Public Health

Public health is an area of applied medical anthropology that I find particularly interesting.  Public health promotes the health of individuals in all areas of the world in attempt to protect populations.  Health is promoted by prevention, treatment, research, detection and control.  Public health works to save lives, improve the current quality of life and reduce human suffering.   I find public health to be unique because it combines the effort and work of so many professionals such as anthropologists, doctors, dentists, government officials, etc.  Within public health, anthropologists can work in a wide variety of fields.  They can work in reproductive health, parasitic diseases, immunization services and tuberculosis elimination to name a few.  Personally, I find public health intriguing because I want to be a dentist.  Healthcare providers must understand public health and pay attention to its transformations and findings.

Taking an anthropological view as a doctor can be extremely helpful in the proper diagnosis and treatment of patients.  With the help of an anthropologist a doctor will better understand the cultural factors that are important in treating patients.  It is difficult to develop cultural expertise, especially as a medical professional. Anthropologist dedicate their lives to studying cultures an their beliefs.  In medicine, culture is usually equated with race and ethnicity, but culture is so much more than this.  The article “Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It” discusses how doctors tend to stereotype all individuals of a certain race or ethnicity as having the same beliefs.  This is far from the truth.  Within each race or ethnicity there are a variety of different beliefs and traits.  By taking an anthropological view you allow yourself to view the patient as more than black, white, hispanic, native american or asian.  Culture is ever changing and it is the responsibility of a anthropologist to understand and share these changes with others.

“What Is Public Health?” American Public Health Association. Accessed August 8, 2014. http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/C57478B8-8682-4347-8DDF-A1E24E82B919/0/what_is_PH_May1_Final.pdf.

“What Is Public Health?” CDC Foundation. Accessed August 8, 2014. http://www.cdcfoundation.org/content/what-public-health.

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