Clinical Medical Anthropology

I have decided to focus on clinical medical anthropology because of the current stance in medicine. In the past few years there has been a new awareness to the importance of culture in caring for patients. As we read a few weeks ago, new groups of people and cultural leaders such as Shaman are being introduced to the biomedical aspect of medicine and healing. This new awareness does go both ways because biomedical doctors are also becoming more attuned to cultural needs of their patients. There is a case example in the article, “Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It” regarding a poor Mexican-American man who did not take his HIV-positive son to routine medical procedures. Biomedical doctors believed it was because the man did not have sufficient medical knowledge and did not understand the importance of the visits. An anthropologist looked into the situation and found that the man was highly knowledgeable in HIV treatment and care but he did not have the financial means nor the time to take his son for the medical treatments. This example just proves the need to get to know a patient’s full history and circumstance as an anthropologist, as well as a medical doctor. Paying greater attention to the patient’s cultural life will help medical professionals provide complete health care. This is how I want to approach my medical future. As a doctor I am hoping to help my patients by getting to know them and their beliefs, and not simply prescribing medication. If I work alongside a biomedical doctor or other medical professional with limited or no anthropological background, I think it will be important to provide them with examples like the Mexican-American man and his son. I have found that people who hear of cases like that are far more likely to change their position about medical care. It is a similar idea to that of the California doctors who were changed by the presence and activities of Shamans in their hospitals.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply