ERIN: So hi, everybody. So as Professor Hodzic introduced me, my name is Erin. I'm a senior in the College of Human Ecology, studying human development.
But I also have a minor in anthropology. And as I heard a lot of you are, I was on the premed track. And it fulfilled all those premed requirements.
Just talk about my personal experience a little bit being premed, as well-- I think that the anthropology minor has been really informative and helpful in trying to consider different lenses and different realms in which we can view medicine. So this class in particular, I think the name was just really catching for me, as it probably was for a lot of you-- Medicine, Culture, and Society.
So how can medicine be more integrated? How can we consider people's lifestyles and how that's going to inform how they're receiving their treatment or how we're interacting with them as physicians? So I think that really drew me into this class.
And this was one of my two intro anthropology classes. And then I went on to pursue some higher-level classes for the minor, as well. But something that I really appreciate about anthropology is it gives us a different framework for considering the world. It really is like a different school of thinking.
This idea of not everything having an absolute answer was something that was very different than a lot of my premed classes and something that I really appreciated, being able to kind of compare with the way that I have been traditionally taught other things here. So in terms of this class, I think it definitely helped me consider more of the patient experience and realize how important the culture that somebody is in is going to be in treating whatever their illness is and making sure you understand their background.
But in terms of other classes I've taken through the department, I also took a class on hip-hop. It was called Women in Hip-Hop. That was another really great lens for me to kind of view more contemporary styles of life and experience.
And then I also took a class on hope and futility-- so thinking about how that might even play in a medical context, thinking about whether someone's hopeful about their treatment or not as optimistic. So I really think that the anthropology minor has given me that opportunity to kind of explore a lot of different areas.
And it is incredibly interdisciplinary. So you can take classes in all of these different areas of anthropology, not just medical anthropology. So really, I think that it was a really strong focal point in my career, especially going into medicine.
So it's five classes in total. So this counts as one of them. And then you would need four other ones. There's a little bit of a distribution, in terms of what different requirements you need to fill. But if you take upper-level classes, those could count for lower-level classes, as well. So it does give you that flexibility to take things as random as hip-hop or hope or medical anthropology and kind of all combine them into one minor.
So it was definitely really satisfying. And I checked off three of them before I even realized I wanted to pursue the minor-- so definitely something that fits really easily into your schedule, even if you are kind of structured with the premed classes all the time, as well.
And for anybody non-premed, I think anthropology, again, just supplies a really good lens for looking at the world. Whether or not you are going into medicine, it's always great to understand how people interact in space and what kind of their mores and culture is.
AUDIENCE: I am also premed and doing an anthropology minor. But how do you personally view other classes that maybe aren't as straightforward as Medicine, Culture, and Society?
AUDIENCE: How have you used those classes in aiding your premed background?
ERIN: Yeah. So I definitely think that this is the class that I took that relates most directly. But again, kind of harking on this idea of anthropology provides a different framework that then I can apply to things-- so again, in any calc class you're taking, in any orgo class you're taking, there's an answer that we're going for.
And anthropology really pushes this idea that there's no one correct answer and that you have to consider individualized experiences to kind of get to a whole. And I think that that's so relevant in medicine. You need to be empathetic. You need to have kind of the social sciences mindset in order for you to be a strong physician.
You can know all the numbers. You can get all the stats right. But if you don't really contextualize what's going on, people are going to say you're a crappy physician.
So I think that background, even if the class isn't specific on medicine, is really something that I've been able to gain from anthropology. Even in things like hip-hop, where I was listening to music-- and I think I saw Kim over there. She took that class as well-- but really awesome class that, again, had me thinking about the framework that people are brought up in and currently living in today. And that's so relevant for if you're trying to treat someone's condition or illness.
AUDIENCE: One of the things that stood out in your presentation is you were talking about how important diversity is in the medical profession. I'm wondering, does that conversation come up or happen in any capacity in premed courses? And my follow-up question is going to be about what are the moments when that has come up in the anthropology minor.
ERIN: Yeah, totally. So in terms of my premed coursework, it might be different for other students. But it seems very cut and dry. These are the things that you're meant to be learning for the MCAT.
And they seem very removed from medicine, as well. I very, very rarely will have a teacher actually reference the medical profession. And I think a lot of times, it's because those professors aren't in the medical profession. If someone's teaching you organic chemistry, that's their passion and that's what they love. They're not necessarily going to tell you why this carbon molecule is relevant for our medical education.
And so maybe that's something I would see down the road in med school. But definitely, my strongest touch with how do these sort of things actually play into the medical profession have been in my anthropology classes. Medicine, Culture, and Society specifically, I feel like I really got a cohesive picture of why it's important to understand people's backgrounds.
And also, I took a Spanish class that was kind of medically focused. And that, I think, also kind of opened my understanding to what people's expectations are in different areas. And so I think really any touch I've had on kind of contextualizing or rooting what I'm going to be using my premed studies for has been through either anthropological discussion in non-anthropology classes or my anthropology classes, for sure.
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Anthropology minor Erin Grohe discusses how Anthropology helps prepare students for a career in medicine.