Week 1

Week 1: Deconstructing Biomedicine and Introducing Five Theoretical Perspectives


Part I: Introducing Five Theoretical Perspectives

Part II: Deconstructing Biomedicine


  • Activity: 1.1. (250-500 words)
    This week, I want you to select a country that you will be using as your example country for the duration of this course and provide a general description of the country: Demographic Indicators, Economic Indicators, Women, Education, The Rate of Progress, Disparities By Residence, and Disparities By Household Wealth. You can find this information at UNICEF’s Country Statistics page. To understand the statistics, read the “Definitions and Data Sources” link at the bottom of each block of statistics.Please present your data in a narrative form. In other words, please don’t just copy and paste the table or a numbers list, but make us “see” the country through a “story” about the statistics. Point out statistics that surprised you or contradicted what you have heard or read about the country in other places.

    I recommend selecting a country that you have some curiosity about and for which you can find enough information regarding the health issue that you are interested in studying for the next seven weeks, so do a little research before selecting your country and, although you do not need to post about your health issue until next week, make sure there is enough information on it from other sources to fulfill the requirements for the final blog post.

    I will accept information from news media sources, but you must triangulate the information from three separate news sources, one of which is foreign or a foundational source (i.e. a UN program report or an academic journal article). So, for example, if I am doing my final post on educating girls in Senegal and I want some current information on it, I might look at Voice of America, CNN, and, in this case, because I could not find a foreign news source, I used the United Nations Girls Education Initiative.

  • Blog post: (500-700 words) Write about a first-hand medical event in which you can comment about the positive and negative aspects you have encountered in dominant American biomedicine or in another medical system you have encountered. “First-hand” can mean something that has happened to you or to a family member or close friend that has had an impact on you. Remember that your classmates might read these, so if you are choosing between a few stories, choose the story you don’t mind being public.
  • Blog Comment: Pick a person who had a different kind of medical experience from you. Please comment on another class member’s blog post. Aim for a comment that is between 150-200 words. Rather than criticize, think of questions you might ask and evidence you might share that is relevant to their personal story. Are there insights you can apply from this week’s readings and video?

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