Episode 8

Susanna Helen Trnka: The many ways in which people make medical technologies work for them; how to approach building multifaceted medical apps; what’s next for a student of anthropology

Published on: 16th April, 2018

Susanna Helena Trnka holds a PhD from Princeton University in social anthropology and has studied the body, citizenship and subjectivity. Her specific interests include (amongst others) illness experience; new medical technologies and patient-doctor communication. She has studied extensively the politics of childhood asthma in New Zealand and the Czech Republic out of which came the published book = The Blue Child. She is currently doing research on the intersections between bodies, technologies, and temporalities.

One facet of this research examines how digital healthcare technologies are reshaping patient-doctor communication as well as patient-to-patient communication through the creation of virtual communities of care. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Auckland New Zealand.

In this episode we talk to Susanna about the complex social world surrounding the use of medical apps. Through stories from her fieldwork Susanna shares how people make the app and the designated features fit their world; how people engage with other people through the app and the complex world of digital etiquette. We talk about ethics and regulation of medical technology and about how to take your next step as a student of anthropology.

Mentioned in Podcast:
Susanna’s book is available on amazon;

"One Blue Child"

Another book mentioned in the podcast – The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media by Ilana Gershon

Susanna’s work:

TRNKA, S.H. and A.M. ORTIZ. “Reshaping the Landscape of Care: Health Apps and the Ethics of Self-responsibility and Care for the Other.”

Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies. 14(2): 103-122. http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol14iss2id3762017

Trnka, S. H. (2016). Digital Care: Agency and Temporality in Young People’s Use of Health Apps. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 2, 248-248.


#medicalanthropology #medicalapps #intersociality #health #technology #anthrocareer

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The Human Show: Innovation through Social Science
If you want to understand how social scientists’ study human behaviour, how industry innovates or want to know more about how they can successfully work together and enhance each other, then you have come to the right place!
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