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Health Humanities Lab: Anthropology in Global Health Trials Lecture
October 18, 2016 @ 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm
Anita Hardon, Professor of Anthropology of Health and Social Care University of Amsterdam.
Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard to evaluate and generalize the efficacy of global health interventions across diverse socio-cultural contexts. Social scientists have criticized these trials for ignoring the social and infrastructural conditions that impinge on how technologies work, and for their optimistic belief in generalizability. What if contexts interact with technologies and with people administering and using them, thus upending easy hopes that we can simply scale up and generalize results validated under specific socio-cultural conditions? Over the past two decades, anthropologists at the University of Amsterdam have participated in global heath trials to replace the testing-machine model with a more open-ended, flexible and iterative approach. This incorporates biosocial understanding that emerges during the trials, and contributes to more context-sensitive global heath technologies.