Practical solutions to complex social-cultural issues
Multi-Disciplinary Research for Public Policy Analysis & Recommendations:
Our focus is religious diversity in the public sphere and developing effective social policy to cope with the potential conflicts and enhance societal harmony. Secondly, Medical Anthropology, specifically increasing patient accountability and responsibility and awareness in mental health and addictions.
Informed public policy responds to a wide variety of often competing, social, economic, regional, ethnic and cultural pressures. Policies must acknowledge and respond to these influences, otherwise they can inadvertently trigger a myriad of other problems. Rather than using a top-down, “One solution fits all situations” approach, Applied Anthropology uses a bottoms-up approach. The Applied Anthropology Group identifies hidden and indirect relationships — the wheels within wheels — to assist public policy makers in creating and developing practical solutions to public problems.
The Applied Anthropology Group targets policy analysis and recommendations in the area of community-based health programs and religious diversity in the public sphere. Applied Anthropology is often retained to help researchers and administrators with government agencies design relevant new programs and/or update existing policies.
Cultural anthropology has many strengths that are useful in the development of new and/or the modification of existing, public policies. These include:
1. The ability to see the larger picture including the impact of the policy on the micro (individual and family) and macro (community, region and country) levels, including the potentially negative impact on cost.
2. Cross-cultural analysis, interpretation, and impact at both the micro and macro levels. It is important to develop culturally appropriate policies. Anthropology is especially helpful when decision makers are not familiar with either the people or the community.
3. Interdisciplinary competencies – anthropologists draw from the methods, theories, and bodies of data from a variety of sub-disciplines and are intellectually equipped to work in and with interdisciplinary teams.
4. Ability to frame policy discussions in theoretical or descriptive language. Using the most appropriate language may help an individual or group to buy into a particular policy solution they might not have considered beforehand.
5. A focus on community. Policies formulated at the province or country level have to be implemented at a local level. Those contact points are where actual people live and where policies are delivered through programs and services.
Rapid Assessment Procedures (RAPs)
Most often, Applied Anthropology uses rapid or focused research or Rapid Assessment Procedures (RAPs) to identify needs, evaluate programs and predict the local and regional impacts of public policies and projects. Our work is collaborative in nature and pays close attention to local values and perceptions of reality. RAPs typically embrace local community representatives as stakeholders. This approach is especially helpful in evaluating new programs. This streamlined approach to data collection means the recommendations are available relatively quickly – usually within four to six weeks of being retained.
Our Multidisciplinary Team
Team members pay close attention to the local values and perceptions of the various stakeholders. Our analysis includes identifying, utilizing and articulating the right balance of qualitative and quantitative data.