Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Cassandra White

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Catey

Abstract

This thesis uses a critical medical anthropology approach to explore healthcare professionals’ perspectives of Hansen’s disease (HD) patients’ treatment-seeking experiences in the United States. During semi-structured interviews my eight informants discussed challenges patients face when seeking treatment. The number one challenge discussed was that of knowledge gaps among healthcare professionals which influence misconceptions of HD being highly contagious and dangerous. Such misconceptions negatively influence patients’ treatment from start to finish. My informants discussed their understandings of, and roles in minimizing challenges for their patients.

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