Medical Anthropology and Global Health

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington announces a new and dynamic area of emphasis in Medical Anthropology and Global Health (MAGH). Exploring phenomena from the molecular to the global level, MAGH uniquely integrates approaches from social, cultural, medical and biocultural anthropology into a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing local and global health issues. With anthropology faculty renowned for their scholarship on population and health, and links to programs across campus addressing global health, the area of emphasis provides a venue for new insights, new approaches and new opportunities for understanding human health and well-being.

Overview of Mission

In recent years, technological innovations and the promotion of free trade and free market economic policies have led to extraordinary transformations in information, communication and production systems around the world. This process of globalization has led to unprecedented integration of economies. It has also brought about extensive population mobility and human contact while intensifying economic disparities. World population growth remains significant and unequal across countries. Life chances and life quality within and between communities and countries are increasingly unequal. This deepening gap is sharply reflected in the disparities that exist in peoples’ health and in their health care. There is also an increasing appreciation that human biology is not everywhere identical but has instead been shaped by local environment and history, and thus local health and disease may not be amenable to universal preventative and palliative medical approaches. In order to affect change, there is a need to understand these dynamics and examine the forces shaping individual, community and global health patterns. Understanding health problems in this century requires adoption of a broad and creative vision in order to illuminate the complex links between local and global, and the exchange and flow of resources, technologies, ideas, cultural values and people.

We seek to train a new generation of scholars who will be equipped to address pressing health concerns in our increasingly globalized world. The mission of training in Medical Anthropology and Global Health is to provide students and future health professionals with the skills necessary to identify and operationalize methods, analytical frameworks and campus-community partnerships that contribute to addressing health challenges around the world.

Training is available at both the undergraduate and graduate level.