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January 2022

Medical anthropology and epidemiology

Author(s): Sommerfeld, J.

Journal/Book: Annu Rev Anthropol. 1996; 25: 4139 El Camino Way, PO Box 10139, Palo Alto, CA 94303-0139. Annual Reviews Inc. 253-274.

Abstract: Over the past decade anthropologists and epidemiologists have begun to move beyond the ''benign neglect'' that characterized their prior relationship. Some of the most important collaborations between these disciplines concern themes of culture change and stress, social stratification, and the unpacking of other social and cultural variables. Anthropologists have criticized and expanded epidemiological notions of risk and vulnerability. Multidisciplinary teams of anthropologists and epidemiologists have constructed new measures and used multiple methods to increase the validity of their results. Disputes about classification have also linked the two disciplines. Collaborative projects between anthropologists and epidemiologists are leading to more nuanced and accurate descriptions of human behavior and more appropriate and effective interventions. Epidemiological techniques and ideas are also being used for anthropological ends, because disease often spreads along the framework of social structure. These many forms of collaboration create the foundations of a cultural epidemiology.

Note: Review JA Trostle, Mt Holyoke Coll, Five Coll Med Anthropol Program, S Hadley, MA 01075 USA

Keyword(s): interdisciplinary collaboration; methodology; risk; health; disease; HEALTH INTERVIEW SURVEYS; PAPUA-NEW-GUINEA; UNITED-STATES; CULTURAL CONSTRUCTION; DEVELOPING-COUNTRIES; SOCIAL-SCIENCE; AIDS RESEARCH; BEHAVIORAL-RESEARCH; HIV TRANSMISSION; RACE-ETHNICITY


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