Global Health and Medical Anthropology

I chose global health and medical anthropology after finding the videos from this week’s materials incredibly interesting. After watching the Tribal Jazzman Scholar’s YouTube clip I began to understand more about medicine and western approaches in foreign regions of the world. With this, I now see how medical anthropology can and should be applied when crossing boundaries with other nations with different needs, wants, and cultural beliefs. In the clip it was clear that individuals from the western world were attempting to help with their scientific biomedical ways but sometimes this wasn’t always beneficial to the group of people in need. This intersection really doesn’t apply to my future at all but it was indeed something I had never really put too much thought into. I feel that the United States is constantly stepping over borders attempting to help with disease and rebuild nations or areas in times of need and struggle but I think that when it comes to healthcare, those giving the care should consult a medical anthropologist or review the ideas of it before implementing facilities, programs, healthcare. For instance, if I was working with a certified clinician and we were to travel to another country to provide some sort of aid, I think that we should all be reminded of the difference between a third world country and our country. We must note that our culture and practices may be polar opposites and it may be beneficial to learn parts of the culture and the spiritual healing practices that they may use. As the YouTube clip proved, our ideas may seem like they may be a positive thing, but in order to really know if they will be beneficial overall is to get the entire perspective of the culture. In the clip about Paul Farmer in Haiti, he spent his childhood aiding those in Haiti. He experienced their culture firsthand. Personally I think he met success in Haiti because the Haitian culture was a part of him.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Moe Aqel says:

    Hey Molly, I chose the global health perspective as well. It is really crazy how different we are about our medicine here in the United States compared to the rest of the world including third world countries. I am quite happy that you see that as well. Anthropologists, as well as many others including ourselves, are very important in educating people across the world and applying our medical techniques. I agree with you as well that when anthropologists try to help people in different areas around the world, it is not always beneficial because of the lack of motivation and acceptance. But I also believe that sometimes it just will not work because of the cultural difference and that can be a major set back. That is why that it is very important, as you stated that some people traveling overseas for help and aid, must learn just a little bit and get accustomed to the cultures and traditions to where they are going just so they can avoid having that issue as what can set them back and fail in their attempt. If we control this area, then we can focus on other ways to eliminate ways for failure and increase the actual chance of helping them out.

  2. Dan Wright says:

    Hi, I also chose the intersection of global health and medical anthropology. Like you, I found the YouTube clip very eye opening. He gave concise definitions and helpful examples that made me think of this intersection in a clearer way. I think the United States is the country most in need of medical anthropology. I included in my post that they often “throw money at problems” rather than going through the details of understanding the culture they are trying to help. While money may seem like the ‘cure all’ solution in American culture, it is sometimes much less helpful in others. This is when an anthropologist comes in handy. If they have studied the society, their culture, beliefs and practices by perhaps even living with them, then they will understand why a treatment is ineffective. As you said, “our cultures and practices may be polar opposites”. I also really enjoyed the clip on Paul Farmer and his success in Haiti. I have read some articles by him before, but it was interesting to put a face to the words. He is a great example of this intersection as he personally combines expertise in the field of medicine as well as anthropology.

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