I chose clinical medical anthropology because I want to do clinical work. Currently I am thinking about being a clinical social worker so that I can work in psych wards. I am interested in doing in-patient care. I want to help people, and let them feel understood. I know people with mental illnesses from different backgrounds and sometimes there are cultural differences. Taz pointed out in the lecture that clinical work emphasize the cultural contrast. I think that being a clinical medical anthropologists could be very helpful to have in a psych wards. They can help explain the circumstances to patients and their families so they feel understood.
Here is an example of what an anthropologist would do for a doctor and patient. There is a family who just moved here from India. They are bringing in their sixteen year old daughter for a check-up. During the appointment the daughter asks about going on birth control medications. This puts the mother into a frenzy. The daughter tries to calm her and says it is to help her with her period. She wants to have a shorter cycle with less flow and most of her new friends are on the pill anyways. The doctor then starts asking questions about her period and if she is on any other medications. The mother is very upset that the doctor would even consider giving her daughter a prescription. The doctor then asks if she could speak alone with the daughter. At this point the mother is ready to take her daughter and leave. The doctor then calls in a medical anthropologist to help ease the situation. The clinical anthropologist then comes in and has everyone sit down. She explains that it is part of the doctors’ job to inform the family about medications, but they do not have to take them. Also when the doctor asked to speak to the daughter alone it was to try to make her feel more comfortable talking about birth control and sex. She just wanted to get all the accurate information and could tell the mother’s emotions were a distraction. In India there is a stigma with birth control and sex education that is different than the United States. The clinical anthropologists just tried to explain the new culture to the family.
Karim, Taz. Lecture 6.1 Applied Medical Anthropology. Video. , 2014.