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Describe how applied medical anthropology contributes to human wellness in the United States and globally.

This assignment will help you to achieve the following Course Objectives:

– describe the role of culture in health, illness, and healing and medical anthropology’s contributions to individual and public health in domestic and international contexts

– describe the local and global political, social, and economic factors that influence individual and public health to shape programs and policies

– apply the perspectives and methods of anthropology to promote individual and public health in domestic and international contexts

Like the Literature Review and Research Paper, the ETHNOGRAPHIC PROJECT is an “authentic assessment.” And like the previous two assignments, whenever necessary please follow proper APA citation formatting. The ETHNOGRAPHIC PROJECT asks you to complete tasks (albeit in a much abbreviated format) that anthropologists actually perform. The point of the project is to make it very clear to students how everyone’s beliefs and behaviors are culturally constructed and how the historical, social, political, and economic contexts in which people live or visit shape/influence who stays well/healthy, who gets sick, what they suffer, what their experience of illness is, how they are treated, who gets better/heals, and who does not.

The ETHNOGRAPHIC PROJECT is worth a total of 45% of your overall grade. Each of the THREE (3) STAGES of this project will count for 15% of your overall grade: See the Course Schedule for Due Dates.

1)   Ethnographic Assessment

  • Intervention Development
  • Intervention Evaluation Plan

*The ETHNOGRAPHIC PROJECT (all 3 stages) should total around 10-15 pages*

I will award points based on my assessment of how well you followed the instructions and met the specified requirements for each assignment, your mastery of the material, and the quality of your writing.  (Spelling and grammar count in the final project).

*PRIVACY CONCERNS* for Ethnographic Project

The Ethnographic Project asks you to discuss health-related issues you are interested in or concerned about and your own and your household members’ personal health and illness related ideas, behaviors, and concerns as well as the personal environments in which you live.  You should not, however, disclose or discuss any information that you wish to keep private. This project is for the instructor’s eyes only –   it is not to be submitted in any public classroom areas – and it will not be used for any other purpose other than to assess your mastery of the material in this course.  You are in control of the information you include.  If anyone objects to this assignment, however, please email me at: joonhyunmichael.choi@faculty.umuc.edu

The Ethnographic Project will help students achieve the following:

(1) Describe the history, scope, primary interests and research methods of medical anthropology (2) Identify various theoretical approaches anthropologists have used to study health, illness, and the body (3) Explain how culture influences health and healing practices, and views on disease, life and death, and (4) Describe how applied medical anthropology contributes to human wellness in the United States and globally.

In this project, students will conduct a (Stage 1) Rapid Ethnographic Assessment of the “production of health” in the student’s own household, create a (Stage 2) Health/Wellness-related Intervention that addresses some issue uncovered in the ethnographic assessment, and (Stage 3) develop an Intervention Evaluation Plan.

*NOTE* The intervention part of this project is not “for real” (unless you want it to be) and it can be as creative as you like. For example, if someone in your household suffers from chronic pain, from your reading about how people from different cultural worlds cope with chronic pain, you might design an intervention that incorporates heat and ice, pain medications, acupuncture, meditation, psychotherapy, and shamanic healing.

**START THINKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT AS SOON AS THE CLASS BEGINS**

The project must include: (Again, only include information you’re comfortable discussing)

STAGE 1

  1. An inventory of health/illness related products in the household (e.g., prescription medications, over the counter medications, medical devices, any foods or supplements eaten for health reasons, books, – anything you consider “health or illness related”). This inventory should not be focused on one illness/disorder/health issue. It should be all-inclusive.
  2. A record of health-seeking behavior exhibited by household Again, this should not relate to one problem – it should be all-inclusive.
  3. A record of health/illness-related conversations with others as close to verbatim as Start to notice and record conversations as soon as they happen.
  4. A list of resources that have an impact on your household’s heath/illness-related ideas and behaviors and household health status (e.g., time, health insurance, social support). Again, this should not focus on only one illness/problem, such as the illness episode.  The list should be comprehensive.  What do you have available to you (or not) that affects your household’s health in any way?
  5. Features of your community, state, national, and global environments that you think have an impact on your household’s heath/illness-related ideas and behaviors and household health status (e.g., national health insurance, industrial pollution, infectious agents, policies). Again, do not focus on one This should be comprehensive. I want to see that you understand how health, illness, and healing are related to people’s total environments.
  6. A comprehensive description of at least ONE (1) illness episode occurring in the household currently or during the previous six months (it can be very ordinary, like a cold or a headache), including information about the decisions that were made, how decisions were made, who made the decisions, what decision-making says about the power relationships within your household,
  7. Your own and any other relevant person’s explanatory models of the illness

