With this activity, I had the opportunity to work with individuals conducting research across a wide array of disciplines like sociology, linguistics, and microbiology, among others. Though we were initially unsure of how to combine our distinct works into a cohesive project, we soon found common themes through which we could examine topics of inequality and social justice. In doing so, I began to better understand some of the larger intersections and commonalities between the seemingly-disparate disciplines. For example, in our group, we chose to work within the field of healthcare and examine issues of healthcare inequality in the university system. We began to explore possible solutions to instances of healthcare inequality (like a lack of medical translation services or prohibitive costs) through education and policy implementation. In that way, we identified multiple aspects of socioeconomic inequality within a single area and worked to create interdisciplinary solutions that invoked each our of own areas of study. This was something that I found quite interesting, the idea of comprehensive, interdisciplinary solutions that combined tactics and strategies from different fields.
Our team began with introductions about our own projects and areas and worked from there to identify broad themes and issues we could explore. An especially helpful part of these conversations was detailing the methods involved in our research and the ways in which our fields work to solve problems. This was quite productive as we brainstormed possible ways to combat healthcare inequality through the university system. In addition to understandings of our project topics, we each also brought an awareness of the current issues within our fields that deserve recognition and resolution. Eventually we arrived an online course composed of different modules that both informed students of the resources available to them, and also collected information on their experiences with healthcare and the barriers they’ve encountered in the process.
This project made me think more critically about the involvement of public policy in other fields and how it can be used to solve issues in areas beyond the scope of the social-science/linguistic areas I’ve been examining. It was meaningful to discuss public health issues impacting our own university community and work through ways in which we can lessen the barriers impeding equitable access to healthcare. Working with an interdisciplinary team to solve a focused issue was a rewarding experience that provided me with the opportunity to learn about methods in other disciplines and even inspired me to reconsider my own research methods and topics. I hope to have more opportunities to work in interdisciplinary settings like this in the future.