I chose public health because it is what I want to do with my life. I have always been driven to work in some area where I could help people, and for the longest time I thought that was by becoming a doctor. That was until I read the biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, the same that the 60 Minute video was about. I read his story, Mountains Beyond Mountains, around my Freshman year of college, ever since then I’ve know that I want to work in public health. I am looking to go to graduate school and get my Masters in Public Health, and I would eventually like to set up clinics that can provide medical care to those who may not regularly have access to it. I have thought about working over seas, and I am not necessarily opposed to it, but I also know that there is just as much need for better access to health care right here in the United States. There is some need in a lot of inner city areas here, like Detroit for instance, but I also know from personal experience that there is just as much need for better access to health care in a lot of rural areas. The closest hospital to my home town was 30 minutes away, and if it was anything serious or urgent you’d have to go to a hospital that was almost an hour away, so there is definitely need there.
I can definitely imagine working in that kind of situation. I’m originally from Ohio, and my town sits right in the center of Ohio’s “Amish Country”. There are a lot of doctors, who are definitely not anthropologists, who work with the Amish but don’t really understand them too much. An Anthropological approach would be very useful in the area of public health because it would allow doctors like these to understand the cultures of the patients that they are working with and better provide care for them. Much like Paul Farmer looked at the culture of the Haitians and made a system of care that works with their culture, anthropologists working in public health could do the same for cultures around the world.
“Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder, 2009