STAGE 2

 

  1. An intervention that addresses at least one health-related issue in your household that you identified in your ethnographic (An intervention is some kind of action plan to eliminate or alleviate a problem.) This issue DOES NOT have to be the same issue discussed in component “f” above. Now is the time to focus on one issue. Try to find articles about your issue in the anthropology journals listed in the description of the Literature Review above or use any of our course readings that might deal with your issue to get ideas or to better understand how this issue may be experienced and dealt with in different cultural contexts.
  2. Ideas about the body, the person, health, illness, treatment, that underlie your intervention. These ideas should explain why  you think your intervention will work.  Think about your understandings and beliefs about how the body works, why “trouble” starts, what’s needed to fix it and why, etc.  Again, if you can find articles about your issue in anthropology journals or if your issue has been discussed in any of our course readings, compare your ideas with those of others.
  3. Features of the social, political, and economic environment and available/unavailable resources that will either support or impede implementing your  The point of this is to help you understand how “no man is an island” – your health and well-being are intricately connected to the context in which you live, to your immediate and larger social worlds.
  4. Possible unintended consequences (either positive or negative) of your Most interventions have unintended consequences.  For example, if you institute an exercise regimen for one person in the household, s/he may injure him/herself or, on the other hand, an intervention introduced to help one person in your household may spill over to other members of the household and their health may improve though they were not the “target” of the intervention.

STAGE 3

  1. A plan for evaluating your How will you know if it is successful (including your definition of “success”). Make this plan detailed. What are your long-term goals and shorter-term objectives of your intervention? What is your time frame? How will you measure whether you have achieved these goals and objectives?
  2. Finally, choose a setting other than your own that we have read about in one of our readings (e.g., Haiti, Botswana, Japan, Jamaica, ). How do you think the specific problem and intervention you have discussed/designed in this project and your experience of the problem and intervention would differ if you lived in this other setting instead of the setting in which you actually live? How would the resources you would have available to you affect this, assuming you were a member of the same economic “class” you are actually a member of?

**Students must also explain the ideas (theories) about the body, wellness, illness, healing, and illness that underlie the  intervention(s) they have chosen and the features of the physical, political, social, and economic environment that will either facilitate or impede the implementation of the intervention (e.g., health insurance does not cover psychotherapy, the physical labor required by the person’s job is the source of the pain, or (happily) a shaman lives next door and refuses payment for his services).**

Simply go down the list of all the required components in order and do what each tells you to do.  Please include a heading for each component to make it easier for me to determine which component you’re addressing.

Your project is already organized for you – you don’t have to add any additional sections such as an Introduction.  Just give me what I ask for and don’t make this more complicated than it is. This is not rocket science. But it does require close reading and following of instructions and attention to detail.

Your completed project should fully address all required components and demonstrate to me that you understand all the course concepts. It should be around 10-15 double-spaced pages.

The GRADING RUBRIC for the ethnographic project is posted below. You should pay close attention to the grading rubric because it explains what is expected for each grade. Use it as a checklist to make sure you have included all the required components of the project and do them in order.  You can use a list format for some components and a narrative format for others, whichever is appropriate.

Again, *do not make this more complicated than it is.* If I ask you for a list, give me a list. If I ask you to record a conversation, tell me the speaker and what he or she said as close to verbatim as you can. If you have questions please email me at: joonhyunmichael.choi@faculty.umuc.edu

Please also post questions that you think are of general interest in the “Cyber Café” conference thread. If I do not hear from you, I will assume that all of the instructions are clear and that you understand them.

