The panel discussion “Medical anthropology in science and higher education” (summary)

© 2012 G.S. Popovkina

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Key words: Medical anthropology, bibliometry, perceptions of health, illness and treatments, keeping a healthy-life-style, “professional exhaustion / “burning out” of physicians

Abstract: The material overviews the contents of discussions, which took place in the framework of the panel discussion “Medical anthropology in science and higher education”, which took place on the 18th of November 2011. The author highlights the goals of the event, as well as the contents of the key reports and main issues of the discussion, which followed the reports.

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The panel discussion “Medical anthropology in science and higher education” was held on the 18th of November by the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the People of the Far East (the Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Science) and Central Research Library of the Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Science.

The main objective of the discussion was to define the perspectives and the position of medical anthropology in the field of anthropological science and university studies. The meeting in question should be considered an attempt to establish a common ground for discussions of the challenging problems in the sphere of medical anthropology by far eastern scientists.

A review of publications, citation indices and a number of medical anthropology journals in various countries was presented by Akhat A. Nabiullin in his report, based on the databases Web of Science and Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory.

Galina S. Popovkina dedicated her presentation to the problem of the healing gift of grace in Eastern Christianity. The phenomenon of znakharstvo (arcane knowledge) and its relation to the orthodox treatment was analyzed. The author believes that the main cause of discrepancy between these two traditions is the difference between ideological concepts (ethical beliefs, ideas about the world order, energy and the possibility of its use, etc.). According to the author, physicians should acquire knowledge of traditional medicinal concepts, beliefs about health, illness and treatments, spread in various ethnocultural and social environments.

Medicine as an area of natural and humanitarian sciences, the problem of norm and abnormality in the human health were discussed in Vladimir N. Bocharnikov’s report.  The author made the conclusion that it’s necessary to organize a new system of knowledge in psychology, hygiene, valeology, etc., that would concentrate on promotion of a healthy life style instead of the traditional problems of the ill.

Alexandra G. Mukhotina has touched on the issue of illness’s rejuvenation, “professional burning out” (professional exhaustion) of physicians. While the heeling of diseases should be based on the holistic approach, according to the author, prevention of professional exhaustion could be assured by certain measures, including improvement of working conditions, maintaining of good physical form etc.

The following subjects were discussed very actively: the problems of perception of health and illness in various communities, holistic view of human treatment, research of healing in various cultures, interaction between medicine and humanitarian sciences, teaching of medical anthropology and bioethics in higher education. All the members agreed on the importance of the discussion of challenging modern medical and social problems, sharing experience among scientists and educators of the higher school. In the end of the meeting the members decided to hold such kind of panel discussions every year.

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