My experience regarding this class was great. I learned things about many different topics that I had never even thought about before. Being a finance major, I obviously don’t have the opportunity to take many classes like this one so it’s a nice change of pace. It has made me aware of viewpoints different groups of people have that I was unaware of. Being born and raised in America you are taught to recognize other peoples views, but those views although different are still mainly American. Having to learn and think about other cultures views and traditions was something I found enjoyable to learn about.
One topic I found particularly interesting was the topic or debate of American biomedicine versus other traditional cultural medicine. I also found the history of the DSM very interesting as well. This was introduced in week two when learning about mental health. DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM is a book that lists all possible diagnoses of mental disorders that psychiatrists can give and their symptoms (Gabriel-Lecture 2.1). The DSM has evolved drastically over the years to reflect the changes in American culture and medicine. It evolved from a reactionary explanatory model to neurobiological model. Meaning that chemical imbalances in the brain are responsible for mental disorders rather than reactions to neurosis (Gabriel-Lecture 2.1). This change also led to the increases of pharmaceuticals used to treat mental illness. Although those two topics were the ones I found most interesting we covered much more material. We learned about immigrant health, culture and health, the relationship between science, religion and health, among other things. One of my main takeaways was realizing that even though in America we think we live in the best society, which I think we do, but even then there are still some serious flaws that need to be worked on from a cultural, medical, and structural perspective.
If I could add something on to this course I would include more positives regarding the behavior and structure of western societies, specifically medicine. I understand that it is important to realize other people’s beliefs and respect them. I also think we also could have included more resources baking the western perspective in order to compare and contrast. According to the CDC “Before the middle of the last century, diseases like whooping cough, polio, measles, Haemophilus influenzae, and rubella struck hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults in the U.S.. Thousands died every year from them. As vaccines were developed and became widely used, rates of these diseases declined until today most of them are nearly gone from our country” (Denson). I think including both perspectives would be a balanced way to approach things and could better explain why we evolved to biomedicine and why our healthcare is what it is. Without trying to offend anyone, after all the vaccines that have saved millions of lives weren’t discovered during a healing dance. I also think a nice addition would be the movie I watched and reviewed Doctors’ Diaries. I say this because it shows the intense pressure and rigor of becoming a doctor. It also includes many topics we have covered here in class like structural violence and obviously biomedice.
Denson, Ryan. “All The Diseases That Have Been Cured And Almost Been Eradicated Thanks To Vaccines (Images).” Addicting Info The Knowledge You Crave. February 04, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016. http://addictinginfo.org/2015/02/04/all-the-diseases-that-have-been-cured-and-almost-been-eradicated-thanks-to-vaccines-images/.
Gabriel, Cynthia. “History of the DSM.” ANP 370 Culture Health and Illness. 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp370-us16/lecture-videos/history-of-the-dsm/.