On the Future of Medicine and Different Approaches to Medical Anthropology in Social and Biological Sciences

© 2013 A.S. Kurlenkova, R.M. Khayrullin

2013 – № 2 (6)

Alexandra Kurlenkova talks to Radik Khayrullin

khairullinKhayrullin Radik, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Human Anatomy, Medical Faculty, Ulyanovsk State University.(http://www.ulsu.ru/com/faculties/fmed/anatpeople/lecturers/khajrullin/)

Key words: medical anthropology, P4 medicine, Leroy Hood, Paul Pierre Broca, Karl Ernst Von Baer, Zinaida Ermolieva, Sergey Botkin, anatomy, physical anthropology, ethnomedicine, Avicenna, compliance.

Abstract: R. M. Khayrullin pays attention to such questions as individualized approach to patient care (the goal ‘to treat the patient, not the disease’); new challenges to modern public health systems (rise of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, oncology); “P4 Medicine” by Leroy Hood (Predictive, Personalized, Preventive, Participatory); compliance of patients. The interview addresses differences in understanding the subject and methods of ‘medical anthropology’, the Soviet academic tradition, as well as possibilities of uniting natural-science and ethnographic approaches in studies of human health and diseases.

Me-Conference_TomskPreamble by A. Kurlenkova

In this interview Professor R.M. Khayrullin presents his view of medical anthropology. On the one side, he carries on the Soviet-time tradition of understanding medical anthropology as investigation of human biological variation, and, on the other, extends this understanding adding various social/ cultural healthcare systems to its subject field. This position is illustrative in that there are multiple interpretations and approaches to medical anthropology existing in Russian science. The Soviet anthropology, including the research tradition called ‘medical anthropology’, was developing independently from its ‘namesakes’ in universities of the USA and Western Europe. This scientific tradition explores changes in disease manifestation among different people depending on constitution of their body and environment. This tradition goes back to works of Russian physical anthropologists (T.I. Alexeeva, B.A. Nikityuk, and others). If the main focus of social / cultural anthropology is society / culture, than physical anthropology explores individual and group variability on the level of morphology and anatomy. Physical (biological) anthropologists rely on quantitative methods and natural-science epistemological premises. Similar to this tradition are studies of human biological adaptation to environment, conducted by the US biological anthropologists and evolutionary biologists.

In this interview I asked Prof. R.M. Khayrullin several questions to elicit peculiarities of understanding medical anthropology in the Soviet/ Russian academic tradition.

Please read the full article in the Russian version of the Journal.


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