The anthropology department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will be offering a new academic program starting this fall that focuses on different influences on people’s health. The new track, called medical anthropology, explores how health and illness are shaped, experienced and understood within the context of culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic and political factors.
Medical anthropology, a subfield of anthropology, focuses on the evolution of humans and pathogens, the effects of globalization on health disparities and the health legacies of colonialism—all topical issues here in Hawaiʻi.
This area of expertise may appeal to students interested in careers as health services directors, health and social policy analysts, health care consultants, data analysts, social workers, health librarians, acupuncturists and naturopaths. UH Hilo students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in public health may also find that the study of medical anthropology will prepare them well for future careers.
Two courses—evolutionary medicine and global health in evolutionary perspective—are new in the last two years and taught by Daniel Brown, a professor of anthropology who has done extensive research on health issues found in the East Hawaiʻi community.