we just started meeting once a month. Like like we it was very similar to how man therapy got started. We just started kicking it around. What can we do with this? And I knew that it needed. Some forum and a brand and Anthem and a website. And that’s what we do at.

So the partners at Cactus all decided it was an important cause so we developed a new logo, a really cool brand. We made this awesome video that we’re just putting the sweetening touches on right now in studio and we’re going to launch the website on Monday. Just in time to support the moonshot for mankind Web Conference. It’s on Tuesday, so moonshot for mankind. Or.com. Either one will get you to the same place and it’s basically a place where people can go. Just learn more about Men’s Health and why it’s important to not just men, but also to, you know, women and children and sisters and mothers and wives and, you know, ultimately communities in the planet. So it’s a big hero nation’s goal, but it really, if we can change this trajectory and get men to live healthier longer lives, it’ll do more than curing cancer and so,

Uh, also focused on a place where people can come and get information, become more aware of the issue. So they’re more knowledgeable and then it’s a hub that allows organizations working in men’s health to collaborate, leverage one, another, and create a network and community that can hopefully pull together and be better able to coordinate efforts to kind of Advance this idea. So, that’s in a nutshell, the moonshot, and we called it that because we think it’s going to take everybody working, to really, take a swing at cracking and very serious challenge.

Absolutely. And it sounds very exciting. So I’m appreciate you us. You giving us kind of the preview there for what to expect and obviously, as it as it rolls out in the next few weeks, and months will be curious to see the results that pulls in. But Joe, really appreciate you being on for this very important conversation. Hope we get to revisit somewhere down the line and wish you the best of luck with your agency in that if various initiatives, that you have going on

Jack. Thank you so much, really enjoyed the time and the questions.

Very thoughtful, appreciate you.

Health policy update with Lecia Bushak.

As the lead-up to the 2024 presidential campaign begins, healthcare items like drug pricing and abortion will likely surface as major issues for both Republican and Democratic candidates.

Drug pricing regulation in particular has continued to sustain a lot of attention from both lawmakers and the public – and support for legislation is becoming increasingly bipartisan, according to The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, or CSRxP.

CSRxP briefed reporters Tuesday on new poll results – conducted by Republican Erik Iverson of Moore Information Group in collaboration with Democrat Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners.

The bottom line of the poll results – 70% of voters across the political spectrum are concerned about drug prices, and one-third of them have trouble affording them.

While public concern about high drug prices isn’t new, the poll results also revealed that Democratic, Republican and Independent voters widely support passing legislation that would lower prescription drug prices – showing that the issue is indeed bipartisan, and will likely translate to the presidential campaign.

Lawmakers have introduced two new bills this year that aim to curb prices and improve transparency – the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act and the FAIR Drug Pricing Act. More than 75% of voters across the political spectrum support the bills, according to the poll.

58% of people polled also said they believe pharma companies are the most responsible for drug prices, compared to only 18% who believe the government is responsible, and 4% who believe pharmacy benefit managers are.

Here’s Erik Iverson.

IVERSON: “Voters want to know, the public want to know, if these pharma companies are making unfair gains, if they’re jacking up the price, and they want to have some sunshine put onto those prices so the public can be aware if there’s price hikes.”

I’m Lecia Bushak, Senior Reporter at MM+M.

And this is the part of the broadcast when we welcome Jack O’Brien to tell us what’s trending on healthcare social media.

Kim Kardashian is no stranger to controversy and this latest moment of public scrutiny has reignited a long-running healthcare debate. 

Kardashain recently posted an Instagram photo of herself next to a full body scan machine and touted its supposed benefits in identifying serious conditions like cancer or aneurysms early.

“I recently did this @prenuvo scan and had to tell you all about this life-saving machine,” Kardashian wrote in the post. “The Prenuvo full-body scan has the ability to detect cancer and diseases such as aneurysms in its earliest stages, before symptoms arise.”

She ended with the hashtag #NotAnAd. Prenuvo told BuzzFeed it did not pay Kardashian for any sponsorship or advocacy.

As a result of the post seen by her 363 million followers, health screening appointments have seen a 13% uptick, according to Zocdoc.

