Community Health

The community health intersection applies to my future goals because my ultimate plan is to become a veterinarian.  By becoming a veterinarian I will be helping the animal community.  Although this may not be the community that most anthropologists would concern themselves with, the animal community means the world to me and I plan on devoting my life to their health.  If I were working in a veterinary clinic with a veterinarian who was unaware of certain customs that a household may have, I would point out to him that the reason his patient (the cat/dog) may not be feeling well could have something to do with what the animal’s owners did in their household.  For example, if a certain religion believed that grapes were a cure-all and therefore offered it to their sick dog but did not mention this to the veterinarian because they did not realize grapes are dangerous for dogs, I would hope that the veterinarian knew this religion and was able to help the dog despite the owners’ silence.  Even though a religion based on grapes may be a stretch, this example does point out why it is so important for doctors (even veterinarians) to understand the culture and beliefs of their patients.  Just as it was emphasized in the article, “Why Anthropologists Join an Ebola Outbreak Team[1]” doctors must be aware that some of their behavior may be misconstrued as inappropriate by their clients and must try to educate themselves on as many cultures as possible.  Aside from the possible misunderstandings that a doctor may have with his patients, an anthropological understanding of a field can also provide insight into new treatments.  Kansas State University has recently been studying veterinary medicine from an anthropological approach and has found how some native plants in Southern Africa are being used to keep the animals healthy there[2].  This new finding provides even more reasons to continue studying the medical practices of countries other than the United States.

 

[1] Linda Poon, “Why Anthropologists Join An Ebola Outbreak Team,” NPR.org, accessed August 7, 2014, http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/02/298369305/why-anthropologists-join-an-ebola-outbreak-team.

[2] Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, “Going Global,” Kansas State University, accessed August 7, 2014, http://www.k-state.edu/media/webzine/international/stories/vetmed.html.

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