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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, Center for Human and Social Sciences at CSIC, University of Campinas, and Fluminense Federal University in Brazil. 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

Vidal F & Ortega F 2021,  Somos nuestro cerebro? Neurociencias, subjetividad, cultura (Are we our Brains? Neurosciences, subjectivity, culture). Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

– Gamlin, Jennie; Segata, Jean; Gibbon, Sahra; Berrio, Lina and Ortega, Francsico 2021. “Centring a Critical Medical Anthropology of COVID-19 in Global Health Discourse”. British Medical Journal Global Health, 6:e006132.

– Béhague D, Ortega F 2021, ‘Mutual aid, pandemic politics, and global social medicine in Brazil‘. Lancet. 398(10300):575-576.

– Pentecost M, Adams V, Baru R, Caduff C, Greene JA, Hansen H, Jones DS, Kitanaka J, Ortega F 2021, ‘Revitalising global social medicine. Lancet. 398(10300):573-574.

Selected research activities

Member of the External Advisory Board of The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter

Invited speaker at the conference: Recovery, reconfiguration, and repair Mobilising the social sciences and humanities for a post-pandemic world. Alfred Deakin Institute International Conference. Deakin University, Australia

Postdoctorate mentoring of Denise Barreto and Manuela Mueller at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

Examiner of Maria Pia Uribe Vargas’  PhD thesis ar the Université de Paris.

Director of Celina Ragoni’s PhD thesis, Fabiana Chicralla’s and Ramon Reis’ TFMs at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (defended in 2021)

Reviewer for the Bulletin of the World Health Organization and The American Anthropologist.


ICREA Memoir 2021