Dr Seonsam Na is a medical doctor practicing Korean Medicine (KMD), the bio-medicalized form of traditional East Asian medicine recognized as mainstream medicine in South Korea. He has mainly practiced in the field of pediatrics and currently works as an on-call physician in a hospital specialized for stroke rehabilitation. He holds BA in Korean Medicine from Kyung Hee University, MA in Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health from Warwick University, and MSc in Medical Anthropology and DPhil in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. He has taught medical humanities for medical students in Korea, and medical anthropology and Korean anthropology for undergraduate and postgraduate students at University Oxford. As part of the team on the Oxford Postgraduate Psychiatry Course program, Department of Psychiatry, he is also delivering lectures titled ‘Anthropological Understandings of Mental Illness’ for trainee psychiatrists at the university. In Korea, he has briefly worked as health policy researcher, participating in various national-level projects on the implementation of integrative medical policies in the field of primary care and pharmaceuticals R&D.
His doctoral dissertation explored medical politics and modes of social change in contemporary Korea by engaging with a series of conflicts that occurred in a medical community. In so doing, he not only brought into relief the political economy of health service provision in demographically transitioning Korean society, but also elucidated on the emergence of online-communities as new platform for the country’s change, as well as on the societal implications of group conflicts by focusing on ritualistic elements present in them. Based upon this research, he is now preparing a monograph titled ‘Doctors in Rebellion: An Ethnography of Medical Politics and Social Change in South Korea.’ Continuing his interests in health systems and the socio-historical factors underpinning them, he now works on ageing by embedding himself in various elder-care institutions and explores how Korean society responds to the challenges it poses socially and economically.