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Elena Jirovsky
Mag. Dr. Elena Jirovsky

Center for Public Health (Department of General Practice and Family Medicine, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine)
Position: Research Associate (Postdoc)

ORCID: 0000-0002-8304-2518
T +43 1 40160 34616


Anthropology, Cultural; Anthropology, Medical; Circumcision, Female; Emigrants and Immigrants; Health Policy; Humanities; Primary Health Care; Public Health; Reproductive Health; Sexuality; Social Behavior; Social Medicine

Research interests

I am a medical anthropologist, and researcher and instructor at the Medical University of Vienna’s Center for Public Health. I am a graduate of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna and was a visiting doctoral student at the University of Toronto. Between 2007 to 2010, I was granted the prestigious DOC-team award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and as a team we received the Veronika-Fialka-Moser-Diversity-Award of the Medical University of Vienna in the category teaching in 2017 for the online course of the EUR-HUMAN project. 

I have conducted independent research and cooperated in several research projects in Austria, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Liberia, on topics concerning sexual and reproductive healthfemale genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), migrant healthhealth worker migration and working condition, as well as infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Amongst others, I have been deployed as a social scientist for Doctors without Borders (MSF), and WHO (Ebola Response Liberia 2015).

Currently, I am lead researcher in the project SoNAR-Global: A Global Social Sciences Network for Infectious Threats and Antimicrobial Resistance (Dep. Social- and Preventive Medicine, Center for Public Health).

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

Qualitative study designs (semi-structured and in-depth interviews, focus group discussion); ethnography and participant observation; Media Analysis, Applied Social Science Methods; Analysis with the software atlas.ti, using different theoreticel frameworks, such as critical medical anthropology, feminist and socio-political approaches 


  • DOC-team (2007)
    Source of Funding: OeAW (Austrian Academy of Sciences), DOC-team
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Jirovsky, E., 2010. Views of women and men in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, on three forms of female genital modification. Reproductive Health Matters, 18(35), pp.84–93. Available at:
  2. Kutalek, R., Jirovsky, E. & Grabovac, I., 2018. From macro- to microfactors in health: Social science approaches in research on sexually transmitted infections. PLOS Medicine, 15(1), p.e1002490. Available at:
  3. Jirovsky, E. et al., 2018. Development and evaluation of a web-based capacity building course in the EUR-HUMAN project to support primary health care professionals in the provision of high-quality care for refugees and migrants. Global Health Action, 11(1), p.1547080. Available at:
  4. Jirovsky, Elena. 2018. “If you can afford it, you can do it”- Deliberations of people in Burkina Faso on clitoral reconstruction after female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). In: Griffin, Gabriele; Jordal, Malin (eds.): Body, Migration, Re/constructive Surgeries: Making the Gendered Body in a Globalized World. Routledge Online.
  5. Jirovsky, E. et al., 2015. “Why should I have come here?” - a qualitative investigation of migration reasons and experiences of health workers from sub-Saharan Africa in Austria. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). Available at: