Anthropology

How Columbus Day perpetuates a silent legacy of settler colonialism

Today’s movement advancing racial justice and social equality has led many to ponder America’s colonial history as well. Tangible artifacts of settler colonialism present themselves all around us, from the lands upon which our cities were built to the museums that display relics of tribal communities. Yet, other artifacts operate on a more sinister, subconscious level. Columbus Day, a prime…

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Social Determinants of Health

Culture’s effect on well-being: Examining connections between industrialism, mental health, and culture-bound syndromes

Although public health has an objective and scientific connotation, systems of thought and belief also affect well-being, with equal, if not greater, impact. For instance, global differences in the occurrence of mental health conditions reveal that social conditions are in part responsible for citizens’ mental health. Furthermore, in a world of globalization, cultural diffusion has affected societal standards in even…

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Public Health

Analyzing the effects of mask-wearing and social distancing on brain development in children

Throughout Homo sapiens’ rich history, our species has evolved to become deeply social animals. For instance, the first hunter-gatherers lived in bands, allowing their members to depend on each other for food and resources. Similarly, our most basic unit of community—the family—reflects our ability to develop deep relationships that often last us a lifetime. The unique social aspect of the…

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Public Health

How COVID-19 is affecting the BLM movement: An intersection of public health and racial justice

In the last few weeks, we have seen a tremendous increase in awareness about racial inequality in America. Fortunately, progress is occurring at an accelerating pace thanks to the tireless efforts of protesters and activists. Because of our country’s history, protesting is deeply symbolic of our core American identity, as it represents our defiance towards injustice and wrongdoing. Now more…

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Public Health

Developing OcularCheck, an app that detects visual refractive errors: Sharing my story of vision care (pt. 2)

My visit to the Lions Sight Research Foundation’s eye clinic (read more here) “opened my eyes” to the world of visual impairments. Although I’d experienced my own visual impairment as a personal reality, I didn’t notice that it occurred on a much larger scale until witnessing this firsthand at the eye clinic. From the stream of patients waiting at the…

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Social Determinants of Health

Why I’m passionate about medical anthropology and public health: Sharing my story of vision care (pt. 1)

In 3rd grade, my math class was playing Around the World—a game where whoever solves a multiplication problem the fastest can go “around” the classroom—to help us memorize our times tables. Every time it was my turn, I stood up, but I was never able to answer.  What numbers is everyone looking at? Why can’t I see them? I thought.…

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Social Determinants of Health

The silent killers of society: How health illiteracy and cultural stigmas affect thousands of rural communities worldwide

In the U.S., we teach our kids from an early age to make healthy choices in life—I recall how many of my elementary school days were spent learning about “go/slow/whoa” foods, the “fuel up to play 60” campaign, and the healthy-eating pyramid. As much as I may have disliked their dull repetitiveness at the time, these catchy slogans had made…

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Social Determinants of Health

How the most primal of human necessities affect public health today: A global understanding of malnutrition and food insecurity

Food, water, and shelter—the three necessities of our ancestors, dating from tens of millennia ago, are still ever-important to our survival. In modern-day society, food has become an essential aspect of the cultural landscape of cities; as a result, what food one has access to is dependent on their geographical location, income, and status. Unfortunately, nutrition in marginalized communities is…

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Social Determinants of Health

Education in the K-12 system: A social determinant of health that extends beyond the child’s classroom

Author’s note: This is the second post of the social determinants of health series, in which I discuss international public health disparities and societal factors contributing to public health. In these posts, I’ll delve into my journey into the field of public health, specifically focusing on eye care/visual impairments in underprivileged communities, while describing my experiences along the way. The…

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