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A Medical Anthropologist's Ruminations on NIH Funding

Laurie J. Price
Medical Anthropology Quarterly
New Series, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 128-146
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/649307
Page Count: 19
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A Medical Anthropologist's Ruminations on NIH Funding
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Abstract

The National Institutes of Health administer two-thirds of all public funds spent on health research in the United States (NIH Data Book 1986). Medical anthropologists must examine this multibillion dollar funding program from both pragmatic and critical perspectives. This analysis is based on participant-observation in an NIH-funded university research center. This case study uncovers university-level processes and social relations that shape the theory, methods, and language used in social science investigations of illness. These local processes are analyzed in the context of cultural values, broader political structures, and NIH history. In the author's view, medical anthropology should strive to reorient federal funding so that the research program genuinely addresses social and economic factors in illness, prevention, and treatment.

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