Francisco Ortega

Francisco Ortega

Universitat Rovira i Virgili


I am ICREA Research Professor at the Medical Anthropology Research Center, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona. I am also Visiting Professor at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of King’s College, London. I received a MA from Universidad Complutense in Madrid and a PhD in Philosophy from Bielefeld University. Before joining ICREA, I was full professor at the Institute for Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (1999-2021); and Associate Professor at the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil (1996-1999). I was invited professor at Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, visiting professor at Bielefeld University, Oldenburg University, University of Buenos Aires, CSIC, Universidad de Chile, University of Campinas, and Fluminense Federal University. I am member of the Advisory Board of the Movement for Global Mental Health and the Steering Committee of the Global Social Medicine Network.

Research interests

I am involved in interdisciplinary projects at the interface between the Health and the Human Sciences with several institutions across the world. My research combines medical anthropology, history and philosophy of science, transcultural psychiatry, cultural and disability studies, public health and global health to develop an interdisciplinary framework for investigating 1) the interactions between global biopsychiatry and local psychiatric epistemologies; 2) the revitalization of social medicine as a vital intersection of social sciences, medical practice and policy; 3) the interfaces between the brain sciences and the human and social sciences; 4) the role of neuroscientific theories in the construction of personal and social identities; 5) the pragmatic negotiation of psychiatric diagnosis; 6)  the emergence of new forms of solidarity and mutual aid in the context of the health and economic crisis of the covid-19 pandemic.

Selected publications

- Ortega F & Behague D 2022, 'Contested leadership and the governance of COVID-19 in Brazil: the role of local government and community activism'. Global Public Health 17:10, pp 2223-2234.

- Wenceslau LD & Ortega F 2022, 'From Person to Life: An Anthropological Examination of Primary Health Care Approach to Depression in Rio de Janeiro', Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 36: 64-82.

- Ortega F & Muller MR 2022, 'Rethinking structural competency: continuing education in mental health and practices of territorialisation in Brazil', Global Public Health, 1-16.

- Ortega F & Müller MR 2022, 'Negotiating human rights narratives in Global Mental Health: Autism and ADHD controversies in Brazil', Global Public Health. 17:11, 3189-3203.

- Béliard A, Ortega F & Velpry L 2022. 'Beyond controversies in child mental health: negotiating autism and ADHD diagnosis in France and Brazil'. BioSocieties, 17, 619-643.

- Wenceslau LD & Ortega F 2022, 'The ‘cultures’ of Global Mental Health'. Theory, Culture & Society, 39(3): 99-119.

Selected research activities

- Habilitation (Acreditación) as Full professor (Catedratico) by the the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA). March 2022

- Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Universtity of Chile. Santiago, Chile (12-21Oct 2022)

- Organizer of workshop: “Making Space for Social Medicine in Medical School Curricula” . King’s College, London and University of California, Los Angeles. Funded by the Wellcome Trust.
-Successful supervision of 1 PhD and 4 MA students at the State University of Rio de Janeiro and 2 MA stduents at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

-Invited speaker at the University of Olomouc (Czech Republic); University of Chile (Santiago, Chile); International Science Council (US), University of Exeter (UK); King’s College London; Universidad Federal de Juiz de Fora (Brazil).

- Recipient of research Grant from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion 101.640 EUR