History of Medicine · Medicine & Doctors · Public health

Understanding healthcare and medicine in India – by going above and beyond conventional sources

I am a medical doctor currently studying the history of medicine and medical anthropology (PhD). After graduating (MBBS) in 2010, I worked as medical officer and resident doctor in some hospitals, both government and corporate, for four years, and then worked as a research assistant at the Public Health Foundation of India for a few months in 2016. I have also studied health policy (Master’s in Public Health, MPH, 2014-15).

‘Parallel’ sources of knowledge about healthcare and medicine, especially about the patient side of healthcare:

After such a several years-long background in medical sciences and public health, I have now been treading in the world of social sciences for almost two years. It has been a very enlightening period for me, and I have begun looking at my own medical and public health concepts and knowledge in new light – what I believe is a far brighter light than that shone by medical science or public health education alone. More specifically, it is the disciplines of history of science/medicine, sociology of science/medicine, and medical anthropology that I have learnt most from.

People in the social sciences are doing amazing work, and the knowledge and ideas they produce help understand health, disease, illness, medicine, etc. in as important ways as do laboratories and medical textbooks. Besides, when it comes to making a difference to people’s lives (and making policies), it is now clear that healthcare practitioners on the ground will benefit immensely if they knew and employed concepts and findings from such multiple disciplines. For example, a general practitioner in India might find fruitful many of the writings and research findings of someone like Veena Das, who has studied extensively for almost four decades, the lives of and health aspects of people living in Delhi’s slums.

Accessing these sources of knowledge:

The work from social sciences has the potential to benefit many different groups of people, including:

  • medical students
  • medical doctors
  • public health practitioners
  • public health students and researchers
  • health policymakers

There are two important barriers to making available the social sciences work to these and other group of people. Firstly, and perhaps more importantly, the language and vocabularies employed in social science works are often very difficult to follow for anyone outside the disciplines. Secondly, there doesn’t exist a stable, reliable, kind of one-stop resource where one can go and find relevant material. I wish to work mainly in the resolution of these two barriers.

I think having a Facebook ‘page’ is the most convenient way these goals can be achieved.

What the Facebook Page will be about:

Primarily, the FB page will showcase ideas and concepts from – medical sociology, anthropology, and history – that doctors and public health researchers do not conventionally learn in their colleges or through interactions with their colleagues – in addition to interesting stuff from the core disciplines of medicine and public health. In many ways, this is about, to use the cliche, “What you don’t learn in medical school”.

Overall, the posts will be helpful not just for medical/public health students and doctors, but also for anyone working in healthcare, including administrative personnel and policymakers.

Besides, if any readers wish additional information, details, or any other stuff, I urge them to message me through the page and I will be happy to help.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE FACEBOOK PAGEhttps://www.facebook.com/history.medicine.public.health.india/

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