Medical Anthropology and Global Health

The medical field is changing. Today’s health professionals need to know how disease and illness are viewed in different parts of the world, how evolutionary theory can inform our understanding of health and disease, how treatment and medical interventions vary between cultures, and how cultural forces impact individual health. Anthropology—the study of human variation across time and space—provides a biological and cross-cultural approach towards understanding medicine, health, and well-being.  

Global Health professionals agree that anthropological insights, knowledge, and skills are essential to Medical and Health professions in the 21st Century.  In Nature Magazine Nils Daulaire, president of the Global Health Council states that "the skills in demand are management, cultural understanding, and an anthropological viewpoint". In the same essay, Harold Jaffe, a "public-health expert at the University of Oxford, UK, states that behavioral scientists, economists, and anthropologists can "play a role equally important to medical doctors."

Researcher working in a lab

Departmental research is at the leading edge of discovery in Medical Anthropology and Global Health with foci in human evolution, primate biology, development and well-being, violence studies, human variation and menopause, bio-cultural theory, spirituality and well-being, and much more.

Pre-Med and Pre-Health

“Pre-med students with an Anthropology background are looked at very favorably in their applications to medical school and other health professions”.

–UMass Professor and Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advisor Wilmore Wembley

Our department’s flexible program pairs well with the pre-med/pre-health track. And our departmental advising can help you tailor your coursework to advance your long-term career interests.