Health care is a social process where the meanings of health, illness and disease are negotiated among individuals and within communities. Their common task is to manage a dialogue on the meaning of a problem or diagnosis in order to agree on what to do about it. Meanings of health, illness and disease have been assigned by each culture and each member of that culture. Nothing appears more difficult in this globalising millennium when there are greater chances that care givers, receivers, and governing bodies from different cultures have to interact and collaborate more frequently and closely. Notions related to health, illness and disease that make sense to one group of people may frustrate another group due to the differences between their cultures.
Such a challenge can be overcome by proper meaning management, a process that can effectively and appropriately help each party in health care interact to collaborate with each other. In other words, people have been looking for a system that makes sense of health to everyone. Health science, a possible hope that can unify terms, concepts, and communication, has been proposed as the Esperanto to bridge the gaps and overcome the cultural incongruence in health care. But does it work this way or not? Why and how can it succeed or fail? In the summer of 2009, scholars from various disciplines and from around the globe met to explore their viewpoints in the 8th Global Conference: Making Sense of Health, Illness, and Disease at Mansfield College, University of Oxford, in England, hosted by Inter-Disciplinary.Net. Expanded versions of their peer-reviewed chapters are collected here.