W7: The World is full of Perspective

I was looking for a class to take to fulfill one of my course requirements for the health promotion minor. A friend recommended me to take this class, and I am really so glad I did. I feel like only a few courses stick with you throughout your life, once you leave college, and this is definitely one of those courses. I learned so much about my perspective and the world’s perspective on healthcare that I had no prior knowledge of.
I have always been a firm believer in the western medical system, and this is really just because I never learned any differently. I liked how this class showed me that there is more than just one way of viewing the healthcare system, and the right way for one person isn’t always the right for another. In fact, after learning so much about other cultures, I am beginning to think there are better practices used than the western ways.In an article by Amit Singh he discusses how we there is no third or second world countries anymore because development means different things in different places. “People begin to think that traditional medicine is not useful anymore because it is not like ‘modern’ Western medicine. But traditional medicine has often been very successful for a long time” (Singh).
I found the explanatory models used in week two to be be very interesting. I like how it explained how illness means different things to different people, and how they also handle them differently (Explanatory Models 2.2). It made things more clear to me why certain doctors handle different diseases in different ways depending on the situation and the status of the person. I liked the example of the ebola virus that was used. When American health care workers came to help locals in Africa treat the disease many of them didn’t trust them or wouldn’t allow them to treat them because the methods they were using (Explanatory Models 2.2), I think this is so important because it shows how differently explanatory models vary among cultures. In some cultures family, friends and beliefs have such a large impact on a person’s health, I really enjoyed reading about these first hand In The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, it allowed me to better understand these various cultures and put them into my perspective.
Another major point that has stuck with me through the course is the lectures from week 1 on racism. I never had looked at racism the way is was presented in the lecture, that biologically there really is not such thing as “racism”. The quote from lecture, “There is only one race, the human race” (Gabriel 1.1) really put things into perspective for me as I came to realize we are dividing ourselves based on predisposition, no actual facts. Ethnicity is what places a role in determining if people are more inclined to contracting diseases or behaving a certain way, not race.
A film I think that could be added to the curriculum of this course is the documentary Sicko. This film came out in 2007 and is meant to compare the United States health care system to those of other countries. Throughout the film it spotlights some of the U.S.’s greater flaws in its healthcare system. This would be a good film to analyze as it compares health care systems around the world and demonstrates how the U.S. system may be on top, but is still full of faults.
I am grateful for all I learned in this class. It really has made me look at health care differently and actually understand cultures and their actions better. I will keep this information In mind throughout my life and career.

Works Cited
Singh, Amit. “The Western Way Isn’t Always the Best Way.” – New Internationalist Easier English Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2016.

Sicko: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386032/

5 thoughts on “W7: The World is full of Perspective

  1. Hi Jennifer! I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week and I think we had a similar perspective with regard to this class. I especially agree with you in that only a few, and certain, classes stick with a person once they complete school, and I also believe that this is one of these courses. Ideas within medical anthropology are constantly applicable in life and it is something that not a lot of people are aware of. I think it’s really important for each individual to know and be able to explain and back up their own perspectives of thinking when it comes to medical anthropology, and this is something that cannot be done if the issues are not made aware of. I, too, never questioned the western medical way of thinking because it was all I ever knew and grew up with. To me, it seemed to work well, so why question it? Well, because of this course I now see how important it is to be aware of other health care systems and their influences on the world, whether it is something I would want to be a part of, or not. All of the resources available through this class have helped me to learn this, and it is good to know that the class has influenced you in that way, as well.

  2. Hello!
    Our posts were very similar in many ways. I’ve also been a supporter of western science and medicine, but it’s because that’s what’s worked for me in times of need so I’ve never felt the need to explore my other options. I’m not sure I quite agree with you when you mentioned there might be better ways, but I think the point and the beauty of the class is to realize that, and be ok to disagreeing. Because just like I might think one way is the best, there are thousands of different cultures that think their way is the best too. And this relates back to what you said later in your post. We’re all under one race, which is considered the human race. This resonated with me too because I think it’s something that most people don’t understand. We’re all here together with one common goal, so I’m not sure why more people aren’t doing more to help each other more. An example of this would be the Ebola virus. Due to structural violence, there is more opportunity to get the Ebola virus in Africa than North America, right now. I think the documentary Sicko would definitely seem influential to the class based on your description.

  3. Hi, Jennifer!

    I feel the same way about college courses. Courses like chemistry and math, teach you a lot but not as much sticks with you after the class. When you take a course that makes you reevaluate your thoughts on life, it sticks with throughout your life.

    I am also a firm believe in western medicine. I think that our medical system is top notch, but after this class I feel that it can be improved in the field of patient care. There can be better forms of care in the world, but I still think ours is one of the best ways. I just think doctors and medical care staff need to be more informed about other cultures and respect their ways of treatment.

    I also wrote about week one’s lecture about race. I did not know that race was not an actual thing and it really surprised me. Before this course, I knew we were all human, but I did not know that there is actually no difference at all between different races.

    I never have viewed the film Sicko. It seems very interesting and would love to watch it sometime. I wish there was movies like this for other health care systems around the world, I love learning about how different they are from each other.

  4. Hello Jennifer, I am also a believer in the Western medicine system and taking this course brought to my attention the different views within the health care system. Learning about the medical system was fascinating and made me more aware of social issues in the world. I am a firm believer in viewing this world through different perspectives. This whole class is about perspective and looking at other opinions first, which makes it great. I think it is important for every culture to be able to express their perspectives and beliefs clearly, especially in regard to the medical field. I also agree that week 1 about racism made many strong points and made me think about race and ethnicity differently. The way it was presented felt new and coherent. The predisposition outlook really opened my eyes about ethnicity and how we perceive it. Race and ethnicity can be deeply subjective. How one grasps racial identity can change with maturity and time as well. I enjoyed how this class provided important issues every week. This is one of the more interesting classes I have taken here at MSU and will recommend it to anyone who wants to take an elective. I haven’t seen Sicko but it seems interesting, I’ll have to check it out sometime! Great post!

  5. I really enjoyed reading your reflection of the course, and I too will remember what I learned well after this class is over. This course has also immensely broadened my understanding of culture and how it can influence health and illness. After reading your description of the documentary Sicko I went on YouTube and watched the trailer. From those two minutes alone I agree with your recommendation for including it in this course. The United States loves to give all of its citizens the impression that its health care system is the best in the world, even though this is far from the truth. Western biomedicine may be the most scientifically advanced form of healing in the world, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to the best overall health care system. There was a scene in the trailer where Michael Moore is shouting through a megaphone on the shores of Guantanamo Bay requesting medical care. That is the only place governed by the United States that health care is universal and free, and it is available to criminals and terrorists. The first step in fixing a broken system is realizing that it is broken in the first place. This course has highlighted many areas of healthcare that need some improvement.

Leave a Reply