W7: Another Notch on the (Report) Card

I greatly enjoyed the course as provided. To me, it self like it tied in many of my previous courses (Medical Ethics PHL 344, Cultural Anthropology ANP 201, etc) and built upon them. My post-undergraduate plan is to attend a graduate program for Public Health, and this course does a good job pointing out some of the issues with our current system that drove me to pursue a Public Health field instead of a medical based field. If I had to point out an overall theme to the point of everything we covered, it’d be how doctors and much of the medical professionals in our (American) system of health care, we ignore everything that isn’t a symptom, and we try to put everything into its neat little box. Box 1 is import, symptomatic information (fever, nausea, high blood pressure, etc) and Box 2 is unimportant information that aren’t directly medical (stress in life, personal beliefs about conditioned, etc). It speaks to a lot of how many people see things, they look for what they know is important, and anything that isn’t identified as useful is generally discarded.

The section that I appreciated the most was the explanatory systems in week 2. From the store of Mrs. Flowers and Dr. Richards in PDF 2.2 by Arthur Kleinman. How people relate to their illness has far-reaching effects, the most noticeable of which (to me) are highlighted in Berglund, Lytsy, and Westerling’s paper in the BMC Public Health Journal. According to their study, the higher the internal locus of control for illness, the better patients tend to feel in general, and about their illness. Those with a high external locus on control (chance, some ‘one’ else is to blame, and such) had a lower Self-Rated Health report. These, to me, work with everything we covered to exemplify how important not just an illness is, but a patient’s relation to it. For a personal example, my father is of the opinion that all of his health issues are a result of his tours of duty in Iraq, and have nothing to do with his 1½ pack of cigarettes a day or alcohol habits. He will do anything his doctors say if they think it’ll help with his PTSD and related issues, but won’t quit drinking or smoking because he is of the opinion they are not to blame for his health problems.

Beyond the explanatory models, I really enjoyed The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down. From the trials that the Hmong refugees as a whole had to survive, to the difficulties of moving and adapting to a new way of life, it was really eye opening. From the difficulties of health care, to simply being able to carry out their traditions from their homeland, the Hmong as a whole faced many struggles that are common for many refugees across the globe. This is important to understand, if not just from a human aspect, then from the current refugee crisis in the Middle East as a whole, especially Syria. There is much to be learned from all groups, and as a place where some of the refugees will inevitable settle if the cannot return to their homelands we need to be more open and willing to understand them. It will make their already difficult transition smoother, and will help gauge and lessen the strain an influx of people who are unable to pay for, or even find and utilize, healthcare and other services in our country. If people are unwilling to do it out of a sense of care for other humans, they should do it simply because we will not be given a real option, and at the end of the day we are all humans, and would desire the same in their shoes.

I think that the article I discussed previously in this post would be a good addition. I personally feel that while we did a good basis of explanatory models, we could do with some more examples of them, similar to what we did in Week 3


Berglund, Erik, Per Lytsy, and Ragnar Westerling. “The Influence of Locus of Control on Self-rated Health in Context of Chronic Disease: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach in a Cross Sectional Study.” BMC Public Health 14, no. 1 (May 23, 2014). Accessed August 17, 2016. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-492.


One thought on “W7: Another Notch on the (Report) Card

  1. Hello!
    I absolutely loved reading your post because I am also going into Public health. I thought it was so interesting that we both choose week two as our favorite about explanatory models. I also agree with everything you said because it is so important to take everyones beliefs and thoughts into perspective when treating them. It can be a religious thing, a tradition thing, or maybe just their own input on a situation. Doctors seem to overlook so much now a days and just treat the symptoms and not the persons overall mental health. I learned so much from this class about how important it is to always look deeper into the cause and that will have the best outcome. This statement can relate to so much in life and is definitely an important thing to remember. Your example about your dad is perfect, it really makes a point that it is in the power of that person to make a change on their life. His perspective is different than the doctors and they all have to take that into consideration when figuring out the next best step. Best of luck in your career with public health, I know I could not be more excited and happy to eventually make a big difference in the world for everyone.

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