Chilean anthropologist appointed as a Miegunyah Visiting Fellow

How can traditional Indigenous and biomedical health systems complement each other and what are the implications for public health policy? Anthropologist Professor Ana Maria Oyarce from the University of Chile will address this question in a public lecture as part of her appointment as a 2017 Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

Ana Maria Oyarce

Professor Oyarce is an internationally recognised anthropologist who focuses particularly on cross-cultural concepts of health. In addition to her position at the University of Chile, Professor Oyarce has been an international consultant to the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL) and the World Health Organization for many years. She has conducted major comparative studies regarding Indigenous demography and health policy across Latin America and internationally.  

Her work has contributed to improving the identification of Indigenous peoples in demographic and epidemiological data and the collection of Indigenous health data more generally, which has been crucial for the development of appropriate Indigenous health policy across the continent. Professor Oyarce is co-author of Medicines and Cultures in the Araucanía, which continues to be the definitive text on the traditional health beliefs and culture of the Mapuche Indigenous people of Chile, and the intersection between the two.

There has been increasing interest in Australia regarding how to appropriately support the use of traditional Indigenous health care systems while increasing access to biomedical services for Indigenous people, and Australian research has highlighted similar issues as those found in Chile.  Consideration of the Chilean situation therefore promises to provide useful parallels to the Australian context.

As well as her public lecture, Professor Oyarce will build connections between the Universities of Melbourne and Chile and provide supervision to a student currently undertaking doctoral research. She will also consult with staff and students, particularly Chileans undertaking research degrees here who will benefit from advice about preparing for their career after graduation.

Professor Oyrace will present her public lecture at the Prest Theatre, Faculty of Business and Economics, 111 Barry St, Carlton, on Tuesday 22 November from 5.30pm–6.30pm with a reception to follow.

The Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Program enables overseas scholars of international distinction to make an extended visit to the University and contribute to the University's academic, intellectual and cultural life. For more information on the program, visit the University of Melbourne website.