Medical Anthropology

3837 Words16 Pages
Medical Anthropology

Introduction and Description:

My topic, Medical Anthropology, is a field of study that uses culture, religion, education, economics/infrastructure, history, and the environment as a means to evaluate and understand "cross-cultural perspectives, components, and interpretations of the concept of health" (Society for Medical Anthropology, pg. 1).

To further introduce Medical Anthropology, I will reiterate highlights of my previous presentations. Early on in Turkey, I asked each person in our program the following question: "I would like you to tell me about health and what it means to you?" The answers to this question varied widely, making it difficult to define a global conception of health. In analyzing the answers, I established the following five components of health:

• Nutrition patterns and lifestyle habits.

• Environment and living conditions.

• Access to and the quality of healthcare provided.

• Interrelationships among and between patients, medical providers, friends and family.

• Causes and impacts of illness.

In addition, the concept of health can be seen from two different perspectives. First, as a tool, meaning health's value as a form of wealth that should not be taken for granted. Second, health as a product or goal, that people strive to reach and maintain.

The four goals of my project were to:

1) Develop a global conception of health.

2) Acquire a basic understanding of each country's health system and

it's individual philosophy of healing.

3) Determine what treatments a culture values, rejects, and the extent to

which its people use alternative medicine.

• Compare and contrast my findings in each country to each other count...

... middle of paper ...

...ion techniques.

In addition, research for this project enabled me to identify five essential elements for acquiring cross cultural competency which I will use as guidelines in conflict resolution in my future occupation:

• Valuing diversity

• Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment

• Being conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact

• Having institutionalized culture knowledge

• Having developed adaptations to service delivery reflecting an understanding of

cultural diversity

In summary, this independent project has just begun my study of Medical Anthropology and has established a solid background to further my progress toward reaching one of my professional goals: to be a collaborative healthcare provider. This goal will be further developed as I begin the nursing program at St. Olaf's College next fall.

More about Medical Anthropology

Open Document