Saturday, 28 March 2009

Culturally Congruous ways of looking at Medical Articles

A group of Medical Students from a Major University were sitting in front of me. While they could spew out many facts, they were not knowledgeable..I asked them why is that they are so ignorant of fine things in life: Literature, Music, Arts, Wine, Food, Current Affairs..
We have no role models and thus are not encouraged to follow those interests but stricly we are on a biomedical diet the four years we are in school, with an occasional class in Nutrition or Ethics.. We have never heard of Medical Anthropology..

So here follows some of the thoughts of a medical graduate, trained in Internal Medicine as well as four years in Endocrinology (Calcium, Thyroid, General Endocrinology: Washington University School of Medicine and University of Miami School of Medicine), an AOA to boot...
When I finished my superb training as an Endocrine Fellow at University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, before going home to Australia, I wanted to work at least one month with American Indians. I chose the month of May, as it was the penultimate month of training. When I reached the traditional tribe of Indians, thank the Spirits for leading me to them, I realized that all these years of training has not prepared me to look after a group of people who after three hundred years of contact still steadfastly cling on to their belief system and world view, speak their language, pray in their original manner... They were not interested in my qualification, AOA meant nothing to do, they were only interested in what sort of a person I was...
They told me a few things....

Only a good person can become a good doctor... There is no other way to prepare yourself to become a good doctor
Be happy with what you have, dont be unhappy with the things you dont have
We will forgive you if you make a medical mistake but we will never forgive you if you make a social or cultural mistake..

thus began my long association with the Indigenous peoples of the world.. Soon after I returned to London to study, once again the best course offered in Medical Anthropology for medical graduates at London at the Brunel University. I had such fanatastic teaches and the two years spent studying Anthropology, was the best tool I received to acquire KNOWLEDGE, rather than the compendium of facts that i had learned at the previous trainings..

I have been lucky to practise both: Endocrinology and Medical Anthropology in various settings. My primary interest continues to be the welfare of the Native American People and other indigenous groups, but i have given lectures and complete courses in Medical Anthropology in various parts of the world, but notably at the University of Havana, in Cuba, a country I maintain a deep respect and attachment .

So in the following blogs, i would give you a cultural analysis along with the facts and i want you to think the WHY  behind the articles being published rather blindly accepting WHAT is being published..
to give a simple example:
Have you ever wondered why the people of African Ancestry have high blood pressure, much more than attributing it to racial origins? Will you believe if i told that in a more racially equitable society such as Cuba, that blood pressure difference does not exist? regardless of your feelings about various political systems, if you harbour prejudices against political systems, you would naturally harbour racial and cultural prejudices as well...

Hope you enjoy reading my blogs..

I am an Australian, Jew, of Asian ancestry and currently call Paris, France as Home..
the three pictures on this blog: even though food is polemic in the USA, you can eat well if you try; the second picture is the Earth Hour as it was observed in KL, a city becoming closer to my heart and the third is a picture of me taken at the BlueHouse which is situated in the Omaha Indian Reservation in Walthill, Nebraska.