W7: Becoming a Doctor to People

At the beginning of the course I wrote my introduction on the notion that I wanted to be an MD/PhD. This has not changed after taking this course, but rather affirmed it. When I declared a  minor in anthropology it was because all I had learned about in college was science and I knew the same would be true about medical school, I wanted to learn more about people- how to treat them, not the disease. Like in lecture when we learned it is not until after medical school doctors learn medical judgement. This course has taught me about different cultures like the Inuit, and the Hmong, the healers in Namibia and Botswana(Gabriel 2016). It has made me think about how immigrants and refugees may not believe science is the best answer. To be honest I have such a firm belief in western medicine I was always very skeptical about the more holistic approach. But after this course I know going forward in my medical career I will be more willing to listen to patients with various backgrounds into their opinions on THEIR healthcare. That I will need to be able to compromise and listen to what they want, and what they are familiar with. I think the biggest thing that stood out to me was when we read the Lee’s story I thought about how as a doctor they prescribe medicine and of course they take into account plausibility of likelihood the treatment will be followed accordingly but the field should do more than that(Fadiman 1997). I think the idea of having a mediator between cultures and doctors  is an amazing idea. Doctors would never be able to learn about every culture but having a mediator would rectify this in many ways. Also we learned this week about the prescription industry, how many pills Americans take but we learned in week 3 about the low-tech approach to Fertility(Epstein 2007). Going forward I will be more open to the idea of less prescriptive solutions. I do study nutrition as well so this could be one way I do it. Like my title suggest I want to be a doctor to people and this class was a perfect step forward.

Additionally in this weeks lecture we learned about the Syphillis Trials(Gabriel 2016)- I had already learned about this in another course. There was a book I read for my Human Genetics course on Campus called “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”  by Rebecca Skloot, that discusses the like of Henrietta Lacks a poor black women who suffered from Cervical Cancer in the 1950’s. Well while she was receiving care doctors took her cancer cells for studying and produced what is know VERY widely as HeLa cells. The first immortal cell line. Henrietta nor her family where unaware and uncompensated (HeLa cells are a billion dollar cell line). But the book is riddled with the notion of Medical ethics which is why I think it would make a great addition to the course. It deals with how Henrietta was treated for her cancer in , what some would argue, unethical manners. It goes into the border that is sometimes present between doctor and patient. One that we learned about from the Lee’s, or Ebola victims in Africa(during the quarantines). I think the book would be a great addition to the course.

Epstein, Randi. “A Low-Tech Approach to Fertility: Just Relax.” The New York Times. September 4, 2007.

Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997. Anthropology 370. MSU. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.

Gabriel, Cynthia. “ Limits of Biomedicine.” Presentation for the course ANP 370: Culture, Health, and Illness, 2016.

Gabriel, Cynthia. “Cartesian Duality, Biomedicine, and “Spirit” (Or “What’s the difference between Medicine and Religion?”) .” Presentation for the course ANP 370: Culture, Health, and Illness, 2016.

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown Publishing 2010

One thought on “W7: Becoming a Doctor to People

  1. Hi!
    I really enjoyed reading your perspective for this week. It is smart that you have realized it is important to know the science but also to know about who you are treating. I think this course should be recommended for anyone going into a field where both matter. I know I have learned so much and have gained a lot of knowledge on being open to differences in others. I think it is great how much you realized from this course and will take that with you in your career, more people should even read your post because it is quite amazing! I feel strongly about that also and will take this all into consideration when I continue with my career in public health. it is so important to look at everyones explanatory model and really diagnose the person based on all aspects. Goodluck with your future! I can tell you will be a well liked and highly recommended doctor!

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