医学人类学在20世纪中期成为正式的研究领域。它的根源在于文化人类学，它将该子领域对社会和文化世界的关注扩展到与健康，疾病和健康有关的主题。与文化人类学家一样，医学人类学家通常使用人种学 – 或人种学方法 – 进行研究和收集数据。人种学是一种定性研究方法，涉及完全沉浸在所研究的社区中。人种学家（即人类学家）在这个独特的文化空间中生活，工作和观察日常生活，这个空间被称为野外场所。第二次世界大战后，人类学家开始将人种学方法和理论应用于世界各地的健康问题的过程正式化，医学人类学变得越来越重要。这是一个广泛的国际发展和人道主义努力的时代，旨在为全球南方国家带来现代技术和资源。事实证明，人类学家对基于健康的倡议特别有用，他们利用其独特的文化分析技能帮助制定适合当地实践和信仰系统的计划。针对卫生，传染病控制和营养的具体运动。
Medical anthropology emerged as a formal area of study in the mid-20th century. Its roots are in cultural anthropology, and it extends that subfield’s focus on social and cultural worlds to topics relating specifically to health, illness, and wellness. Like cultural anthropologists, medical anthropologists typically use ethnography – or ethnographic methods – to conduct research and gather data. Ethnography is a qualitative research method that involves full immersion in the community being studied. The ethnographer (i.e., the anthropologist) lives, works, and observes daily life in this distinctive cultural space, which is called the field site. Medical anthropology grew increasingly important after World War II, when anthropologists began to formalize the process of applying ethnographic methods and theories to questions of health around the world. This was a time of widespread international development and humanitarian efforts aimed at bringing modern technologies and resources to countries in the global South. Anthropologists proved particularly useful for health-based initiatives, using their unique skills of cultural analysis to help develop programs tailored to local practices and belief systems. Specific campaigns focused on sanitation, infectious disease control, and nutrition.