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Ruth Kutalek
Ap.Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Ruth KutalekHead of Unit

Center for Public Health (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine)
Position: Associate Professor

T +43 1 40160 34607


Anthropology, Medical

Research group(s)

  • Unit Medical Anthropology and Global Health
    Head: Ruth Kutalek
    Research Area: Research at the Unit focuses on the socio-cultural implications and perceptions of infectious diseases (Ebola viral disease, Lassa fever, measles, yellow fever), antimicrobial resistance (AMR), nutritional anthropology (e.g. geophagy), issues of access to health care for disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, mental health, representations of human bodies, human-animal-environment interactions, as well as anthropological perspectives in emergency response and humanitarian assistance.

Research interests

Anthropological perspectives on infectious diseases and in disaster response: Covid-19, Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa fever; occupational situation of health care workers during outbreaks; psycho-social situation of Ebola survivors; health seeking behavior in times of crisis; vaccine hesitancy  

Access to health care for vulnerable populations (specifically migrants, refugees, certain ethnic groups)  

Health care workers on the move from resource-poor settings (“brain drain”)  

Diversity studies: Development of curricula in resource poor settings; transcultural competence in the medical curriculum  

Ethnopharmacology: geophagy (consumption of clay) and its implications for public health research in Africa and Asia

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

 Qualitative study designs (semi-structured and in-depth interviews; participatory research), Media Analysis, Applied Social Science Methods; Analysis with the software atlas.ti, using different theoretical frameworks, such as feminist and socio-political approaches 


Selected publications

  1. 2022 Jeleff M, Traugott M, Jirovsky-Platter E, Jordakieva G, Kutalek R. Occupational challenges of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. A qualitative study. BMJ Open 12:e054516. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2021-054516
  2. 2021 Ecker F, Kutalek R. “I’m not an anti-vaxxer!” Vaccine hesitancy among physicians: A qualitative study. European Journal of Public Health
  3. 2021 Lehner L, Gribi J, Hoffmann K, Paul K, Kutalek R. Beyond the “information deficit model” - Understanding vaccine-hesitant attitudes of midwives in Austria: A Qualitative Study. BMC Public Health 21, 1671;
  4. 2020 Kutalek R, Baingana F, Sevalie S, Broutet N, Thorson A: Perceptions on the collection of body fluids for research on persistence of Ebola virus. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  5. 2020 Huebl L., Nnyombi A, Walakira E, Kutalek R. Yellow fever vaccine safety perception of pregnant women in emergency response mass vaccination in Uganda. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene DOI: