I chose the area of Public Health because it is a field I am very interested in. After my undergraduate studies, I plan to pursue a Masters in Public Health and a career in the public health sector. According to the World Health Organization, public health “refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.” As a public health professional, I could work in a wide variety of positions, from making changes in public policies to working on programs promoting health.
Working with a doctor, it would be very helpful to use an anthropological viewpoint. In the article written by Kleinman and Benson, it was very interested when they talked about cultural assumptions. Many times, we think we are being sensitive to cultures by thinking that a Chinese person believes this or a Muslim person believes this, but we do not think of the patient as an individual. The case scenario about the Mexican man was very helpful was very important. The doctor assumed that he was not taking his son in for regular treatments because he had a different cultural understanding, but when a medical anthropologist came in, it was found out that it was just due to socioeconomic issues. On the opposite spectrum, the Chinese woman from the same article did not want to continue with treatment because of her cultural understanding. Taking an anthropological view is important because you can understand the patient’s culture and see whether that plays a role in their health. Kleinman and Benson’s concept of ethnography would be very helpful in a clinical setting. A medical anthropologist could evaluate the patient as an individual instead of making broad assumptions in order to make sure the patient got the best care possible. A medical anthropologist makes sure that the treatment is sensitive to the culture of the patient, but doesn’t just define the patient by their culture.
“Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health,” World Health Organization, accessed August 7, 2014, http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story076/en/