(SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters '11)
The Department of Anthropology at SUNY Geneseo is introducing a new major for undergraduate students interested in the social determinants of disease and health. The sociomedical sciences major examines the correlation between trends in health and its social causes, including social inequality and structural inequities. It prepares students to pursue careers and advanced training in both clinical and non-clinical health professions by focusing on the causes, spread, prevention, and treatment of disease and illness.
“This is one of the only undergraduate programs of its kind in SUNY,” said Melanie Medeiros, associate professor of anthropology and sociomedical sciences program director. “The degree reflects national trends in interdisciplinary training in health and medicine using the lenses of the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.”
Sociomedical sciences has been a minor at Geneseo since 2014. The new major indicates Geneseo’s response to emerging career opportunities, evolving student needs, and increasing emphasis on integrative learning.
The B.A. program is a gateway into chiropractic, dental, or physician assistant school and programs in nursing, public health, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. “A real benefit is that pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-PA, and pre-PT students can fulfill up to 80 percent of their graduate program prerequisites with courses that count towards the major,” added Medeiros. The major can also lead to in-demand entry-level positions in the allied health fields, such as patient navigators, health care administrators, and health policy analysts.
Highlights of the new major include the opportunity to earn major credit during short-term study abroad or fulfill major requirements while abroad for an entire semester. Students may also earn credit while interning for an organization focused on health or medicine. The capstone course teaches research methods and offers students the opportunity to design and conduct a study on a topic of their choosing. Research findings are presented at Geneseo’s annual student research conference GREAT Day.