Gregory G. Maskarinec, PhD, a cultural anthropologist and professor of medicine who teaches in the Departments of Native Hawaiian Health and Family Medicine and Community Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai’i, visited Uzbekistan from March 10-17 to give a series of lectures at five Uzbek medical institutions. He spoke to audiences of students, faculty and administrators at the Tashkent Institute of Epidemiology, Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases, the Tashkent Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education, the Tashkent Medical Academy, the Bukhara State Medical Institute, and the Samarkand State Medical Institute. His lectures focused on two principles of social justice in medicine: that health is a basic human right, and that gross inequalities in health care are morally, ethically, socially and economically unacceptable
In his lectures, Dr. Maskarinec explored the need for cultural sensitivity that recognizes the imbalance of power between patients and physicians, to stop the spread of conditions such as multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis, the emerging epidemic of diabetes, and the various infectious and chronic conditions that continue to afflict populations everywhere. Dr. Maskarinec called on medical students to accept future roles in institutions that support the conditions for a healthy life, to work toward an inclusive health care system that aspires to genuine health equity meeting the needs of all people, and commented on the roles of for-profit medical and teaching institutions in health care systems.
Dr. Maskarinec’s visit was supported by a South and Central Asia travel grant from the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, in conjunction with his second Fulbright fellowship in Nepal, where he has conducted research for the past 30 years on traditional and contemporary medical systems. In Uzbekistan, the visit was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy’s Economic Officer, Roger Rodriguez Rios.
Dr. Maskarinec is an affiliate scholar of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientific (CNRS, Paris), and has taught as a visiting professor at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu (Nepal); Asian University for Women, Chittagong (Bangladesh); University of Paris X (Nanterre); and the University of Zürich (Switzerland). He has conducted research in Nepal, Bangladesh, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Romania. Dr. Maskarinec hopes to return to Uzbekistan in the future to deliver a more detailed series of lectures at each of the institutions that he visited in March.