Anthropology and Public Health: Bridging Differences in Culture and Society / Edition 2

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Many serious public health problems confront the world in the new millennium. Anthropology and Public Health examines the critical role of anthropology in four crucial public health domains: (1) anthropological understandings of public health problems such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes; (2) anthropological design of public health interventions in areas such as tobacco control and elder care; (3) anthropological evaluations of public health initiatives such as Safe Motherhood and polio eradication; and (4) anthropological critiques of public health policies, including neoliberal health care reforms. As the volume demonstrates, anthropologists provide crucial understandings of public health problems from the perspectives of the populations in which the problems occur. On the basis of such understandings, anthropologists may develop and implement interventions to address particular public health problems, often working in collaboration with local participants. Anthropologists also work as evaluators, examining the activities of public health institutions and the successes and failures of public health programs. Anthropological critiques may focus on major international public health agencies and their workings, as well as public health responses to the threats of infectious disease and other disasters. Through twenty-four compelling case studies from around the world, the volume provides a powerful argument for the imperative of anthropological perspectives, methods, information, and collaboration in the understanding and practice of public health. Written in plain English, with significant attention to anthropological methodology, the book should be required reading for public health practitioners, medical anthropologists, and health policy makers. It should also be of interest to those in the behavioral and allied health sciences, as well as programs of public health administration, planning, and management. As the single most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of anthropology's role in public health, this volume will inform debates about how to solve the world's most pressing public health problems at a critical moment in human history.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

Translating public health knowledge and technical capacity into public health action across cultural and social boundaries is often a challenge for those who participate in public health. The 15 case studies of this book illustrate anthropological concepts and methods that can help us understand and resolve diverse public health problems around the world. One case study shows how differences in concepts and terminology among patients, clinicians, and epidemiologists in a southwestern U. S. county hinder the control of epidemics. Another case study examines reasons that Mexican farmers don't use protective equipment when spraying pesticides and suggests ways to increase use. Another examines the culture of international health agencies, demonstrates institutional values and practices that impede effective public health practice, and suggests issues that must be addressed to enhance institutional organization and process. Anthropology in Public Health provides practical models and anthropological tools to improve the effectiveness of public health efforts around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is oriented towards public health practitioners, and, as befits the supremely pragmatic orientation of that field, it is a very helpful compendium of the applications of medical anthropology to solve specific problems. As a collection of case studies, it is probably without peer. It is broader in orientation than either Trostle's Epidemiology and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 1995) or Nichter's Global Health: Why Cultural Perceptions, Social Representations, and Biopolitics Matter (University of Arizona Press, 2008)."—Doody's
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Paul Brodwin, Ph D(University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Description: This rich collection of case studies shows how the perspectives and methods of medical anthropology can strengthen public health interventions, in both developing societies and resource-poor populations in the United States. The 24 chapters are primarily on-the-ground accounts of research-driven and community-based programs addressing a host of major public health problems, including infectious disease, addiction, and reproductive health. This is the second edition of a book published in 1999.
Purpose: The editors argue that when public health interventions fail, the culprit is often inadequate attention to (1) the cultural assumptions inherent in both Western medicine and local community responses to illness and (2) the historical and political forces that shape epidemics. To remedy this problem, individual chapters demonstrate how cultural knowledge aids in planning successful programs of health education, immunization, and behavioral change. Mastering this toolkit of conceptual approaches and research methods is crucial to contemporary global public health initiatives.
Audience: The book is intended for students and professionals in a wide range of public health disciplines (epidemiology, evaluation, health policy and planning, and other social-behavioral sciences). It is not a methods cookbook, however, and it does not replace mainstream texts of research design. It instead demonstrates how skilled practitioners have applied fundamental qualitative research tools of anthropology (interviews, participant observation, and focus groups) to complex, multilevel interventions. The book is excellent for teaching, since the authors of the chapters are transparent about their methods and rationales for using them. The editors and chapter authors are all experienced with long-term, in-depth research.
Features: The introduction provides a helpful review of the fundamental orientation of cultural anthropology, intended chiefly for public health professionals without background in the area. The rest of the book is composed of standalone case studies that use anthropological approaches in various ways to elucidate local-level and indigenous responses to illness, to design and evaluate interventions that are tailored to local cultural frameworks, and to criticize public health policy that merely reproduces the inequalities and structural problems that generate ill health. The case study approach is fundamental to this book. Individual programs and communities are examined in great detail. Moreover, the authors explain in detail their methodological choices: an approach that will benefit future planners and evaluators. The book does not, however, feature much critical self-examination of the role of anthropology in public health, despite the mention of this perspective in the editors' introduction.
Assessment: This is the second edition of one of the major books on the interface of medical anthropology and public health. Since the major problems in global health — and the political and bureaucratic responses to them — transform so rapidly, a new and revised edition is warranted. This book is oriented towards public health practitioners, and, as befits the supremely pragmatic orientation of that field, it is a very helpful compendium of the applications of medical anthropology to solve specific problems. As a collection of case studies, it is probably without peer. It is broader in orientation than either Trostle's Epidemiology and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 1995) or Nichter's Global Health: Why Cultural Perceptions, Social Representations, and Biopolitics Matter (University of Arizona Press, 2008).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195374643
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/17/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 752
  • Sales rank: 512,521
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Hahn, PhD, MPH is a Senior Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

Marcia C. Inhorn, PhD, MPH, is William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

1 Anthropology and the Enhancement of Public Health Practice 3
2 Folk Flu and Viral Syndrome: An Anthropological Perspective 27
3 The Role of Anthropological Methods in a Community-Based Mosquito Net Intervention in Bagamoyo District, Tanzania 44
4 Engaging Indigenous African Healers in the Prevention of AIDS and STDs 63
5 Anthropological Perspectives on Childhood Pneumonia in Pakistan 84
6 Ethnography and Breast Cancer Control among Latinas and Anglo Women in Southern California 117
7 A Policy Approach to Reducing Cancer Risk in Northwest Indian Tribes 142
8 The Rational Basis of "Irrational" Drug Use: Pharmaceuticals in the Context of Development 165
9 Cultural Tailoring in Indonesia's National Nutrition Improvement Program 182
10 Road Warriors: Driving Behaviors on a Polynesian Island 211
11 Balancing Risks and Resources: Applying Pesticides without Using Protective Equipment in Southern Mexico 235
12 Prospects for Family Planning in Cote d'Ivoire: Ethnographic Contributions to the Development of Culturally Appropriate Population Policy 257
13 Integrating Mental Health Care and Traditional Healing in Puerto Rico: Lessons from an Early Experiment 279
14 Project Community Diagnosis: Participatory Research as a First Step toward Community Involvement in Primary Health Care 300
15 Neglect of Cultural Knowledge in Health Planning: Nepal's Assistant Nurse-Midwife Program 327
16 Bureaucratic Aspects of International Health Programs 345
App Resources in Anthropology 365
Glossary 367
Index 371
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