The area of applied medical anthropology that I chose to investigate this week is public health. This intersection stood out to me the most because this is an aspect of medical anthropology that interests me as a possible career path. I think we have all, at some point in our lives dealt with someone in this field. According to MedicineNet, public health can be defined as the approach to medicine that is concerned with the health of the community as a whole. Public health is community health. It has been said that: “Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time.” This interests me because I am concerned with the health of the fellow people that are involved in my life. The public health field of anthropology may look at health issues in a public viewpoint, such as a certain disease in a certain area in the world. I am aspiring to go to med-school and knowing and understanding the aspects of public health are very important to know medicine as a whole. I have also gained interest in the Public Health program that is offered as a graduate degree here at MSU.
If I were to be working for a provider in the area of healthcare that was not an anthropologist, I believe that we could all coincide with ideas that would better the field of healthcare. To provide an example, the article by Kleinman and Benson titled Anthropology and The Clinic really explains in detail the importance of a medical anthropologist in a clinical setting. Generally, physicians view the healthcare process in a medical standpoint, as they should. A medical anthropologist at a physician’s side could help the physician understand the cultural aspects of medicine, which essentially could better help the patient recover with the collaboration of minds. Cultural differences can greatly effect the treatment of people around the world. I would help the physician understand that there are many different aspects and sub-categories to culture, which would essentially help him/her treat the patient from this standpoint. With all of this being said, I think it is absolutely vital for a medical anthropologist to work hand in hand with a doctor in order for the doctor to be able to understand these variables, especially in the field of public help, which would be a community as a whole.
Keleinman, Arthur, and Peter Benson. “Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It.” PLoS Medicine. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us15/files/2012/06/6.-Kleinman-and-Benson-Anthropology-in-the-clinic.pdf.
MedicineNet. “Definition of Public Health.” http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5120