University of California, Berkeley
Medical Ecology and Ethnoepidemiology
Kekchi Mayan girl from the Peten
district of Guatemala
drinking a medicinal plant decoction to treat her
© Thomas Carlson
Medical Ecology, Human Disease Monitoring, and Public Health
Studies in ethnoepidemiology, ethnoecology are conducted by researching the ethnoempirical and ethnotheoretical perspectives of how local/indigenous peoples perceive the causes, deterrents, and ecology of human and animal diseases. This will be particularly useful in the study of human parasitic diseases and zoonoses from the standpoint of the insect vectors, and animal hosts of human infectious diseases. Local/indigenous peoples and communities can be integrated into regional public programs that focus on epidemiology and human disease monitoring, particularly of emerging diseases.
Ecosystem Ecology, Medical Ecology, and Human Health
These research projects will include a multidisciplinary team experts representing disciplines including human clinical medicine, epidemiology, ecosystem ecology, zoology, entomology, and ethnobiology. Studies in ethnoecology of ecosystems and ethnoepidemiology of human and animal diseases will be conducted by researching the ethnoempirical and ethnotheoretical perspectives of how local/indigenous peoples perceive ecosystem ecology and and how it influences the causes, deterrents, and ecology of human and animal diseases. These studies will focus on how ecosystem changes such as deforestation, changes in water systems, and fluctuations in weather can effect human health.
Environmental, ecological, and cultural changes can alter air, water, soil, ecosystems, food sources, and human activity in ways that impact human health. Population growth and movement intensifies human interactions with ecological systems which may potentiate biotic disease resulting in the spread of human infectious diseases. Land use patterns and the spatial relationship of humans to animals can influence disease transmission. Human lifestyle transition from a pastoral/agrarian environment to a more sedentary urban environment results in increased population density which may result in increased rates of microbiologically polluted water and communicable infectious diseases. This transition also results in a change in diet and a more sedentary lifestyle with increased rates of obesity, adult diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac disease. Unified collaborative projects with ecologists, zoologists, conservationists and ethnobotanists working with physicians and public health workers enable programs to better research and understand issues of both ecosystem health and human health.
Table of contents |
Purpose and vision of HEBE |
Narrative on Health, Ecology, Biodiversity, and Ethnobiology |
Medical and Nutritional Ethnobotany |
Ethnoecology and Ecosystem Conservation |
Medical Ecology and Ethnoepidemiology |
Associated Researchers |
Undergraduate and Graduate Education |