Profilfoto på Johan von Schreeb. En man i grön tröja och glasögon

Johan von Schreeb


Surgeon and professor of global disaster medicine, heads the research group Global Disaster Medicine - Health Needs and Response and is the director of the Centre for Health Crises.

About me

Professor in Global Disaster Medicine at the Department of Global Public Health. I am the director for the Centre for Health Crises and research group leader for the group Global Disaster Medicine - Health Needs and Response. The group is a WHO collaborative centre that provides training in global disaster medicine and trauma care in austere settings, conducts research and supports policy work within the field. We were part of setting up the WHO led Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) initiative and co-authored key documents.

I am a medical doctor specialised in general surgery and did my first field mission in 1989 with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and have continued to work with MSF in disasters world wide. For WHO, I served as WHO's EMT coordinator during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone 2014. In 2016-17, I gave trauma care support in Mosul and in 2017 conducted training in trauma care in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine and in 2018 conducted similar training in Yemen, all for WHO. During the COVID-19 pandemic I have served as an advisor on disaster medicine to the Swedish National Board of health and welfare as well as to Stockholm county council. In August 2020 I was deployed as EMT coordinator for WHO to Lebanon for 5 months following the Beirut blast and explosion of COVID-19 cases. In 2021 I continued to support WHO in Lebanon and conducted training on mass casualty management in Iraq. In March and April 2022 I was seconded to WHO in Ukraine to serve as coordinator for international Emergency Medical Teams.

I am the co-founder of the Swedish section of MSF and served as its president for seven years and have been board member of MSF Belgium and Hong Kong.

Based on my field experience as a front line surgeon I published the book “Katastrofdoktorn” Brombergs förlag, 2015. I regularly appear as a disaster medicine expert in radio and television. I also spend lots of time with the artist-run gallery Candyland that I am part of.

Research description

The research aims at providing scientific evidence to support improvements in assisting people and populations affected by disasters worldwide. Moreover, my research explores how health needs and risks vary depending on type of disaster and context. My group also explores type and level of trauma care needed in resource scarce settings and assess predictions models for early trauma mortality. We also assess health system resilience to disasters. Please see publication list for more information.

Teaching portfolio

Global Disaster Medicine - Health Needs and Response runs several courses that focuses on managing significant number of disaster affected including management of injuries. The courses cover both clinical and public aspects of disasters using limited resources. The courses include the two year Erasmus Mundus course "Public health in disasters", that is offered in partnership with two European Universities. A 20 ECT course "public health response in disasters" is offered as a free standing course. Every semester a two week elective course (SVK) in "disaster medicine" for medical students is offered. Moreover, a 9-week humanitarian health assistance course is offered for volunteers deploying with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We offer specific trainings in disaster medicine for Swedish doctors undergoing specialisation. Through KI education the group commissions courses and accepts assignments. In 2020 we develop on line courses in hygiene procedures for health staff working with COVID-19. The courses has had more than 160 000 students. We run trainings in mass casualty management and have developed simulations tools including ViTrieEX (Virtual Triage Exercise) and AnTriEx (Analouge triage exercise). We have conducted trainings in Iraq, Yemen, Cambodia, Lebanon, Ukraine. The tools are available free of charge.


Professor, MD, PhD, Specialist in general surgery

Academic honours, awards and prizes

  • Awarded Swede of the year 2014 by the news magazine Fokus
  • Awardes the Prins Carl medal by the Swedish King in 2014 for outstanding humanitarian work