177071 Link Between Animal and Human Welfare in Ecocentric Cultures of Northern Uganda

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:45 PM

Gay A. Bradshaw, PhD, PhD , The Kerulos Center, Oregon State University and Pacifica Graduate Institute, Jacksonville, OR
Evelyn Lawino Abe, PhD , Peter and Irene Abe Centre for Excellence, Gulu, Uganda
Western medical models are criticized for failing to consider values, methods, and philosophies of other cultural systems. This concern has particular relevance for communities where pervasive traumas have been sustained through a succession of colonial occupation, war, and environmental breakdown. Victims are faced with the profound task of re-creating meaning in a world foreign to the psychological, social, and ecological resources they acquired from contexts of origin: familiar ways of living, indigenous plants and animals, and attendant social customs and relationships are severely impaired. Understanding how these contexts relate to mental and physical restoration is therefore of increased import for recovery interventions in communities experiencing violence and displacement. However, even though a greater number of efforts seek to revitalize certain indigenous practices in recuperative strategies, most remain rooted in western anthropocentrism. In contrast, many indigenous cultures are ecocentric where identities cross species borders and human life and health are not segregated from those of other species. Wellbeing is therefore defined by the concomitant recovery of nature: animal and human welfare are interdependent. Here, through a case study in Acholiland, Northern Uganda, we discuss the concept and practice of trans-species health recovery as an example relevant to other ecocentric cultures in similar crisis. We describe Acholi relational models of health and function with focal attention to children soldiers and orphans in the process of trauma recovery.

Learning Objectives:
1. Distinguish between traditional Western models of health and ecocentric models. 2. Explore how the well-being of other species relates to human well-being in cultures following the ecocentric model, particularly in trauma recovery. 3. Discuss how public health specialists can incorporate trans-species health and well-being as part of their overall model of health recovery.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: of creation, writing, and review of the abstract content.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.