Still, Kardashian’s claims – and the assertions of full-body scan companies like Prenuvo, Ezra and Neko Health – aren’t fully backed by physicians. 

Over the years, medical experts have raised questions about the utility of such scans, pointing out that there’s currently no data showing the scans can improve survival or tumor detection.

A debate raged online in the days following her post, with many users calling Kardashian out for being “tone deaf” about the high cost of the scan – which most insurers don’t cover – and the lack of access ordinary patients face.

“Kim, this is for wealthy people,” one commenter wrote. “People can’t afford food right now.”

As the disparities in access and affordability continue to be examined in the healthcare space, companies like Prenuvo have brought in significant capital thanks to Hollywood stars and prominent figures.

I want to throw this over to Lesha because she wrote the story. Obviously, there’s a lot of factors that play here. There’s the celebrity aspect which does bring, you know, kind of a special Spotlight to preventive care, which a lot of healthcare organizations and hcp has been moving toward It’s in recent years, but there’s also the issues around privilege and class and access to care and the affordability angle too.

I think this kind of, Influence, you know, a celebrity can have when it comes to a healthcare products or campaign, even though she wasn’t officially, you know, associated with the campaign or anything. But this is one of the reasons why Healthcare marketers try to have celebrities like actors and social media influencers. You know, partner with them to get the word out. And ZocDoc did tell me that they have noticed that 13% increase in patients booking preventive health, screening appointments since Kardashian posted this. So she definitely has had some influence but it’s also one of those things where a lot of these medical experts are saying something kind of the opposite of what Kim Kardashian is saying. They’re saying there’s really not necessarily much utility behind doing these screenings for, the average patient who’s asymptomatic and doesn’t really have any glaring health problems at the moment. There are as mentioned, very expensive Insurance. Don’t cover these A full body scans and it’s like the word is getting out in a sort of inaccurate, way through these influencers. And it’s not just Kardashian. Because even just a quick search on tiktok has shown that a lot of tick, tock influencers are talking about prenovo and other full body scans. So, the word is definitely getting out among social media influencers, but it’s not really matching up to what the medical experts are saying.

Yeah, it’s that typical Gap that we see between, you know, what, a celebrity may be pitching or you know what the normal person can afford or should be interested in Mark. I’m curious too because as Lesha pointed out, you know, prenovo came out there and said this is not an ad but Kardashian obviously mention them specifically in the post. I wonder, you know where that comes in from a brand perspective. Obviously they’re taking the the good in terms of the uptick in interest and booking appointments. But there’s all the backlash too in terms of cost and the access issue and things of that nature.

Sure. And unless you pointed out, you know the The danger or the flip side of having, you know, the word gets spread by influencers, is that it’s not always accurate. Well, you know, you can add Venture capitalists to that, you know, danger as well because you know prenuvo which was the company behind this scan that the Kardashian took you know they just did a 7 0 m i l l i o n dollar raise last fall there were not the only one that did raise his last year.

Ezra had one as well. That was that was a more than a year ago. But, you know, the VC companies been kind of moving into this space and in the press release for a race. They pointed out that the federal government’s healthy people. Survey has shown that preventive Health, screenings, and Primary Care. Consultations can significantly increase life expectancy particularly among the 30 to 49 year age group, it only 8% of adults receive appropriate preventive, Health Services each year. I mean, they’re talking about health screenings. They’re not talking anything about, you know, these full body scans when they know us around those kind of statistics. And the bottom line is that the scans have not been shown to be cost effective. But as axios pointed out in the editorial, this week, there could be one upside. You know that if Venture capitalists maintain their interest for this technology then we may see the results get proven out.

You know, as to whether they are cost-effective or not and the cost could start to come down and become subsidized and so we could finally know whether this is indeed a useful technology or not for the broader population. So I thought that was an interesting take. It’s interesting that you talk about the difference there too between, you know, people being encouraged to go and do a regular screening or go and get a physical done by their doctor that’s entirely different than getting a full body scan, which somebody like a Kardashian or it was mentioned that Sydney Crawford had invested in one of these companies too. So celebrities and Hollywood stars and Tech startups that are able to afford the things that you know, you me. And I imagine a lot of people in our audience simply aren’t able to afford on a regular basis.

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean it’s right now. It’s the province of the Venture capitalists the celebrity is and as axis, put it otherwise Health hackers. But, you know, if as long as they keep, you know, doing it, then the cost could be subsidized to the point where there are enough scans to get done to really, you know, finally get some get some good on this technology.

Let’s see how the most healthcare-relevant candidates are doing on the campaign trail as of late.

Over the weekend, longshot Democratic presidential hopeful and known anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, if elected, he would support a national ban on abortion after the first three months of pregnancy. Then he walked it back hours later, telling NBC News he “misunderstood” repeated questions on the topic.

“I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life,” he told NBC News on Sunday morning, answering in the affirmative when asked if his proposed ban would take place at 15 weeks or 21 weeks.

Days later, Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik reported that Kennedy claimed the U.S. has established bio-laboratories in Ukraine as part of programs involving biological weapons.

Of note, at the end of last month, Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis announced that, if elected, he would be open to appointing RFK Jr. to a leadership role at either the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Sic him on the FDA if he’d be willing to serve, or sic him on CDC,” DeSantis said.

In addition to widespread criticism from Democrats, former Vice President and fellow GOP presidential hopeful Mike Pence called out DeSantis and said he would not consider Kennedy for any role in his administration.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate and former Roivant Sciences CEO Vivek Ramaswamy said the indictment of former President Trump delivered by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia on Monday night was “politicized persecution through prosecution.”

This is the fourth legal case in four months in which the former president has been indicted. 

Ramaswamy, who is running for the spot in the Oval Office against Trump despite being an ardent defender of him and his policies, has seen a slight rise in the polls over the summer. However, a Politico analysis found that his strength comes almost entirely from polls conducted over the internet.

Interestingly, Ramaswamy recently said he supports the decriminalization and eventual legalization of certain hard drugs, adding: “I’m not a war on drugs person.”

Finally, Ramaswamy also rapped to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair, so there’s that.

So leche, I’m gonna, I’m gonna defer to you on both these points. We have, we have wrapping presidential hopefuls, who were former biotech leaders. We have known anti-vaxxer, who is claiming the US has biological weapons in Ukraine and is flip-flopped on his stance on. Probably the touchy political Health Care issue in the country. What’s there to unpack?

Yeah, I mean we know that RFK junior is is known for making these colorful and questionable, you know, comments and claims you know, probably most popularly his anti-vax sentiments that he’s been pushing for a while now but as you mentioned you know he’s he’s considered a long shot. Candidate ramaswami is also been listed by political as a long shot candidate. I guess the only potential real influence RFK JR. Could have if in a situation would be a situation in which DeSantis does position him in a place of political power in the FDA, or The CDC, as he mentioned since DeSantis is considered probably the top Contender right now for Republicans next to Trump. But yeah, I know, we’ll have to see what happens there with that.

Mark was here. Take on where everything stands by everything. I mean everything.

Well, you know, you see Canada’s at the stage, you know, just trying to do anything to kind of differentiate themselves. So it’s really like hard to put stock in what we’re hearing specifically with promise Swami, you know, his position on drugs, you know, legalizing certain hard drugs, which you point out as a, you know, a break from the Republicans traditional War on Drugs stance. And, you know, DeSantis is comments about, you know, pointing RFK, you know, to a cabinet position, which, you know, could and dear certain

Portions of the population and put also alienate other portions of the population. So you know, it’s being early days. I’m going to punt on this one and see you know, once the dust clears a little bit in the 2024, campaign kicks off and Earnest. I think we’ll see a more much more clarified platform from from these candidates.

