Ethnomedical Approach?

The ethnomedical approach examine medical systems to understand illness in different societies. The ethnomedical approach will benefit me because the United States is a diverse country; therefore when I become a physician I will be able to relate and understand patients from different cultural backgrounds. The ethnomedical approach reveals protocols that different societies use for seeking treatment and identifying illness.

My definition of disease is a condition that causes a change in physical function or infection diagnosed by a physician. Illness is human experiences and interpretations of the changes in their health. I became confused while determining the definition of illness because sometimes a person’s symptoms are not classified as a disease. After viewing the lecture again, I understood why disease and illness are two subcategories of sickness.

I first realized that Miner was describing the American culture when he stated that the culture had a highly developed market economy and much of the people’s time was devoted to economic pursuits. Miner stated that the people seek out the holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. The ritual symbolizes Americans that go to the dentist at least once a year to get their teeth cleaned to prevent diseases and tooth decay. Miner described a common problem among Americans, which is tooth decay or cavities. Minor stated that the medicine men have temples called latipso ceremonies that treat very sick people. Minor was symbolizing American hospitals. He described how some Americans fear the hospital, when he stated that some people believe that the temple is where people go to die. Minor described the American health care system when he stated that guardians of the temple will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift. American hospitals require health insurance or a patient to agree to pay a bill later.

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  1. Zack says:

    I believe that this is a great way of thinking, with the large amount of culture mixing in the modern world it is very necessary to understand and able to discuss the process other cultures use for completing medical procedures. Not only at the benefit and comfort of your culturally diverse patients, but sometimes for the benefit of your practice. Having the experience with multi-cultured research would result in a broader knowledge of possible new technologies. Knowledge is power, and with the amount of medical advancements you would want the largest variety of education you can collect. I was actually able to figure out that Miner was talking about America fairly quickly, it’s funny though that the dental reference is where a lot of people caught on right away. Its really one of the few rituals that most people follow, even though this article was written a while ago it was something that we can relate to still in this day. Talking about today, the healthcare system is a big topic of debate with the protest that only the supposed “rich” can only get treatment for their illnesses. As an aspiring dentist I definitely can understand that point of people being afraid to go the hospital of receive medical care because they feel the hospital represents death.

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