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This panel asks how anthropologists have analyzed the profound transformations that health, medicine, and healing have been undergoing since the 1990s; how this has prepared them for understanding emerging medical realities; and what directions future research in medical anthropology might take.
Since the early 1990s, the domains of health, medicine, and healing - on all societal levels - have undergone significant shifts in all parts of the world. Not only have these various domains been affected by the increased mobility of people, pathogens, and health-related, practices, and technologies, which have conditioned new socialities and entanglements across national and regional borders. There have also been significant structural reconfigurations in health systems worldwide, which have been induced by new diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic developments, and the often massive impact of neoliberal reform processes and globalizing funding arrangements. However, while health care systems - and the patients, providers, and resources within them - have been exposed to these transformations across the globe in often strikingly similar ways, there have been continued - and often widening - gaps concerning access and quality of health care between and within healthcare systems in the Global North and Global South. This panel asks how anthropologists have approached transformations in health(care) and medicine with regard to the theoretical, methodological, and epistemological ramifications of their research topics, and how this has prepared them for understanding emerging medical realities and healthcare arrangements with regard to the years to come. It also aims to highlight how medical anthropologists have responded to the complex ethical and political challenges that these "shifting grounds" have implied, and how this has led to new types of collaborative research and public engagement. Finally, it explores the affordances of the current moment for future research in medical anthropology.