During Spring 2009, I taught another semester of my Medical Anthropology, ANTH 3252 course for undergraduate students in the Department of Anthropology and at other local universities. Since I had also transitioned this course from the face-to-face traditional format to online, I used the online blackboard tools and software. I strongly felt that this Medical Anthropology needed to be online for a couple of years since my arrival in the department because it could capture a larger undergraduate audience than we I first taught it here at ECU. This is another course that I developed years ago (actually 1989) and now became even more excited in its new online format.
For those who are interested in this course, here are the major course objectives:
1. To provide a comprehensive introduction to the subspecialty of Medical Anthropology — its fundamental principles and key concepts.
2. To encourage awareness of cultural health perspectives and issues.
3. To apply principles and strategies derived from medical anthropology toward planning, implementing and evaluating health intervention programs.
During the spring semester, students receive their lectures via podcast and webcam format. The podcast and webcam lectures highlights the major key points from the designated readings from each week. Students also receive a set of discussion board questions each week along with the opportunity to participate in our weekly chat sessions usually in the early evening. The advantages of this online technology allows many students to engage in all types of interaction whether in the structured format of the discussion board session or the free-flowing semi-structured format of the chat room sessions. In either case, students really get into the specific medical anthropological topics of the week!
Along with the weekly activities, students are also required to complete a fieldwork project or a proposed fieldwork project. I know that these fieldwork projects allow students to take this course further and get truly involved into a specific health topic that they are interested. Although many students are a bit hesitant as to what type of practical topic that they can do, but once I show them how to do an applied medical anthropological fieldwork project, they realize that most any health-related topic can be conducted for their project. By the end, these applied medical anthropological fieldwork projects and/or proposals are outstanding.
Here is a list of some of the projects completed by students this past spring 2009 semester:
Fieldwork in Pitt County Memorial Hospital
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Prevalence of Addictive Behaviors in Asian/Pacific Islander Populations
Doctors vs Doulas: Examining Reasons Women Choose Alternative Birthing Methods
Ethnic Variations in Breastfeeding
Cultural Beliefs and Individual Health Care Decisions
Autism and ABA Therapy Training
The New Hanover County Health Department and Health Promotion
Hypertension in the African American Community
Autism, Is There a Connection Between the Disability and Vaccinations?
Maori Health Care
Western Health Care
Again, these student medical anthropological fieldwork projects were amazing and they helped to uncover the cultural health component related to each topic. That’s really the major goal of this class.