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AnthroPolitique

International Development and Affairs, Culture, and Cross-Disciplinary Topics

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Anthropology

Why International Issues Must be Addressed with Cross-Disciplinary Responses: The Case of Ebola

Ebola has taken over media as an international health concern in 2014. With questions mounting over whether Ebola will become widespread and how to contain the disease, it is time to bridge the gap between the natural and social sciences. More specifically, it is essential to integrate research in key areas such as public health and epidemiology with key information in fields such as anthropology.

My first encounter with a story that expressed the bridge between the Ebola outbreak and anthropologists was in NPR publication, “The Experts The Ebola Response May Need: Anthropologists”. In the article, NPR staff point out that anthropologists may be key in addressing the Ebola outbreak, given their knowledge of local traditions as related to the spread of the disease, as well as the understanding of how fear plays a role in the epidemic.

In this post, I suggest that anthropology does not stop short of providing assistance in the realm of knowledge of local customs or fears of Ebola – anthropologists provide a wealth of knowledge through the use of ethnographic research and observation that is key to addressing a number of issues, Ebola included.

The reality is that in many cases, through in-depth understanding and wholistic studies, anthropologists are aware of potential widespread issues, whether they be social, political, or public health concerns, well before others in separate fields. The Ebola outbreaks acts as no exception.

Aside from providing an anthropological analysis of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, a more direct message must be expressed: Ebola not only represents a failure of a number of health systems and the weakness of the international community in responding to global health issues. The 2014 Ebola outbreak represents the failure to address the desperate need to find cross-disciplinary solutions to global issues.

Anthropology is unique in that it provides an understanding of groups, interactions, phenomenon, ideas, and a number of other factors that are encompassed in the “study of mankind”. The gap between social and natural sciences must be bridged to provide for the free-flow of knowledge across fields. As we recognize the need for sustainable solutions, “sustainability” must become synonymous with “cross-disciplinary”.

Suggested Reading: “Notes from Case Zero: Anthropology in the time of Ebola“; “Ebola in Perspective

Introducing “AnthroPolitique”

Dear Reader,

I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop AnthroPolitique. To help familiarize you with what you will find as you browse, I would like to provide you with a brief introduction which will include a bit about my background.

My name is Leighann Eileithyia Kimble and I am the founder of Logrando Juntos, Inc., an organization focused on providing education, ESL, and childcare resources to those in underprivileged communities. As a growing organization, we seek to provide assistance and support to individuals in every corner of the world.

In a separate role, I am Executive Assistant to Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, Director of USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Projects and Senior Vice President of the Quality & Performance Institute at University Research Co., LLC (URC). In this role, I lead various administrative tasks, ranging from scheduling and travel planning, to event hosting for major organizations. This position has allowed me to not only host, but to participate in individual meetings involving organizations such as WHO, CDC, and the Embassy of the Republic of Georgia.

I hold a MA in International Relations from Webster University and a BA in Anthropology, International Relations, and Asian Studies from Mary Baldwin College. My research experience and passion lies in International Relations, Humanitarian Affairs, Anthropology, and Latin American Studies.

In short, this blog will be open to a variety of topics ranging from international relations and anthropology to public health and policy. I invite you to contribute your own comments and views as you read, and to keep an open mind should you come across an entry, comment, or idea that is different from your own.

Happy reading!

– Leighann E. Kimble, MA

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