I think that clinical medical anthropology is essential for helping patients and professional staff understand each other. The fact that clinical anthropologist act as a cultural mediator not as a whole but from an individual perspective makes treatment much more effective. I feel that understanding a person’s personal experience with an illness is very important in providing a treatment regimen that will be the most effective. Of course there are downfalls, such as the tendency to stereotype, but I feel that overall the methods used are necessary to understand cultural beliefs and their impact on medicine.
As a clinician, having a cultural understanding would allow for better communication to the patient. I think some of the best examples of this were made in the Tribal Jazzman Scholar video. The examples that he used are great ways to show that knowing more about the culture in an area can make an impact on the approach used to fix an outstanding problem. Another great example is talked about in the lecture. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has had a huge cultural impact. If epidemiologists and doctors could find a better way to communicate to women that breastfeeding is hurting their children and that by not breastfeeding they are being a good parent things may be drastically different. They also need to find a way for them to provide nutrition for their children that is safer for them.
I remember watching a documentary that talked about how they were able to communicate to different tribes in Africa the importance of family planning. In these tribes the girls are married very young and the problem is that they become pregnant at too young of an age and it causes major health issues. The clinicians and anthropologists were able to talk to the men and women about birth control. The men like the idea because it kept their wives healthy and also allowed them to be able to control the sizes of families so they were better able to support them. This is just an example of how with the right communication, change can be possible.