The direction of this paper will be discussed in sections according to objective description. Each section will analyze and discuss the following objective via personal experience, class discussion, or referenced by textbook. Objective 1: At the end of the course you will better understand the role of the clinical anthropologist in the workplace and how the discipline of anthropology contributes to the real world. The course well-addressed the domains of anthropology; and how sub disciplines in nutrition, agriculture, medicine, business, and aging may contribute to real world applications in the workplace.
In general, anthropology reminds me of plain vanilla ice cream—simply stated a study of human behavior in its social, political, or economical relation to biology and evolution. The subdisciplines exemplifies the fudge topping, crushed nuts, and sprinkles on top of the plain vanilla ice cream, thus “adding flavors” or making a banana split (Yum! ) to anthropology as a whole. In one form or another, they play a critical contribution to most, if not all career placements. Below explains a few subdisciplines contributing to real world applications.
Example 1: Nutritional Anthropology Starting with the first flavor, molten-lava fudge topping! Biological and sociocultural factors influence food selection and consumption in human societies. Applied anthropologists in this subfield attempts to understand and improve the dietary health in a given population. They may investigate various health concerns including global obesity, food insecurity, and malnutrition. Their expertise would be to provide public health officials accurate and reliable data for policy implementation regarding a nutritional concern.
A student’s presentation demonstrated how Applied Anthropology may be resourceful in alleviating childhood obesity by modifying their menus to serve healthier and less-caloric foods. Example 2: Environment Anthropology Next! The crunchy salted peanuts! Applied anthropologists in this subfield are intricately involved with the ecosystem of local communities, advocating for more access and control to resources in their region. They would conduct research to manage renewable waste products, creating environmental protection and ecological sustainability.
In addition, using local knowledge as an anthropological method ensures a productive life with nature and human. At my workplace, we are the first department and hospital in the Salt Lake region to instill recycling bins around the unit. This contribution to protect our ecosystem makes a small difference in the larger scheme of things. If this proves to be an effective policy, other hospitals within the region may adopt our efforts, which may potentially mass-spread into a nationwide endeavor, making an extraordinary difference in protecting our biodiversity.
Example 3: Medical Anthropology Finally, topping it off with colorful sprinkles! Medical anthropologists explore how the cultural belief systems shape humans’ experience in health and illness using a Holistic approach; an interplay between biology and culture. For example, they would research birth, a common biological experience among humans but varying greatly across culture. The women in the United States generally give birth under sterile and medically controlled conditions. In contrast to traditional Asian cultures, women give birth in silence and in the absence of males.
From this, medical anthropologists would learn how different birthing rituals and practices reflect the norm and behavior of the society. In a nutshell or the ice cream cone, various interdisciplinary approaches of anthropology contribute to real world application. Acknowledging society’s behavior within an economic, political, or social context is significant to solving underlying concerns, since they are generally addressed through implementation of policies and programs. Therefore, anthropologists are generally advocates for the “under dogs,” helping to gain better access to resources.
Objective 2: You will acquire new analytical methods and techniques that will be added to your professional toolbox that can be applied to your next job in a health-related industry. Anthropologists emphasizes “breadth and depth” in their field of study, hence requiring a wide selection of tools in their toolbox. Their research is generally conducted via participant observation, interview, or ethnographic studies, which entails rigorous and accurate data collection to use in explanatory models. These models help build a framework to facilitate better understanding of a particular interest or concern.
As an anthropologist, a key tool to being a successful advocate is by establishing long-term and collaborative relationships with the target communities. When there is a strong foundation of trust, facilitating new policies and programs would be well-supported. From my own personal experiences described below, acquiring an anthropological toolbox is mighty “handy dandy” in research and health care. Example 1: Body image in pre-adolescent children The concept of body image had fancied my curiosity last year when I decided to conduct a small study at Jackson Elementary in south Salt Lake.
Thinking like an anthropologist—the observed community was primarily minorities who were overweight. This had led me to investigate how the obesity trends in America affect misperception of body image in Pre-adolescent children. Past study have shown children may be less likely to perceive themselves as overweight if they are exposed to overweight people in their environment. The tools (methods) I used to conduct the study were via interview and survey on student’s (3rd and 6th graders; n=20) perception of their own body image. The data collection composed of the student’s vs. ctual (my personal judgment) perceived body image. As presumed, results showed more than half of the student’s perceived themselves as “fit” when they were actually overweight. Using an anthropological perspective, this concern has considerable ramifications on health. An early intervention is needed to reduce the prevalence of obesity in local communities to ensure healthy lifestyle behaviors as students become adolescents. Example 2: Bringing my tools to labor & delivery—healthcare As a healthcare provider in labor & delivery, every birthing experience is unique to its own.
When providing patient care, I try to bare a Holistic approach, especially with ethnic woman (i. e. Hispanics, Blacks, or Asians). I remembered an instance prior to delivery, an African woman had enchanted (what sounds like) spiritual expressions the entire duration of the delivery. After delivery, the woman seemed “disconnected” towards her newborn child, and just had no desire to do skin-to-skin or breastfeed. As the nurse stepped out the patient’s room, I overheard her saying “I don’t get how the patient could be so insensitive and non-affectionate towards her own child. Rolling my eyes as I walked away, I couldn’t believe how ignorant the nurse was towards different cultures, and thought maybe she should take crash course in anthropology! This instance helped me realize the beauty of differences across cultures, and in order to embrace this, it’s necessary to bare an open mind. Essentially, the goal is not to criticize others for what they don’t do, but rather integrate their cultural background with ours to create a joint identity. This collaboration may ease cultural barriers seen in healthcare, thus producing positive outcomes from both parties.
These experiences had broadened my horizon and application of applied anthropology, and I’m beginning to see its significance in real world instances. Now that I’ve established a small foundation, it’ll definitely be a useful tool as I continue in academia, career in healthcare, or possibly even relationships (ok, maybe not so much this one. )! Objective 3: You will have participated exercises in the classroom and in your class projects that will enable you to work with others and understand the role of interdisciplinary professionals that will enhance profession job prospects.
One of my favorite lessons in this course was when the class participated in role playing a scenario in relation to the oil spill occurrence in bountiful. As students partnered up, one person was the designated chief investigator/Anthropologist interviewing residents (2nd student) within the bountiful community. The investigator would gain an understanding of their current situation by asking how they were affected by the oil spill and ways to alleviate their distress. Most residents expressed frustration towards the damages made to their homes and cars, while some were concerned about inhalation of hazardous gases.
An environmental Anthropologist may mediate this issue by advocating for more safety policies at the oil refinery; essentially fighting to protect the safety and well-being of the surrounding local community. This activity was a great demonstration of real life application in the shoes of an environmental anthropologist. I want to include, most people have a misconception of anthropology degrees being useless, as oppose to accounting or business managements—degrees with job security. From personal experience and plethora of examples mentioned above, an anthropology background is completely advantageous and resourceful to the ide spectrum of career placements. Overall, the course did a great job in educating and applying the objectives, although I would like to see more interactive activities with classmates besides discussion (i. e. role playing scenarios). I found it particularly refreshing to be in a non-conventional classroom setting where the professor does not drone strictly on lectures, but rather incorporate discussion amongst the students. I believe what makes a memorable and effective learning experience is not only from professors, but from shared wisdoms and experiences of classmates.