Yeah, I’ve two points to make here, one being that when we have our podcast and August of 2024, I I have high doubts that will be talking about either of these candidates and any sort of great detail. But I do think it’s interesting on both points with RFK Jr articulating. His flip-flopping stance on abortion and Grandma Swami breaking with the Republicans on the policy as it relates to hard drugs. It is interesting to see just the effects of the populism has had in terms of healthcare politics. It’s almost seeped into Health Care policy as well. I know that there’s been the impact on Economic policy and and how Trump kind of changed the Republican approach towards entitlements and things of that nature. But it seems like it’s seeping into how, you know, some of the louder, you could say, Fringe candidates on both sides of the aisle are also affecting the health care debate too. Whether that’s saying that we don’t want to have the War on Drugs from Republicans or even some Democrats coming out there and saying that they are, you know, probably more conservative than they, let on about the abortion issue. It’s just interesting to see that having some sort of effect if there’s anything to read from the situation other than the fact that Viva Grandma Swami is objectively, not a good rapper either.

Yes, I think we can all agree on that, but that’s a really good point. I mean, in terms of, you know, whoever the mainstream Republican nominee is, you know, picking and choosing you know whatever Rises to the surface of these two potential candidates campaigns, you know, interesting to look for.

A “girl dinner” can include anything from random snacks to bowls of pasta. The only requirement? That you’re making it for yourself. 

The TikTok trend, which went viral in July, has expanded to include more than simple showcases of personal girl dinners. It has opened up a complicated discussion around gender roles and disordered eating — and what exactly constitutes healthy nutrition.

In the girl dinner videos, women show how they eat when they’re home alone or without a partner or children to cook for. The dinners are almost always easy to make and they usually consist of a hodgepodge of different foods: a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

For some women, that means lining a plate with carrots, hummus, prosciutto and blocks of cheese. For others, that means whipping up a simple bowl of pasta covered in olive oil and parmesan cheese. Sometimes it’s just chicken nuggets, chocolate milk and a brownie.

girl dinner trend has ventured into darker territory, sparking conversations about disordered eating, calorie-counting and the constitution of a truly healthy meal. Some experts believe girl dinners could trigger individuals with eating disorders, given that these dinners often feature small plates and minimal portions.

“The ‘girl dinner’ hashtag has broadened out to encourage girls to pick at their dinners rather than sit down and enjoy a nutrient-dense, well-balanced meal,” warned Jenna Hope, a registered nutritionist, on Healthline.

TikTok users have similarly pushed back against girl dinner videos that encourage calorie-cutting or disordered eating, such as the ones that feature nothing more than a few pieces of lettuce and a handful of fries. In other videos, people offer up an empty plate as a girl dinner candidate.

TikTok has attempted to cut down on such content. When they type “eating disorder” or “thinspo” into the platform’s search bar, users are directed to a page with the message “you’re not alone.” It also provides a phone number to the National Alliance for Eating Disorders.

That, of course, doesn’t take away the risk that regular hashtags, such as #GirlDinners, will trigger some users. On TikTok’s safety page for eating disorders, the company urges people to speak with someone they trust, take a break from social media and attempt to better understand their triggers.

“Eating disorder behaviors… may also be triggered by the type of content you consume,” TikTok wrote. “Get to know what brings up uncomfortable or negative emotions about your appearance and/or body.”

Now lesser when we first talked about this story, obviously, I think that something that you and I are probably most familiar with being on tiktok pretty actively. It did start off as kind of like a highs and it funny that somebody’s having chicken nuggets and and hummus for dinner. But there is that kind of deeper layer as with a lot of these social media stories into was it really mean for users and that kind of trickle down effect.

Similarly, to a lot of these tiktok trends that we cover, I think it did start out as a bit of a joke and it has sort of expanded to become this bigger argument. That explores a lot of different areas like gender roles like women saying. Well, this is what dinner would look like. If we didn’t have to be the main caretakers in a family, and cooking for our husbands and kids and like, this is the reality of what a woman would eat on her own to people having arguments about, whether it’s pushing disordered eating content, or, you know, there’s some people who are saying that the jokes about oh my girl dinner is an empty plate or my girl dinner is like a few pieces of carrots and like a chicken nugget even though maybe to that poster, it’s a joke, there’s people saying that’s actually very harmful. It can kind of Trigger people who may suffer from eating disorders and then there’s people who are pushing back against those people and saying, hey, like this really isn’t about low calorie count. It was never about that. It’s really just about Saying like we like to snack and we like to eat random things and we’re not always going to be cooking full meals for ourselves the way that we would for our families. So you really will get a whole spectrum of opinions on girl dinner if you if you look into it on tiktok. So it’s really interesting to see what it’s sort of grown into.

