My personal interests regarding my future career rely heavily on nursing. I see myself in the ER where you have to be quick on your feet and a good problem solver. If I were to choose an area in Medical Anthropology it would be Epidemiology. I feel studying an epidemic, the source and cause, would be my calling if I were to pursue Medical Anthropology. I would like the problem solving that comes with it and I would really love traveling the world in search of the sources of the epidemics and working in the hospitals to find ways to better the people’s lives.
Taking an anthropological approach to epidemiology is absolutely essential. Not only is it important to problem solve how to treat the epidemic, it is also just as important to find out what the actual source is, why it is, and where it comes from. I believe the problem solving regarding the source comes solely from an anthropological approach. Paul Farmer’s work is an excellent example to what I am talking about. He is a medical doctor, but he solved an epidemic problem in Haiti with a focus on his Medical Anthropology background. He took the source of the epidemic and problem solved. Doctors coming in and treating the sick in Haiti only went so far, the doctors can’t stay forever, but when Paul Farmer and some co-founders created Partners in Health, they created it with one huge difference, self sufficiency. I don’t think a regular epidemiologist could have figured this out themselves, it took the approach of a Medical Anthropologist to look at the source of the problem and figure that it was best to give these people self sufficiency, and it worked. We need to enable people with knowledge, yes, but just like the TribalJazzman video, we need to keep in mind that other anthropological factors play a huge role in healthcare, a factor such as culture. The culture required the tribes to drink the water even though it was contaminated because it was required that they drink the water as the Earth gave it to them. But it gets even deeper than that. For example, the article from Kleinman/Benson explains that it’s not only a culture perspective that we need to understand, but rather we need to ask what matters most to the patient, in regards to what they want and expect out of their healthcare. Overall I feel an anthropological approach is necessary to ensure a complete and fully successful outcome for epidemiology.