Public Health and Medical Anthropology

The intersection that I chose is Public Health and Medical Anthropology.  The reason that I chose this intersection is because I am currently working on my Masters in Public
Health as I finish my undergraduate degree.  Before taking this course I had no idea how similar the two fields are to each other or how much they can influence one another.  This became clear to me during some of the activity and reflection assignments when I was able to draw from material that was presented in my Public Health courses to help answer my posts.  Public health works with the mindset of
preventative medicine and medical anthropology can help with in that effort by
providing examples of methods that have or have not worked in the past.  Medical anthropology can also help, as stated in this week’s lecture, by providing data on populations that can be used to formulate health policies and strategies.

Taking an anthropological view as a heath care provider in the field of public health can play a role in helping make a number of decisions.  As mentioned above and discussed in this week’s lecture, medical anthropology plays an important part within health care.  A public health provider working on a health policy or strategy can look back on anthropological studies on the target area.  This can allow the public health provider to see if there is a factor that can prevent the plan from being successful, such as with controversial topics like sex education in India.  A good example of this of a
failed public health plan is the bed nets for residents in malaria infected regions.  Having better data prior to the plan being put into place could have saved billions in donated dollars that could have go to a more effective effort to help stop the spread of the
disease.

1 thought on “Public Health and Medical Anthropology

  1. I really liked your post, as I am also interested in studying public health eventually and would also like to get my masters in it. I also thought that there were a lot of similiarites between the two fields as the course progressed. I think that you pretty much hit all of the main areas in your post. Medical Anthropology can be a great help in the medical field as a whole but especially in Public Health. Public health works on a much more personal level than a lot of other branches of health care, so it really helps to have an idea of the culture that your patients are coming from and understanding their beliefs and customs.

    I think that this class will definitely be a positive impact with my experience and interaction with healthcare and health care providers. This class has defintiely made me think about how I view our own health customs and has made me look at western customs as objectively as I do other health cares, like spiritual healers, and etc. It has also changed the way that I would look at disease and illness and the patients that seek out help. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultural aspects could have a huge effect on how someone persieves care.

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