“Applied medical anthropology is the application of anthropological theories and methods to health interventions” (Joralemon 2010:137).
The medical anthropologist serves as a culture broker between biomedical practitioners and those whose culture has differing beliefs regarding illness and treatment (Joralemon 2010:10).
“In all human societies, beliefs and practices relating to ill health are a central characteristic of the culture. Often these
are linked to beliefs about the origin of a much wider range of misfortunes (including accidents, interpersonal conflicts, natural disasters, crop failures, theft and loss), of which ill
health is just one form. In some societies the whole range of
these misfortunes is blamed on supernatural forces, or in divine punishment, or on the malevolence of a witch or sorcerer. The values and customs associated with ill health are part of the wider culture, and cannot really be studied in isolation from it. One cannot really understand how people
react to illness, death or other misfortune without an understanding of the type of culture they have grown up in or acquired – that is, of the 'lens' through which they are perceiving and interpreting their world. In addition to the study of culture it is also necessary to examine the social organization of health and illness in that society (the health care system), which includes the ways in which people have become recognized as ill, the ways that they present this
illness to other people, the attributes of those they present their illness to and the ways that the illness is dealt with” (The Vienna Evaluation Unit).
-Logo retrieved from Partners-in-Health_-source_-www_pih_org_.jpg
Partners in Health
Medical anthropology is also applied through program assessments and evaluations. Anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer actively practices both medicine and anthropology by being on the ground with local people in clinics in Haiti, Peru, Russia and Cuba. Farmer organized Partners in Health which epitomizes how applied and critical medical anthropology can effectively be used in research and health interventions (Kedia and van Willigen 2005:132).
-Paul Farmer's "This I Believe" was recorded from NPR with photos taken at Partners In Health sites around the world.-
(enlarge the screen for optimal viewing!)
Paul Farmer I Believe. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJpZnUjtor