SCSU Social Science and Medicine Minor Prepare Students for Today's World

By Musante, Joe | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), January 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

SCSU Social Science and Medicine Minor Prepare Students for Today's World


Musante, Joe, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


The current Ebola crisis is a clear illustration that medical care is as much about good communication as it is about good medicine and good doctoring.

So says Kathleen Skoczen, chairwoman of the Anthropology Department at Southern Connecticut State University. "(Ebola) is showing us the importance in today's world of the human skills required when outsiders step in to address a crisis, but lack the cultural and social knowledge," she said.

"With globalization, mass transit, extremely dense populations, higher rates of poverty and illiteracy, pockets of the world are ripe for dangerous diseases," Skoczen continued. "Besides Ebola, these regions have higher rates of HIV and tuberculosis. Populations are at higher risk because of scarce resources."

Compounding the crisis, Skoczen said, is the 24/7 information age we now live in - where the "latest news or rumors or lies about Ebola is on everyone's computer, smart phone or television set instantly."

Coincidentally, the Ebola crisis has hit at a time when Southern has just developed a social science and medicine minor that allows students to understand and appreciate the relationships between the broader medical field, society and culture, and human behavior.

Students explore how human health is affected by, and contingent upon, both the culture of medicine and the socio-economic-political approach to illness and health.

Pre-med and pre-dental majors in the new minor are learning "the importance of human skills to have successful outcomes,'' Skoczen said.

"We tend to think too much about the science of medicine,'' she said. …

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