Ethnographic Project Grading Rubric

**Please Note** Pay close attention to the descriptions of the grade ranges below. Take “Inventory,” for example. Listing 25 household objects is the minimum you need to receive a grade at the lower end of the “A to B” range. In other words, 25 listed objects will get you a “B-“ since it is the minimum required for the grade range “A-B.” Consequently, if you want an “A” you will obviously need to list (significantly) more than 25 objects. This same principle applies to all the other criteria: Health-seeking behaviors, conversations, etc.

A = 40.5 – 45 pts.                                     C = 31.5 – 35.5 pts.                    F = 0 pts.

B = 36 – 40 pts.                                        D = 27 – 31 pts.

15-12 pts. (A or B) 11.9-10.5 pts. (C) 10.49-0 pts. (D or F)
Inventory Listed at least 25 household objects, etc. related in some way to health or illness from different areas of household Listed 15-24 objects Listed <= 14 objects or did not submit project
Health-seeking Behavior Identified at least 20 health-seeking behaviors performed by household members Identified 10-19 behaviors Listed <= 9 behaviors or did not submit project
Conversations Demonstrated Demonstrated Did not accurately
excellent ability to record and identify themes and patterns in the conversations held about the illness average/acceptable abilities to record and analyze conversations record or analyze conversations – unable to recognize themes or patterns or did not submit project
Illness episode Description Demonstrated excellent observational skills by thoroughly and accurately describing

all aspects of the illness episode including treatments and other health- seeking behaviors, interactions with others, resources used, etc.

Demonstrated acceptable/average observational skills Description was “thin” – not many details provided or did not submit project
Resources Identified at least 20 resources either available or unavailable to the household members that affected household

health/illness

Identified 10-19 resources Identified
Environmental Features Demonstrated excellent understanding of ecological/evolutionary and CMA theoretical perspectives in discussion of environmental influences on household health Demonstrated average/acceptable understanding Did not demonstrate understanding of these two theoretical perspectives  or did not submit project
Intervention Developed a creative intervention for any issue that you identified in your ethnography that incorporated what has been learned in the course.  This issue can be, but does NOT have to be related to the illness episode you described. Developed an intervention plan that related somewhat to what has been learned in the

course

Intervention plan did not relate to what has been learned in the course or did not submit project
Culturally Constructed Ideas Demonstrated excellent ability to identify cultural ideas

about the body, person, health, illness, treatment, etc. that underlie your intervention.  What do you think what you want to do will work?

Demonstrated adequate ability to identify cultural themes and underlying ideas Demonstrated poor or no ability to identify cultural themes and underlying ideas or did not submit project
Environment Excellent discussion of the physical, political, social, and economic environment that will either facilitate or impede the implementation of the intervention Adequate discussion of the physical, political, social, and economic

environment that will either facilitate or impede the implementation of the intervention

Inadequate discussion of the physical, political, social, and economic environment that will either facilitate or impede the implementation of the intervention or did not submit project
Unintended Consequences Excellent discussion of possible unintended consequences of your intervention Adequate discussion of unintended consequences Inadequate discussion of unintended consequences or
did not submit project
Evaluation Plan Excellent and comprehensive evaluation plan including reasonable objectives, outcome measures, and other assessments that relate well to the intervention.  Make sure you measure what you hope to achieve in your intervention. Adequate evaluation plan Inadequate evaluation plan that does not include objectives, outcome measures; in

other words, a plan that does not actually evaluate the intervention or did not submit project

Comparison to Other Setting Demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of own setting and appropriately compared its resources and challenges to those of another setting Demonstrated adequate knowledge of own setting and appropriately compared its resources and challenges to those of another setting Inadequate demonstration of knowledge of own setting and inadequate comparison or did not submit project
Writing Quality No or less than 3 3-5 errors in spelling More than 5
errors in spelling or or grammar errors in spelling
grammar including including incomplete or grammar
incomplete sentences sentences including
incomplete
sentences

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