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Ruth Kutalek
Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Ruth Kutalek

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

T +43 1 40160 34607


Anthropology, Medical

Research interests

Anthropological perspectives on infectious diseases and in disaster response, esp. Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa fever: psycho-social situation of Ebola survivors, occupational situation of health care workers; health seeking behavior in times of crisis.  

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

Migration of medical professionals 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 theoreticel frameworks, such as feminist and socio-political approaches 


  • A Global Social Science Network for Infectious Threats and Antimicrobial Resistance – SoNAR-Global (2018)
    Source of Funding: EU, Horizon 2020
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. 2018 Traugott MT, Singh M, Raj DK, Kutalek R: Geophagy in India. A qualitative exploratory study on motivation and perception of female consumers. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Health
  2. 2018 Kutalek R; Jirovsky E, Grabovac I: From macro- to micro-factors in health: Social science approaches in research on sexually transmitted infections. PLoS Medicine 15(1): e1002490.
  3. 2017 Mayrhuber S; Niederkrotenthaler T, Kutalek R: We are Survivors and not a Virus: Content Analysis of Media Reporting on Ebola Survivors in Liberia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 11(8): e0005845.
  4. 2016 Cohn S, Kutalek R. Historical Parallels, Ebola Virus Disease and Cholera: Understanding Community Distrust and Social Violence with Epidemics. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2016 Jan 26. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.aa1f2b60e8d43939b43fbd93e1a63a94.
  5. 2015 Kutalek R; Wang S; Falla M; Wesseh S; Gilbert J: Ebola interventions: Listen to communities. Lancet Global Health 22. Jan,