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Elena Jirovsky-Platter
Mag. Dr. Elena Jirovsky-Platter

Center for Public Health (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 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

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 


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: