Rowing Coach

coachingHello class, my name is Taz and I am the instructor for ANP 204. I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Medical Anthropology Program at Michigan State University and hope to be done with my degree next year. I became interested in medical anthropology years ago when I was a pre-med student at UC Irvine. I thought it would be fun to learn about medicine in a different way so I signed up for my first introductory medical anthropology course (just like this one!) By the end of the semester, I was hooked – I never realized how many different ways to understand health, each equally important in understanding why people become ill and how we can help them. I was also fascinated by all the ethical questions that go along with treating illness – everything from why don’t we have universal healthcare to whether or not it’s ethical to sell our own organs (topics that we will be covering in this course as well!)

Although I enjoy many aspects of medical anthropology, I am particularly interested in looking at pharmaceutical culture in the United States. Taking pills is becoming a normal part of modern American life. Think about your grandparents, parents, friends and even yourself – how many prescription drugs do they take every day? Why do you think that is – advancements in medical technology? Our desire for instant solutions? Persuasive pharmaceutical advertising? Probably all of the above and much, much more.  I consider all of these factors in my dissertation research on Adderall use among U.S. college students. In particular I am interested in how the popularity of ADHD drugs are influencing expectations of mental health and academic performance. Statistics suggest that there are at least a handful of you reading this that know what I am talking about J I may share a bit more about my research throughout the course, but if you are interested in learning more, or sharing your own thoughts with me, or even getting involved in my project, I would love to hear from you!

Believe it or not, instructors are real people too and have lives outside of the classroom. For example, I bet you didn’t know that I coach an adult rowing program in the summer time (hence the picture with the megaphone above). It is a great excuse to get out of my office and onto the water in the evenings. I also used to be an avid soccer player but after I tore my ACL last year, I have taken an indefinite hiatus. That was actually my first time having surgery and I treated the entire experience like a medical anthropologist – analyzing every exchange with my doctor, physical therapist and insurance company. If you have ever dealt with a serious injury or illness, you can probably relate! In fact, you will have the opportunity to analyze your own medical experiences in a new way all semester. Anyhow, I am really looking forward to getting each of you and finding out more about what got you interested in this course!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Amber Hauck says:

    I love how being an anthropologist makes you look at everyday (although surgery is definitely NOT an everyday thing) in a whole nother light! Another anthropology student in my class last year and I had the conversation of the fact that no one else seems to understand us when we talk about Cahokia or cultural interactions, but I find it fascinating! 🙂

  2. Alexis Snyder says:

    The way you describe medical anthropology makes me really excited for this course. Anyone wanting to pursue healthcare will most likely have to deal with any of those topics you listed, and I can’t wait to explore them further. Also, fellow avid soccer player over here! Hearing about your ACL breaks my heart, that is one of my worst fears. Hopefully you can get back to playing soon.

  3. Molly DeMarr says:

    Hey Taz,

    I’ve heard great things about this course and am really excited to get started. I too am a soccer player so I’m intrigued! If it’s not too sore of a subject I’m wondering how you tore it/what position you play etc. I’ve seen a few awful tears in my life on the field and I can’t even imagine! I’m also curious how you got into rowing and coaching it. I grew up in the Flint area and needless to say NO ONE was trying to row down the Flint river haha

    • Taz Karim says:

      Hi Molly – Glad to hear you are excited to get started! It is actually a decent story: Indoor co-ed at LISA. I was playing forward and the opposing goalie was 6’2, maybe 280lbs. I got in the box, tapped it in the goal. He totally missed it and full on tackled me. My foot was planted (big mistake) and he hit the outside of my thigh and dislocated my patella with his full body weight. Pop, pop – worst pain of my life. My coach thought I could walk it off but after popping my knee cap back in place I ended up going to Sparrow. Although I am still trying to get my quad strength back, I will always be too freaked out to play indoor again. But next year I will be 30 so I can play with the slower ladies in town 🙂

Leave a Reply