Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Nov 29, 2023

This week’s guest is the incredible Dr. Emily Smith, who you might also know as the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist on social media. Emily is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Surgery at Duke University and at the Duke Global Health Institute.

With a background that includes four years at Baylor University, a PhD in Epidemiology from UNC Chapel Hill, and an MSPH from the University of South Carolina, Emily brings a wealth of expertise to the table. Beyond her professional achievements, Emily is a devoted wife of 20 years, the mom of two incredible children, and shares her home with a sweet golden retriever and golden doodle puppy.

I am so excited to dive into Emily’s story and the heart behind her new book, The Science of The Good Samaritan: Thinking Bigger About Loving Our Neighbors, with you today. Stay tuned for a powerful conversation that challenges, uplifts, and encourages a deeper understanding of what it means to truly love our neighbors.

6:04 – Emily 101

  • Born in eastern New Mexico
  • Moving around, medical school + research at Duke
  • A passion for global engagement + public health

14:07 – The Good Samaritan

  • Two questions from the Good Samaritan story
  • The Science of the Good Samaritan
  • Recognizing and addressing structural injustices

20:35 – Becoming Authentic Neighbors

  • Moving beyond token gestures of kindness
  • Recognizing the historical context of poverty and inequality 
  • Shifting from shame to understanding
  • Emily finding her calling

29:49 – The Birth of "Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist"

  • Responding to the pandemic
  • Navigating rapid online growth + hostility from strangers
  • Finding courage in the face of adversity
  • Discovering a like-minded community 

44:44 – The Work of Neighborly Love

  • Taking a deeper look at “Science of The Good Samaritan”
  • Recognizing injustice + entering the conversation like a good neighbor 
  • Heart-centered faith
  • A call for courage


“Epidemiology is the science of the Good Samaritan... it's a science of quantifying who is most at need so that we don't walk by.”

“It feels very natural as a person of a Christian faith to do the type of science that I do, because it's quantifying those that are typically overlooked.”

“When we consider health for our children, we want them to be fully healthy, thriving, happy, live out their full potential. So why don't we want that for the rest of the world?”

Learn more about Dr. Emily Smith: