Week 1 Reflection: Applied approach

In my opinion, I particularly feel that the applied approach is the most helpful in understanding the field of health sciences. This approach emphasizes the importance of qualitative measure, which is critical in the field of health. A science dominated field that heavily relies on quantitative data, people don’t realize the necessity of qualitative information. Using this method you’re gaining insight about human behavior and characteristics to help cater towards a healthier or improved lifestyle for not only the individual, but the society as well.

The distinction between disease and illness is that disease is the pathological state of the organism due to infection. Where as illness includes disease distinction, feelings of malice, pain, or disorientation that may accompany a disease. This was obvious to me while watching this lecture because I had already learned this prior to another class I took. However, I think it’s important that this distinction is stressed otherwise since a lot of people still are not aware today.

The culture that Miner discuses in his article is the American culture. The author characterizes people of Nacerima as American citizens. Initially, I thought this was a North India tribe when they discuss Canadian Cree and the Yaqui. But immediately, the paragraph after is when you start to realize it’s not even characterizing indigenous people like when Miner goes onto say statements like “the focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people.”

One ritual that stood out to me was the characterization on the use of over the counter medicines. Describing it as a chest filled with “charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live” or that once it’s been used “it’s not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charm- box of the household shrine.” Basically miner was trying to illustrate that for several Nacermias, or Americans in this case, over the counter medicines are accessible, relied upon, and effective in treating illnesses. It allows the patient to care for themselves saving time to not only go to the doctor but saving time for the doctor to focus on more serious health issues.

Another ritual that also stood out to me in the Nacermia culture was the use of “latipso”, also known as a hospital, and how it’s usually readily available in every community. In the American culture, the availability of a hospital is fortunately abundant making it very rare to treat people in places like their home. In addition, Miner does great job of characterizing the American health care system as he figuratively describes it as a process that the procedure will only go through if you have money or no. There isn’t heath care for everyone despite all these numerous health establishments.


2 thoughts on “Week 1 Reflection: Applied approach

  1. Hey Mariam, interesting choices. I don’t think much of the first cultural reality has changed. People still hoarde and use a whole range of products. The “medicine” cabinet in most houses is still packed. I think however that the culture has become more concetrated on beauty products than on products for the purpose of preserving or improving health, even though some aspects of beauty are tied to our understanding of health. I also think that people are a little more focused on whether or not remedies work than they were in the past. I think we live in a culture with more of an attachment to science and proven effectiveness, even if it is not as strong as it could be.

    I largely agree with you on the second point. The situation is quite similar today with respect to payment for treatment or even admittance. Nonetheless, I think there have been important strides made in the last 50 years to increase access to treatment and keep ability to pay from being a factor in treatment. From various universal health insurance schemes that have popped up all over the world and changes in legal obligations to treat, the world is not the same. There is of course, however, still much to be done.

  2. Hi Mariam,
    Although I chose a different approach in my original post, I feel that your reasoning behind why you chose the applied approach makes a lot of sense. Quantitative data is a very important necessity in the science field and people do tend overlook this and make judgments based off of data that may not be entirely accurate. I completely agree that by using this method you can potentially gain insight about an individual’s behavior and personality, which can lead to providing a better overall lifestyle for society.
    In your discussion of the article written by Miner, I had similar thoughts initially about which group Miner was referring to when he mentioned “the Canadian cree” and the Yaqui. But as I moved on in the article and realized that he was discussing ideas such as people caring passionately about their appearance and their teeth, I also began to think that there was no way that this group of people could be an indigenous group and that he must have been referring to the American people.
    I did not pick up on the over the counter medicine ritual as thoroughly as you did and you did a great job of explaining it. I agree with you that the availability of over the counter drugs increases productivity in the medical field by having people treat themselves instead of seeing a medical professional who could be treating a more serious issue.


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