Yeah. You talked about that kind of backlash to the backlash. Yeah. How it’s been talked about online. I do want to point out that one of our colleagues from campaign had pointed out that Popeyes has joined on because Brands always seek an opportunity to involve himself in the social media Trend. They had come out there with basically all of their sides listed as a special called girl dinner so you can’t get any other chicken but you can get their mashed potatoes, french fries, coleslaw, the whole bit, and it’s kind of leaning into what you talked about where it’s not saying, this is calorie cutting by any stretch, but it’s more of like this is the easy stuff that we’re trying to put on a plate. Mark, I want to bring you into the conversation just as it relates to Kaya that broader conversation with disordered eating and you know once again a social media Starting one place and kind of veering into another Direction.

Sure. And I was, you know, interested to read on Harper’s bizarre. As I was just researching a little bit of this that this is one of the many so called body, checking trends, that have really plagued social media sites for years. And just is now kind of coming to tiktok, you know, the magazine points out that back in 2013, there was the thigh gap Trend, a decade ago, Tumblr, and Instagram became notorious sites for a glamorizing anorexia and disordered eating. And as they point out, history, just kind of repeating itself with these old Trends, kind of resurfacing to a fresher and naive audience on tiktok so. But I think that, you know, their right, you know, to, you know, sort of take a close look at this girl dinner’s Trend and using their content. Moderation assertiveness to direct people to a phone number, you know, and then provide some support for people because I think as much as you point out some of these videos while they’re humorous, you know, we have to consider the fact that they’re using kind of Sly humor, to kind of mask their true intentions, which is, you know, could be some somebody kind of calling out for help or, or whatnot. And then, obviously, the, the other side of it is that these, these videos could trigger people and has to have to kind of take that seriously. So, yeah, that’s my two cents.

I definitely agree with that Mark and just want to point out as well that tiktok does have like a dedicated page about their policy on eating disorder and suicide and self-harm and those kinds of things. So, if you’re searching specifically, you know, terms related to eating disorders, you’re going to be automatically directed to a page where you’re giving a phone number and, you know, support but the girl dinner hashtag kind of falls into this gray Zone where it’s not really content that’s going to be banned or necessarily moderated on tiktok. And I think we’ve talked about this in the past as well.

A lot of these trends that fall into this gray Zone where tiktok really doesn’t have set, I guess monitoring or regulation in place for that those gray zone areas. So, right now, content that can trigger people, but isn’t blatantly espousing and eating disorder, it’s kind of getting away with, you know, being out there.

So Yeah it’s a tough spot for them to be in because I think they’re trying to do right by, you know, realizing the risks of having such a young audience and having such an algorithm based model that you have to step in there and have some sort of safeguards. But then again, how do you approach something like the Flying Fairy Trend? How do you approach something like girl dinners, which is, you know, extensively about one thing. But always carries the rest for something else and it may be easier for us, you know, I’m 28 years old. I know that when I see girl dinners, like, oh, that’s kind of we’re leaning into a joke and that’s what it is, but if you’re a 13 year old girl and you’re having issues with your weight, or it doesn’t even have to be at age. If you’ve ever suffered with anything related to eating disorders, that can always be a trigger and always something that will affect your self-esteem and mental health. So there’s a lot of factors to consider and that in addition to it just being, you know, yet again, another viral meme that goes crazy online, and has so many repercussions for users and Brands all across the board.

Yeah, right. And obviously, I’m not in the tiktok demographic, being a 50, something year old, Guy. But, um, you know tonally, it’s it’s very, it’s Harper’s again points. That’s very gen Z, you know, to kind of mask, you know, where you’re really saying and irony and slight humor. So, it’s something that they have to keep their eye on and something to be taking taking seriously. So hashtag, you know, body checking and thinspo. Or girl dinners will be things that I’m sure tiktok will be, you know, monitoring carefully.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a trained listener, call 988. Visit 988lifeline.org for crisis chat services or for more information.