Human experiences of sickness and suffering are universal yet profoundly shaped by cultural and historical contexts. Medical anthropology explores cultural and biological diversity in sickness, health, and healing through approaches that include examining individual experiences of disrupted well-being, considering how biological and cultural factors interact to promote health or produce sickness, analyzing political-economic causes of health inequalities, and applying research to improve health research and services in an increasingly global world. Coursework in medical anthropology helps students prepare for a range of health professions and social services careers and for work in diverse settings that increasingly include nongovernmental organizations devoted to improving health. Future health professionals are increasingly called upon to understand how sociocultural and biological factors intersect to produce experiences of health, sickness, and healing.
The medical anthropology track requires 15 s.h. (five courses): an introductory course plus four electives that focus on health-related topics. Electives includes 2000- and 3000-level intermediate courses that apply medical anthropology to specific topics, as well more advanced 4000-level courses that help students to engage with more complex topics in this field. Students can choose to mix intermediate and advanced electives in ways that best meet their interests and goals.