Creighton University has created a program to examine how health care is viewed and delivered in various cultures.
The “medical anthropology” program leads to either a master's degree or graduate certificate and will be offered almost exclusively online. Students will spend a few days on campus for orientation.
The medical anthropology program will be overseen by the department of sociology, anthropology and social work. Depending on the classes they take, students may analyze the AIDS epidemic in some African nations or the tuberculosis problem in Russian cities.
They may compare Ayurvedic medicine of India or Chinese traditional medicine with the approaches used in the United States.
Laura Heinemann, assistant professor of anthropology, said the program should provide new insights for those training to be medical doctors, physical therapists, nurses or dentists.
The master's program will consist of 12 courses and 36 credit hours; the graduate certificate, six courses and 18 credit hours. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2013, for the program that starts in late April.
Helen Chapple, assistant professor in the Center for Health Policy and Ethics, said the program will enable health professionals to appreciate other cultures' perspectives on medical care. For instance, she said, some cultures believe a doctor should thoroughly inform the family about a patient's condition and prognosis rather than the patient himself.
LuAnn Schwery, assistant dean of Creighton's graduate school, said the university already is receiving applications from prospective students. She said the university hopes to have 10 to 15 students in the initial program.
Those who want to apply should go to www.creighton.edu/gradschool.
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