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Global Seminar : Health

What is health? We use the word health in different ways in different situations. In its Old English definition, it means “wholeness, being whole, sound or well.” But, we usually use it to refer to the general condition of a person’s mind and body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." It is the latter part, i.e., health isnot merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” that is more intriguing and broadens our perspective of health. In 1986, the WHO also said that health is "a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities." The concept, however, has increasingly been narrowed down to refer mostly to a medical condition, physical and mental.  The medicalization of health has shifted the power and authority of defining health and nature of health problems to the professional fields of medicine. This seminar intends to critically question the hegemony and monopoly of the medical knowledge in defining health by introducing multiple perspectives to defining the concept of health. Inspired by the emerging field of “Medical Humanities,” the seminar also incorporates approaches from liberal arts fields to examine health issues.

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Balancing Act