On one level, disease is caused by pathogens that invade our bodies. Why are some people more likely to encounter those pathogens than others or, if they do, get sick and die? More importantly: what can clinicians, public health experts, medical students, and social scientists do about it?
In this 1-week introduction to the field of medical anthropology and global health, we will explore how doctors, public health experts, medical researchers, and social scientists can and should work together to better understand the social causes of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and other health conditions that have a grave impact on human individuals, communities, and medical care.
Students will be exposed to short readings, lively discussion, relevant video clips, in-class activities, and short group assignments in order to develop a better understanding of what makes people sick and how to help.
Topics for the week include (but are not limited to) critical medical anthropology, gender inequality and global health, health and human rights, the social determinants of health, and geospatial analysis of infectious disease epidemics. Students will also have a chance to explore and discuss the growing role of social justice-oriented clinical work in medical school training.
The week culminates in a mock health intervention, in which students will develop strategies and tactics to address a current pressing health epidemic. This session will be of particular interest to students interested in pre-medical programs or clinical work, given the recent and growing push in pre-medical and medical programs to incorporate social medicine, public health, and global health into the core medical school curriculum.