News • January 12, 2018

New anthropology class will examine cross-cultural views of medicine

Antro 320 CBU

Riverside, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2018) – Students at California Baptist University have a new opportunity to delve into cross-cultural views of human health with a course called Ethnomedicine (ANT320).

Offered for the first time at CBU this spring, the course covers the biomedical model (Western medicine) and compares and contrasts it with other ethnomedical models, said Dr. Ash Melika, associate professor of archaeology/anthropology.

Melika said the course aims to produce cultural sensitivity.

“Exposure to different cultures always creates awareness,” Melika said.

The course will additionally explore ethnographic materials that are used in Western and non-Western settings and how they are culturally shaped. Moreover, students will cover health issues pertaining to suffering, illness, death and life after death, Melika said.

Even in the Western world, people are interested in alternative medicine and other cultures are influencing the Western medical structure, Melika said.

“In California, I think it’s very important to be culturally aware, because we’re very diversified,” Melika said. “Becoming conscientious of the patient and how people view medicine and illnesses are important.”

Beyond cultural differences, there are also common human experiences that tie us all together, Melika added.

“Sometimes we emphasize the human differences, but the commonalities between human beings and shared experiences are also something that we should stress in order to look beyond cultural differences, and from a Christian point of view, see people as God’s image,” Melika said.