Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Anthropology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Wisconsin / Madison

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2002
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Massachusetts / Amherst
Making Doctors in Malawi: Local Exigencies Meet Global Identities in an African Medical School

When a biomedical curriculum is exported from the First World to the Third, what embedded cultural values come along? How is the role of the physician constituted in the intersecting discourses of Western biomedicine and post-colonial political identity, in the face of the massive pressures of economic globalization and local health crises? To date, empirical research on professional socialization has been restricted almost completely to North America. In this era of globalization, in which biomedicine is learned and practiced worldwide, the universality of socializing processes cannot be assumed. This cross-sectional qualitative study will explore the evolution of professional identity during medical training in a new medical school in Malawi. The primary objective is to document the changes in the values and norms that make up professional identity. This objective will be accomplished with three sequential research tools: focus group discussions, interviews and questionnaires. Students throughout the medical training program, interns and graduates will be asked to participate. Archival research and faculty interviews will add other perspectives. This study has been collaboratively designed to assess the latent function of medical education and how it interacts with other forms of political and economic globalization.