TORONTO, May 27th 2019 – During a three week visit to Canada (see my post on Montreal here), I spent two weeks as a visiting researcher at the illustrious Wilson Centre at the University of Toronto, home of some of the most inspiring and innovative research at the intersections of the social sciences/humanities and medical education research. During my stay I had rich, long conversations with the scientists, developed ideas for a new paper and built new collaborations for future work. I also gave a talk at the Toronto General Hospital, on ways in which anthropology may find new places in medical education (see below).
Toronto is another Canadian city with many amazing researchers and centres – I was fortunate to be able to meet up with the inspiring Denielle Elliott of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, my Maastricht colleague Conor Douglas, as well as attend a workshop as part of the outreach program of the Toronto International Film Festival on how to include films in public events.
Reconsidering a Place for Anthropology in Medical Education
In medical education, the term qualitative research is often discussed without discrimination. The social sciences are consolidated, yet the lineages and approaches of each discipline within the social sciences are quite diverse. In this talk I wish to focus on the contribution of one field in particular, anthropology, as a distinctive qualitative research approach. Ethnography, the methodology used by anthropologists, is not unfamiliar to medical education. Yet an anthropological perspective can add so much more to medical education than this method. In this talk I will discuss four areas of contribution in particular: 1) theory, through inductive fieldwork; 2) methodology, through apprenticeship techniques; 3) pedagogy, through training observation; and 4) writing, through attention to stories. Empirically, I will include examples from my research team’s project, funded by the European Research Council, Making Clinical Sense. This is a historical-anthropological project looking at the role of technologies in teaching sensory diagnostic skills in medical schools in Eastern and Western Europe and West Africa.