Hello 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 there were 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 🙂 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, 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!