Clinical Medical Anthropology

I chose clinical medical anthropology as my area to investigate further. I chose this because I am considering going to medical school after graduation. If I do choose to enter the field of medicine I think a good foundation in clinical medical anthropology would help me to be a better physician.

I think taking an anthropological approach in a hospital setting when surrounded by doctors and nurses is very important. The doctors and nurses hired by the hospital were only trained to heal with science and facts of the biomedicine world. Their training does not include cultural complexities we are facing in today’s world now that globalization is happening more rapidly. In the article this week, Anthropology in the Clinic, it states that cultural processes include the embodiment of meaning in psychophysiological reaction, the development of interpersonal attachments, the serious performance of religious practices, common-sense interpretation, and the cultivation of collective and individual identity. Doctors and nurses are unequipped with the knowledge of each culture and how a patient will react to each treatment option provided to them. If an anthologist gets involved then the different situations are better understood and a patient can receive the best treatment for their individual needs related to their culture and self-identity. Also I think it is important for NGOs and other aid that may be provided to be looked at with an anthropological approach. Like in the lecture when bed nets were given to protect people from disease carrying mosquitoes that could infect people with malaria. The providers of the bed nets did not understand why the intended users where not using them or were doing so incorrectly. When they took a step back and view the situation as an anthropologist then they got their answer and with an answer come an understanding in how to fix the situation. With a fix like the bed nets more lives can be saved. There are many more examples and more many more reasons why one should take an anthropological approach in a hospital setting or when talking with NGOs.

1 thought on “Clinical Medical Anthropology

  1. I also chose the topic of clinical medical anthropology because I am also thinking of applying to medical school. I agree with all the comments you made in your post. Mine was very similar so I don’t know what I would add. I agree that doctors and nurses aren’t trained to know different cultural backgrounds. They are only trained to heal based on the biomedical world. I agree that medical anthropologists help patients and doctors to better understand situations when different cultures are involved. The bed nets example is a great example of why a medical anthropologist helps to explain certain cultures and situations. Why wouldn’t people accept bed nets to help prevent the spread of malaria? A medical anthropologist helped to explain why. This way people can take a different approach to help save more lives.

    This class has helped me to think differently when it comes to certain situations. It never occurred to me before that there are some good reasons why people from different cultures would refuse medical treatment. I saw that in the case scenario of the graduate student with the mental health disorder. Each culture views things differently and anthropologists can help doctors to explain things better so there isn’t any misunderstanding. I hope to have this approach when I become a doctor. Not everyone has the same culture so therefore they might have different views when it comes to healing.

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