Chapter 22

M. Margaret Clark: Medical Anthropologist and Advocate for the Aged
Thomas Weaver

Medical Anthropology and the Redefining of Human Nature
M. Margaret Clark

Margaret Clark (1925–) became an anthropologist after leaving medical school because of her dissatisfaction with the treatment of ethnic minorities and with physicians’ almost complete focus on biomedical treatment rather than on sociocultural factors. With a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, she was employed by the U.S. Public Health Service, the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. She has also been a consultant for a variety of agencies concerned with health and aging. In her 1992 Malinowski Award address, Clark focused on the relationship between innovation in Western medical science and changing definitions of human nature. Anthropology has a critical role to play, she held, in such considerations as when a fetus becomes a human, when life can be allowed to end, and ethical issues associated with birth control programs, organ implants, and cosmetic surgery.