Ben Kasstan

Medical Anthropology | Research Evidence & Policy | Public Communication

I am a medical anthropologist by training and my research explores the points where health, religion and state meet. I approach healthcare as a borderland, where ‘hard to reach’ minorities and the state encounter each other. The public (health) issues that I examine include abortion, vaccination, COVID-19 and inclusive sex education.

See Publications

About Me

Current Role & Responsibilities

  • Research Fellow, Bristol University
  • Research Fellow, Hebrew University
  • Consultant, LSHTM
  • Associate Editor, Anthropology & Medicine

Education & Experience

  • PhD Anthropology (Dunelm, 2017)
  • Field experience: UK, Ireland, Israel, Lesotho, Nigeria and The Gambia

Research Profile

Child Health

In 2019 the World Health Organization ranked vaccine hesitancy as being among the biggest threats to global public health, alongside the dangers posed by climate change and anti-microbial resistance. The causes of vaccine hesitancy are diverse, but reflect public doubt of vaccine safety. Since 2013 I have been exploring vaccine decision-making among religious groups, one of the most poorly understood areas of vaccine hesitancy. My recent book Making Bodies Kosher explored vaccine decision-making among Haredi Jews in England, published with Berghahn (2019). Making Bodies Kosher has received positive reviews in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medicine Anthropology Theory, Social History of Medicine, and The Polyphony.

Sexual and Reproductive Health

I have an on-going interest in pregnancy and abortion care. Previous publications have explored doula care and childbirth among religious minorities, how abortion providers navigate restrictive legal frameworks and ethical dilemmas in England, as well as abortion activism in Ireland. 

LGBTQ Inclusion

I have an emerging research interest in inclusive relationships and sexuality education, and how religious minorities perceive equality & diversity.

Policy & Social Advocacy

I am committed to working with policy-makers to influence the design of evidence-based policies. I have previously submitted research to UK Parliamentary and advocacy groups to inform their understandings of reproductive and child health needs of ethnic minority groups in the UK. These Submissions of Research Evidence include the APPG Vaccinations for All, APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health.

Public Communication

I have written Op-Ed articles for The Huffington post, the University of Sussex, Ha’aretz, and Times of Israel.

I have commented on reproductive health policy in international media, including Newsweek, The Independent, The Evening Standard, and The Irish Times.


Get in Touch

Email: ben.kasstan[at]
Twitter: @Kasstanb

Send Me a Message