I think the ecological approach will be helpful to understand because it explains how diseases develop and spread throughout a certain population. With this knowledge doctors can have a better understanding of what can potentially cause certain diseases and apply preventative measures to both prevent the disease from spreading and potentially from contracting the disease in the first place.
The difference between a disease and an illness is that a disease is a condition that needs to be cured for example you have strep throat you need antibiotics for. An illness on the other hand are the feelings someone experiences when they have a disease and they are mainly the reasons why someone would seek medical attention in the first place. Staying with my strep throat example you notice your throat is really sore so you make an appointment with your doctor to have it examined. In most scenarios it is often a disease that causes an illness; but there are often other times when you can have a disease without an illness (ex. not know you have a disease until you get a routine checkup) or the more controversial case where you have an illness but not a disease (for example a hypochondriac who believes they have an disease when they do not). This was not always obvious to me but I have a few family members in various medical fields who have explained differences to me in the past because I used to use these two words interchangeably.
The culture Miner is talking about in the Nacirema article is the american culture. I knew he was describing americans when he said a cultural hero of ours was known for chopping down a cherry tree. The first ritual that I noticed was the mouth ritual similar to brushing our teeth/going to the dentist. Having nice teeth is important in Nacierma culture because it improves mouth health or “expels and makes you more appealing to the general public. Another ritual was similar to our version of shaving which also makes Nacierma people appear more outwardly appealing to other members.