Profile picture Lisa Holmlund

Lisa Holmlund (f.d Bergmark)

Assistant professor

About me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Division of Occupational Therapy at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society at Karolinska Institutet, where I conduct research and teach at bachelor's and master's levels. I earned my doctoral degree in 2019 through my dissertation titled 'Return to work: exploring paths toward work after spinal cord injury and designing a rehabilitation intervention.'

In addition to my role within the Division of Occupational Therapy, I am also an associated researcher at Uppsala University in the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, specifically within the Health Equity and Working Life division, Additionally, I am engaged in research collaborations with the Division of Physiotherapy at Karolinska Institutet, and the Unit of Intervention and Implementation Research for Worker Health at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet,….

My background includes clinical experience as a registered Occupational Therapist specialising in rehabilitation after spinal cord injury. I have a keen interest in issues related to everyday life participation, including work. This is why I actively participate in the research and development initiatives of Rehab Station Stockholm,, and hold a position as a board member of the Nordic Spinal Cord Society (NoSCoS).

Research description

My research area focuses on health and everyday life, particularly in the field of intervention and implementation research for occupational health. The research takes place at the intersection of science and practice.

ReWork-SCI My thesis, titled ‘Return to work: exploring paths toward work after spinal cord injury and designing a rehabilitation intervention’, was funded by the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences and doctoral grants from the Norrbacka Eugenia Foundation. This work aimed to generate knowledge about return to work and to develop and evaluate the design and feasibility of a complex intervention that can complement the current return-to-work (RTW) systems. The findings illustrated the complexity and positioning of RTW within social, labour market, and societal contexts. Furthermore, the results showed fragmented support in RTW after SCI and the risk of absent or delayed RTW processes. The development of ReWork-SCI involves person-centred, structured, and coordinated support when returning to work. The intervention was feasible in a clinical context, but remodelling is necessary before evaluating its effectiveness. Further research aims to develop a new and adapted ReWork-SCI program, and the prototype of program delivery for sustainable employment after spinal cord injury through co-creation is planned.

CORE and PROSA Between 2019-2022, I held a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Unit of Intervention and Implementation Research for Worker Health, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. During this period, I was involved in two projects:

  1. CORE This project, funded by AFA Insurance, focused on facilitators, barriers, and ethical values related to the coordination of RTW among employees on sick leave due to common mental disorders (CMDs). The results demonstrated the need for detailed packaging of coordination, formalisation of coordinators' qualifications and levels of training, and acknowledgement of the role of organisational factors in implementing coordination. The project also highlighted ethical issues of unequal access and support in the coordination of RTW.
  2. PROSA In the context of my postdoc, I was awarded postdoctoral support from AFA Insurance for the project, "A problem-solving intervention to increase return to work among people on sick leave due to CMDs - effects on short-term sick leave, psychosocial factors, and balance in everyday life?" This project was conducted in collaboration with the University of Groningen, Professor Ute Bültmann, and researchers at the universities of Gävle and Gothenburg. The results showed that sick leave due to CMDs was understood as related to experiences of accumulated events situated in different social, cultural, and societal contexts of everyday life. Moreover, the findings showed that psychosocial work demands and work-to-home interference are associated with a longer time to RTW after sick leave due to CMDs. Overall, the results indicate the need for a continuous and transparent dialogue between employees and employers and that the influence of organisational culture and structure must be reviewed in accommodating employees on sick leave due to CMDs.

Collaboration with Uppsala University, Health Equity and Working Life As an associated researcher at Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, I am involved in two projects relating to prerequisites for increased inclusion and sustainability in working life for young adults with OCD and ADHD. These projects aim to a) investigate what characterises different patterns of work participation, sick leave, and unemployment in the case of OCD and ADHD and what role co-morbidity and gender have for this; and b) deepen the knowledge of individual and societal prerequisites for work entry and sustainable work participation. More information about the projects can be found here:

Collaboration with Division of Physioterapy, Karolinska Institutet I am involved in the program, M-Health, Mobile Health to Promote Physical Activity in People Post-Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack with a primary role relating to qualitative methodology and methods for evaluating the program's feasibility. The program is based on an existing program (i-REBOUND – Let's get moving) developed in Australia. More information about the program can be found in the protocol, "Mobile health to promote physical activity in people post-stroke or transient ischemic attack – study protocol for a feasibility randomized controlled trial"

Teaching portfolio

Teaching in Swedish and English at the undergraduate and advanced levels.

Undergraduate education: Occupational Therapy Program, Karolinska Institutet, I am responsible for course 1AR035, Participation and Environment, and course 1AR037, Scientific Design and Methodology.

Advanced level: Supervision and examination of master's level theses. I have also been responsible for the course 4FH098, Introduction to Planning and Program Development,


PhD - medical sciences, 2019, Karolinska Institutet

Master degree - Occupational Therapy, 2009, Karolinska Institutet

Bachelor Degree - Occupational Threapy, 2001, Umeå University

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Doctoral Grants from Norrbacka-Eugenia Foundation,…

Postdoctoral grants from Afa Insurance,…