Medical Anthropologist Job Description

Medical Anthropologist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a medical anthropologist. Feel free to use our medical anthropologist job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a medical anthropologist.


Who is a Medical Anthropologist?

Medical anthropology is a branch of study that aims to provide students with a framework for identifying and analyzing social, cultural, behavioral, and environmental aspects concerning health and disease or illness in any given civilization. Medical anthropologists are neither medics nor professional doctors, but they are commonly found in the health care system since they play an incisive role in including cultural components in disease diagnosis and treatment.


A medical anthropologist studies various elements of human health and health care. He or she can try to explain why certain diseases afflict a population or how cultural norms influence medical procedures in a specific place. Medical anthropologists work for a variety of organizations, including universities, charitable organizations, government health agencies, and private research organizations. Their efforts frequently result in the establishment of better educational and medical services for those living in impoverished cultures.

The criteria for becoming a medical anthropologist vary depending on the type of employment desired. Before working in the field for academic or independent research purposes, one must have a Ph.D. degree in the specialty and several years of postdoctoral research experience. Many medical anthropologists have also licensed doctors, allowing them to provide firsthand care and assist in the establishment of clinics for underserved people.

Most medical anthropologists divide their time between on-site ethnographic investigations and off-site research. A professional would frequently spend months or years living among a certain group of people, gathering observations and conducting interviews to understand more about the state of health and medicine in their community. For example, a medical anthropologist may spend time with an African tribe that has historically been isolated from most of the outside world. He or she would try to find out what the members know about the disease and how they care for their loved ones. The anthropologist would study various treatments for various illnesses, such as practicing medicine, plant extracts, and ceremonial prayers.

The information obtained by a medical anthropologist is useful in understanding the parallels and differences in cultural attitudes about health care. Anthropologists rarely stop at simply learning what groups do and believe. They offer guidance and support to help people improve their situations by relying on their expertise in worthwhile medical practices. The medical anthropologist working with the African tribe may attempt to explain the true origin of diseases, teach them how to avoid infections, and discuss how to cure common maladies.

Anthropologists who work for government and charity organizations are frequently involved in initiatives to make modern medicine accessible to underserved populations. They may construct hospitals or temporary medical clinics to service a population, or they may collaborate with local governments to improve national or regional healthcare standards. Medical anthropologists frequently love their work and their skills are frequently valued by individuals they may assist.


Medical Anthropologist Job Description

Below are the medical anthropologist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a medical anthropologist job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a medical anthropologist include the following:

Conduct research by reading books, reports, and other papers and conducting interviews with other specialists.

  • Teach undergraduate and graduate classes whenever feasible.
  • Create healthcare policy and collaborate with government leaders.
  • Work with other scientists, doctors, and researchers to achieve your goals.
  • Conduct research and publish research papers and journal articles.
  • Participate in workshops, lectures, and other networking and learning opportunities.
  • Travel to different campuses, do fieldwork and give presentations.
  • Communicate with healthcare experts, policy analysts, consultants, social workers, and other stakeholders.
  • Keep up to date on the newest advancements in medical anthropology.



The requirements  needed to practice as a medical anthropologist are as follows:

  • A degree in either anthropology, medicine, social work, psychology, or a related field is required.
  • A doctorate in anthropology, medicine, social work, or psychology is required.
  • Successful completion of an internship in one of the following disciplines: anthropology, medicine, social work, or psychology.
  • Possession of published research articles in medical anthropology is quite beneficial.
  • Resilience and the capacity to work long hours are required.
  • The willingness and ability to relocate are needed.


Essential Skills

The essential requirements for the post of a medical anthropologist are enlisted below:

  1. Knowledge of Human Diversity: Whatever discipline is emphasized, a medical anthropology major learns about different cultures and how they differ from their own, as well as how to diagnose and treat ailments specific to that community or society. These variances are considered a resource that might offer new ways of thinking and new opportunities in the treatment of illnesses, which is a distinct benefit in the professional arena. After being acquainted with a wide range of behaviors, beliefs, and values, the student is likely to be more culturally sensitive and adaptable in dealings not only with co-workers and clients but also with neighbors and community health concerns. These abilities also help him or her to live and operate in an increasingly multicultural and globalized environment.

Thorough understanding of Research technicalities and methods of data collection: Similarly, whether the student’s experience in school is documenting artifacts at an archaeological site, taking measurements of human bones, or recording the daily course of social interaction, all medical anthropologists learn research skills about how to collect quality information, analyze information to identify important details, and relate those particulars to a larger issue, which is the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Medical, As a result, anthropological training improves the ability to conceive in terms of whole systems rather than just isolated portions of such systems. It also promotes the use of many approaches to learning about a topic, as well as examining different interpretations of the results. Furthermore, anthropologists frequently investigate “behind the scenes” elements of topics to ensure that the appropriate questions are being addressed in the first place. These habits prepare graduates to be critical thinkers and capable contributors to a wide range of initiatives, from beginning to end.

