Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A special bonus post

I'm over at Eagle Creek library at a rather blurry Gateway computer. I met with the professor today who is the director of graduate studies in the department I'm considering joining as a doctoral student. The bad news is that they no longer offer medical sociology as a concentration because the former professor who specialised in this field, Dr Gallagher has retired and they have not yet replaced him.

For those unfamiliar with it, medical sociology is the study of how people are impacted by health conditions, healthcare organisations, healthcare policies. Unlike general sociology, which is primarily academic in focus, medical sociology tends to be more practical, with medical sociologists conducting research, teaching, but also working within healthcare systems and helping to change policies or advocate for patients. That means that it has a much wider employment outlook, especially as healthcare concerns grow.

Now the thing is, UK is in a position where there is a Behavioural Science in Medicine programme, and there is within the sociology a lot that can be used to get to an 'unofficial' specialisation in health-related topics: there is an entire rural sociology programme in the Agriculture college, for example, that deals with rural health, plus there are gerontology courses and a look at ageing in society...family, ageing, and health is still a viable concentration for the doctorate. So I might still be able to do research and find positions in my area of interests. (One thing that I'm interested in, coming from my medical librarian experience, is how the Internet changes health care provided to patients and the patient-provider relationships, as well as how it affects the course of disease as a support vehicle).

So the question is, do I pursue it, and keep to my goal, or hang back and rethink this? I may check with the rural sociology expert first and just do a little more research. I wouldn't be applying until January (for the fall), so I have some time. I'll post more as I figure it out, and in the meantime, I still have some short-term goals to work on. :)

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