20 June 2016

Anthropology and Public Health Policy

Medical anthropologist (and medical student) Dave Campbell outlines "Anthropology's Contribution to Public Health Policy Development" (2011) in this accessible (and open access) piece published in the McGill Journal of Medicine.

The article is written for non-anthropologists, and therefore provides a useful brief overview of the history of medical anthropology, what it has contributed to public health policy to date, and importantly, areas where "anthropology can influence public health policy in ways that epidemiology or other methods cannot." In this relatively short paper, Campbell discusses the value of an anthropological perspective for public health and policy creation in terms of:
"(A) The ability to see culture in its proper context in the social world and how culture affects all research. (B) The ability to pick up on minute and seemingly irrelevant details. (C) Independence from biomedical goals and hegemony allows medical anthropologists to add a critical voice to the public health discourse. (D) Provision of objective, qualitative data in an otherwise quantitative field."

For more on the role of anthropology/ anthropologists in healthcare, check out the links on our Applying an anthropological perspective outside of university page.