Image of Eric Asaba

Eric Asaba

Senior lecturer/occupational therapist

About me

I am docent / associate professor in occupational therapy and currently appointed vice head at the department of neurobiology, care sciences, and society.  I am a guest researcher at Lund University, guest professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University (Japan), and have an research affiliation to Stockholms Sjukhem in Stockholm.  In an attempt to balance work, rest, and play, I enjoy to spend time with family as well as cycling, ceramics, traveling, and training Aikido.


Research description

I am interested in participation and inclusion among people who risk marginalisation.  Risk for marginalisation can in this context mean i.e. loosing one's job, having a disability, or being a migrant. Participation in this context is both about being part of society and how we can engage and involve people in research.  More about specific projects that I lead or are part of can be found on the research group website for:


More information about projects related to migration will soon be available. Please see Moving  People


Selected publications in occupational science, which illustrates a contribution to the furthering of conceptualising and understanding occupation as well as utilising occupation in research addressing topics such as migration and disability:

Bratun, U., & Asaba, E. (2008).  From individual to communal experiences of occupation: Drawing upon Qi Gong practices.  Journal of Occupational Science. 15(2), 80-86.…


Asaba, E.  (2008).  Hashi-ire: Where occupation, chopsticks, and mental health intersect.  Journal of Occupational Science. 15(2), 74-79.…


Asaba, E. & Wicks, A. (2010).  Occupational Potential.  Journal of Occupational Science. 17(2), 120-124.…


Sakiyama, M. Josephsson, S., & Asaba, E. (2010). What is participation: A story of mental illness, metaphor, and everyday occupation. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(3).…


Asaba, E. & Jackson, E. (2011).  Social ideologies embedded in everyday life: A narrative analysis about disability, identities, and occupation.  Journal of Occupational Science, 18(2), 139-152.…


Johansson, K., Rudman, D., Mondaca, M., Park, M., Josephsson, S., Luborsky, M., Asaba, E. (2013). Moving beyond ‘aging in place’ to understand migration and aging: Place making and the centrality of occupation. Journal of Occupational Science. 20(2), 108-119.…


Farias, L., & Asaba, E.  (2013). “The Family knot”: Negotiating identities and cultural values enacted through everyday occupations of a migrant family in Sweden. Journal of Occupational Science. 20(1), 36-47.…


Fischl, C., Asaba, E., & Nilsson, I. (2017). Exploring potential in participation mediated by digital technology among older adults. Journal of Occupational Science.


Jonsson, H. & Asaba, E. (2017). Aktivitet som begreb i aktivitetsvidenskaben. In Kristensen, H.K., Back Schou, A. & Mærsk (Eds.): Nordisk aktivitetsvidenskab. København: Munksgaard.


Asaba, E., Josephsson, S. & Jonsson, H. (2017). Vedenskabsteoretisk, filosofisk og teoretisk grundlag for aktivitetsvedenskaben. In Kristensen, H.K., Back Schou, A. & Mærsk (Eds.): Nordisk aktivitetsvidenskab.København: Munksgaard.


Asaba, E., Patomella, A-H., Guidetti, S., Kottorp, A., & Tham, K. (2018). Att främja hälsa och förebygga ohälsa genom engagerande aktiviteter: Ett exempel från prevention av stroke. In U. Kroksmark (Ed.): Hälsa och Aktivitet i Vardagen - ur ett arbetsterapeutiskt perspektiv. Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter.


Asaba, E., Aldrich, B., Gabrielsson, H., Ekstam, L., & Farias, L. (early online). Challenging conceptualisations of work: Revisiting contemporary experiences of return to work and unemployment. Journal of Occupational Science.


Berger, M., Asaba, E., Fallahpour, M., & Farias, L. (early online). The sociocultural shaping of mothers’ doing, being, becoming and belonging after returning to work. Journal of Occupational Science.

Teaching portfolio

For more information about my role in education in the first, second, and third cycles, please see:


Elected - Pedagogiska Akademin vid Karolinska Institutet

Faculty representative - Kommittén för utbildning på grund och avancerad nivå

Faculty representative - Forskarutbildningsprogrammet i vårdvetenskap (PUF-V)

Course Leader:

Observation and visual methods in health care sciences research

Preventing Illness or Promoting Health: Concepts and Illustrations from Healthcare Science Perspectives

In brief...

In my teaching portfolio I can briefly highlight both academic leadership and teaching. I am currently serving as faculty representative in the committee of education and am a member of the Pedagogiska Akademin at Karolinska Institutet.  I teach in the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs.  For the undergraduate occupational therapy students I am responsible for the Karolinska Institutet - Tokyo Metropolitan University exchange with a focus on interprofessional education.  In the masters and doctoral programs I am primarily responsible for conceptual coursework and research methods, with a particular focus on occupational science, narrative, and participatory visual methods. I also serve as supervisor for students at the masters and doctoral levels. 

Short personal reflection on learning...

I aspire to create an environment where learning is the anticipated outcome rather than a specific product.  I contend that the most sustainable learning happens when it is born from the wishes of the learner, and is both internally and externally rewarded through an increased understanding of a given phenomena or topic.

Aspects of education today, such as learning in a second language or negotiating different pedagogic traditions, challenges the student to find strategies to manage diverse academic endeavors, but it also challenges todays teachers to embrace an ambiguity of not knowing what will emerge when cultures, pedagogic traditions, and multiple languages meet in the contemporary classroom.  Adding to this, is the complexity of the contemporary classroom itself, something that today can be completely virtual. 

Teaching and learning mirrors social change and requires continuous reflection and reconsideration in order to meet the diverse needs of education. Today culture in the classroom (including language, social background, family values, education, gender, among more) has a relevant impact upon the methods that we choose.  Ultimately, creative environments in which students feel encouraged to take risks and embrace challenges facilitate learning.  The teacher has an instrumental role in this context, but not in the form of making unilateral decisions or sticking to all original plans.  A current topic of high priority is what teachers and students can do together to facilitate learning in an environment of diversity.


University of Southern California (2005) - Ph.D. in occupational science 

Springfield College (1995) - M.S. in occupational therapy 

Cornell College (1993) - B.A. in psychology 

Harvard University (1999) - graduate certificate in public health

Academic honours, awards and prizes

FORTE (Research Grant 2021-2023) - Co-applicant 

National Research School in Healthcare Sciences (2019-2023) grant for doctoral student) - Co-PI

EIT Health Grant (2019 Campus grant for CARE) - PI

Promobilia Foundation (2016 Research Grant) - PI

Swedish Aging Research Foundation Grant) - PI

Neuro Foundation (2015 Reseach Grant) - PI

Vårdal Foundation Grant (2015-2018) – Co-PI

National Research School in Healthcare Sciences (2014-2018 grant for doctoral student) - PI

Norrbacka Eugenia Foundation 2013 & 2015 Research Grants - PI

The Toyota Foundation 2010 Research Grant (2011-2012) - PI

Center for Care Sciences, Karolinska Institutet  (Postdoc Research Grant 2006)

2004 Penelope Louise Richardson Award (University of Southern California)

International Scholarship 2004-2005 (Phi Beta Kappa Alumni of Southern California - Alpha Association)

2003 Research Award (California Foundation for Occupational Therapy)

Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (Province 16-USC) (Charter Member (April 27, 2003))

Wilma West Scholarship 2002 (California Foundation for Occupational Therapy)