  1. Sound Communication Skills: Medical anthropologists acknowledge that knowledge is useless unless it is shared with others to improve their well-being, hence the discipline also promotes written and oral communication skills. Clear communication entails not only clear speaking and writing, but also conveying relevant background information and being mindful of one’s audience. Medical anthropologists study and work with a wide range of people, including community members, coworkers, and those who fund research. As a result, they learn to adjust their message to the receiving group’s health requirements. This skill to generate understandable and relevant reports and presentations is in high demand across numerous industries and is required in many occupations.

In short, a degree in anthropology provides students with marketable skills, whether the final objective is additional study, a job within the subject, or employment outside of it. Anthropology graduates are competitive prospects in today’s employment market because they have knowledge of and effective approaches to cultural diversity, the capacity to gather and analyze information, and great communication skills.

  1. The passion and curiosity to explore other societies and their overall wellbeing: One of the main motivations for all medical anthropologists is a desire to learn about other people’s cultures. Medical anthropologists frequently travel outside of their own culture to immerse themselves in another society’s dynamic ways of living, interacting, and curing illnesses.
  2. Interest in human interactions and how it shapes their understanding of curing sicknesses: If you want to investigate human interactions and how they impact societies and individual human behaviors, as well as gain knowledge of their health beliefs, a career in medical anthropology may be a good fit for you. Depending on your area of interest, you may choose to focus on a specific aspect of Anthropology; there are various aspects such as Media Anthropology, which investigates human interactions within the media space; Cyborg anthropology, which deals with human interactions with technology; medical anthropology, which investigates how the medicine affects society; Economic Anthropology, which explains human economic behaviors; and many more diverse aspects.

Anthropology can be applied to any aspect of society today, and anthropologists now work in a variety of occupations ranging from assisting corporations in understanding how people’s identities shape their use of technology, to researching workplace culture and social relationships, to working with gangs and vagrants to understand their social patterns.

  1. Passion for vast knowledge: If you have an inquisitive spirit that leads you to study various subjects and get a broad knowledge of things, you already possess one of the most important characteristics of an anthropologist.
  2. Anthropologists frequently investigate the human experience throughout history via four lenses: history, biology, languages, and culture. Anthropological education includes courses in archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and ethnography. As a result, Anthropology students must be willing to explore various knowledge elements.
  3. The eagerness to learn about cultural systems and logic: If you are interested in the meaning and function of myths, rituals, superstitions, religion, marriage systems, kinship, and other cultural phenomena, you are already on your path to becoming a brilliant anthropologist.
  4. Passion for understanding History: The primary goal of anthropology is to understand human conditions from the past to the present and to apply that knowledge to improve those conditions. As a result, if you have a strong sense of history and are always curious about how things and behaviors come to be, you should carefully pursue a career in Anthropology.
  5. Willingness to carry out research and explore your world: To a large part, the life of an anthropologist entails substantial travel for research and exploration of various cultures. And anthropological procedures frequently demand them to live among the culture they are researching for an extended period. This may appear tedious if you lack the anthropologist’s innate urge to explore and expose yourself to cultural traditions other than your own. Anthropology requires close interaction with the people being researched, whether it is a culture from the past or a modern community. An anthropologist must ask inquiries and be concerned about a society’s ethical dilemmas.


How to Become a Medical Anthropologist

Below is a step-by-step guide to becoming a medical anthropologist:

Step 1: Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree: Aspiring medical anthropologists must first obtain a bachelor’s degree. An anthropology major can help students prepare for a job in this sector. Language, culture, research methods, and religion are all included in anthropological classes. Statistics, arithmetic, quantitative research, and research analysis classes are also beneficial. Students can also pursue nursing, public health, or other medical disciplines alongside science and health coursework.

Step 2: Finish up your Internship program: Many anthropological programs need or encourage an internship. Students who enroll in internship programs acquire experience working with several organizations that they may face as professional medical anthropologists, such as museums, libraries, government agencies, and cultural institutions. They practice gathering, recording, and reporting information.

Step 3: Obtain your Master’s Degree or Doctorate Degree: Most employers require masters or doctoral degrees in Medical Anthropology. Graduate studies in health and life cycles, ethnic and alternative medicine, sexuality, and gender are all available. Medical ethics, geriatrics, and public health may also be studied by students. A Master of Public Health or a Medical Doctorate are examples of complementary degrees.

Step 4: Conduct Research: Medical anthropologists, both students, and professionals do research. Learning to collect and organize knowledge necessitates attention to detail, organization, and an open mind. To research civilizations, medical anthropologists must be willing to travel and live in uncommon conditions. They must be patient and willing to work on long-term initiatives. The distribution and incidence of sickness among specific groups, as well as the morals of medicine and the stigmas of mental illness, are all research issues.


Where to Work as a Medical Anthropologist

Medical anthropologists work for the following institutions:

  • Universities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Government health agencies
  • Private research groups.


Medical Anthropologist Salary Scale

In the United States, the average salary for a Medical Anthropologist is $62,920. Medical Anthropologists earn the most in Los Angeles, CA, with a total payment that is 0% higher than the national average.

In the United Kingdom, the average salary for a Medical Anthropologist is £43,492 per year and £21 per hour. A Medical Anthropologist’s average pay ranges between £30,971 and £53,802. A Master’s Degree is the most common level of schooling for a Medical Anthropologist. This wage survey data was acquired directly from employers and anonymous employees in the United Kingdom for this compensation research.


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