Elena Messina

Medical anthropologist


"We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are."


Elena is a Medical Anthropologist. She had the opportunity to study in Italy, Brazil and Switzerland. Having gone back and forth between academia, NGOs and the Public Health Service, Elena is currently working as affiliated researcher at the University of Lausanne’s Institut de sciences sociales des religions. During her time as a student, she was fascinated by Medical Anthropology and she found herself consistently engaged in the intersection between health, public policies and the personal / cultural conceptions of illness and therapy.

A highly accomplished management professional with 7 years of diverse experience in the medical sector, Elena is currently working as a consultant with the Piedmont Regional Tissue & Organ Procurement Coordination Agency on the regional delivery of Italy’s national “Choice for the Community” initiative. This initiative involves extensive medical and scientific liaison with political and civil institutions to develop awareness and acceptance of organ donation. Elena is in charge in designing Continuing Medical Education (ECM) courses related to organ donation and religious belonging, involving healthcare personnel. She is also an Adjunct professor in medical anthropology within the Faculty of Nursing Science at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.

Elena has a theoretical interest in healing, emotion and subjectivity. Exploring the role of culture in the shaping of memory, autobiography, illness and therapy, she bases her research on narrative analysis and on the symbolic associations that medicines and illnesses take on patient’s lives.

3 Questions

What is happiness to you?

Happiness serves as a driving force in transformative change, prompting individual and collective desires and actions to give new meaning, sustain life and livelihood and make peace… to dream again.

Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

Is it possible to ride a donkey?

Where have you lived?

I have lived where my stories has begun, in haunted attics, where love resides and memories creates.

The leadership

  • All Services
  • Behavioral design
  • Research and assessment
  • Strategy