Clinical Medical Anthropology

I chose this intersection because it relates most closely to my future career of choice. If I end up going to medical school instead of graduate school, it would be with the intent that I would pursue becoming a Radiologist. Clinical Medical Anthropology is the most relevant to this choice, as there are only a few rare cases in which radiology in not performed in a clinical setting.

If I was working for a provider who was not an anthropologist, I believe that an anthropologist’s perspective would be useful in terms of cultural competency. Assuming that I would be in the U.S. (as I don’t have any particular plans to leave the country after finishing school), I would say that an understanding of anthropology would be most important for improving cultural sensitivity in the clinician’s setting, and not for improving the patient’s understanding of their illness and the need to follow through with the clinician’s advice. This is not to say that an understanding of anthropology would not help the clinician and patient better understand each other, just that cultural sensitivity would be more relevant in the U.S. (in my opinion) However there are some cases where an anthropological view is not always helpful in a clinical setting, especially when the one attempts to simplify the anthropological view to make basic assumption.  An example of this is present in the Kleinman-Benson article (The scenario is fictional but supposedly based on actual clinical encounters). In it, a Mexican man has not been bringing his child in for treatment as regularly as the doctors would like. The clinicians assume that it is due to some problem understanding the severity of the illness and the urgency of the treatment related to his cultural understanding of illness. In actuality however, the man has not been bringing his child in because his job prevents him from doing so regularly. In this example, an anthropological is incorrectly used and an assumption is made that later turns out to be false. This highlights the need for a proper understanding of anthropology, and the problems anthropology can cause if utilized poorly.

http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us12/files/2012/06/6.-Kleinman-and-Benson-Anthropology-in-the-clinic.pdf

http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/19802902517.html;jsessionid=15C048C05EAF9977E2C78156B7ECACD3?freeview=true

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0277953690900798

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