Public Health

I chose to analyze public health. The intersection between public health and medical anthropology is medicine. Public health deals with the overall health of a person while medical anthropology deals with the study of diseases and illnesses in different cultures around the world. Both are extremely important and the public health of all leans on medical anthropology to study the illnesses and diseases around the world inside and out. Medical anthropology give doctors, nurses, surgeons, and all other health care providers the information needed about a certain illness or disease, especially when the certain disease or illness may be foreign to western civilization.  Medical anthropology helps health care providers point out, where it started, how it started, why it is continuing, and how to possibly treat it. A medical anthropologist knows how cultures function and their daily routines of living, which a doctor may not be familiar with. In order to diagnose and treat a patient, the health care provider must also understand the individual and where they come from along with the illness itself. That is where medical anthropology plays its biggest role in public health.I am studying to be a physician so it is important to know the role that a medical anthropologist will play in my career. Medical anthropologist give a social perspective that satisfies the people in the culture rather than just a medicalized perspective where treatment is solely based on medication and procedures.  For example, this week we discussed a village in Mexico that wanted funds for lights in a soccer field. Most people thought did not understand why money needed to be donated to light a soccer field and felt it was a waste. I probably would have thought the same thing, it would be much more useful being donated to a clinical setting until finishing the material. Come to find out, ultimately the money used for lighting the soccer field would promote more safety in the soccer field for the community to be more active, fit, and healthy which could prevent many more diseases and illnesses. Someone studying public health, such as myself would not look at the scenario in that light but a medical anthropologist would because they study cultures and what they like and do not like and what promotes health and stops illnesses and diseases.

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  1. Kelly Delorme says:

    Moriah, I agree with you when you say that medical anthropology intersects with medicine and that having some sort of background in medical anthropology would be really beneficial as a doctor. I think that medical anthropology can also contribute to public health when it comes to policy making. A medical anthropological viewpoint would assist in developing policies that would reflect cultural values, as well as, biomedical technology and practices. This would result in patients trusting health care providers more and I think it would help descrease patient non-compliance. Often patients don’t comply with treatment programs, and usually this is due to cultural differences, so developing policies and treamtment programs with a cultural consideration would help a lot. I also think that medical anthropology would contribute to public health because it would allow better doctor-patient relationships. Medical anthropology would open the door to more meaningful conversations that would allow the doctor to recognize any disparities they may have, and in turn, the doctor would be able to give better explanations and treatment programs. The doctor-patient relationship would also improve because the patient would feel more open to discussing their cultural background and any contributing factors to their illness, which would allow them to feel more comfortable that the doctor made the correct diagnosis and considered all factors before beginning treatment.

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