The Cultures, Minds and Medicines certificate focused on the difference between disease and illness, and on how culture impacts that experience. The certificate consisted of a series of bi-weekly seminars and one course outside the student’s degree-granting program.
The Cultures, Minds and Medicines certificate provided opportunities to learn about the interconnections between social formations, culture, and experience, and their implications for clinical and anthropological research. Medical anthropologists distinguish disease (an organic process in the body) from illness (the lived experience of disease). We believe that illness is shaped by the way disease is identified, diagnosed, and treated; by which symptoms are made meaningful in a particular setting and by the kind of suffering that motivates care; by medical culture, clinical practice, the consequences of disability and the legal right to care; by the distribution of wealth and poverty; by both the intimate and the broad social world.
The certificate program provided an introduction to the interdisciplinary context needed to grasp the complexity of the illness experience. Students began to appreciate this complexity through attending the biweekly workshops in Cultures, Minds and Medicines over the course of a year, and through taking at least one relevant course outside of their degree-granting program, as approved by the faculty certificate committee. This work outside the student’s degree-granting program facilitated interdisciplinary understanding and fostered dialogue between the social sciences, life sciences, and humanities.
Three terms attendance at the Culture, Minds and Medicines Workshop, and one course, (approved by the committee), outside the student’s degree-granting program.
The Cultures, Minds and Medicines workshop involved speakers from Medical Anthropology, Cultural Psychology, and Medicine. Attendance was 25-40 people, and included students from medicine, anthropology, psychology and a range of other fields. It was a truly eye-opening experience for students to listen to each other speak, sharing different perspectives.
Students had to take at least one relevant course outside of their degree-granting program, as approved by the faculty certificate committee. In most cases, non-anthropologists enrolled in a graduate level anthropology course, and anthropologists enrolled in a course in medicine, psychology or some other discipline.