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About me

I am Assistant Professor at the Division of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Karolinska Institutet, Board Member of the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (ENOTHE), and Associate Editor of Journal of Occupational Science. I completed a Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Western University (2017), a European M.Sc. in OT at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (2012), and a B.Sc. in Human Occupation and a professional degree in OT at the University of Chile (2008). I am also a licensed OT in Chile and Sweden with work experience in both countries. 

Research description

The broad goal of my research is to explore and address issues of social and health inequity that affect people's and communities possibilities for participation in everyday activities (occupations) that they need to, want to and/or are expected to do. To advance this intent, my research has primarily aimed to a) examine relevant political, cultural and socioeconomic factors that exclude individuals and groups from fully participating in society, and b) to explore theoretical approaches, practices, and methodologies that can enact critically-informed, social transformative, and collaborative processes between key stakeholders and groups experiencing marginalization. Addressing these areas, I draw on critical social theory, and participatory and dialogical approaches to problematize what is often taken-for-granted to promote reflection and possibilities for action. As an example of this, my doctoral thesis forwards a critical dialogical approach and critical reflexivity to enact values such as transparency, partnership, and democratization of the research process.

One of my early research experiences focused on the exploration of the intersections between identity, culture, and occupation after forced migration. This type of research expands understandings of health associated with the presence/absence of illness to consider how social processes such as migration affect the health of individuals and communities. Additionally, I have also been involved in research that seeks to enact collaborative processes with people who experience varying forms of marginalization such as sex workers, immigrants, people affected by substance abuse, among others. Building on this work, I hope to continue expanding occupation-based scholarship by collaborating with other researchers and community organizations interested in exploring and addressing health and social inequities. 

Publications in Occupational Science (English):

Magalhães, L., Farias, L., Rivas-Quarneti, N., Alvarez, L., & Malfitano, A. P. S. (2018). The development of occupational science outside the Anglophone sphere: Enacting global collaboration. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-12. doi:10.1080/14427591.2018.1530133

Farias, L., & Laliberte Rudman, D. (2016). A critical interpretative synthesis of the uptake of critical perspectives in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 23(1), 33-50. doi:10.1080/14427591.2014.989893

Farias, L., & Asaba, E. (2013). The family knot:  Negotiating identities and cultural values through everyday occupations of an immigrant family in Sweden. Journal of Occupational Science, 20(1), 36-47. doi:10.1080/14427591.2013.764580

Publications in other languages (Spanish):

Veiga Seijo, S., Farias, L., & Rivas Quarneti, N. (2017). El trabajo precario como ocupación situada: Estudio exploratorio de experiencias de trabajadores en el contexto de crisis económica española [Precarious work as situated occupation: Exploratory study of workers' experiences in the context of Spanish economic crisis]. Brazilian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 25(4). doi:

González, L., Rivas-Quarneti, N., & Farías, L. (2016). Estudio de alcance de terapia ocupacional y drogodependencias: Reflexiones críticas de los contextos, prioridades y miradas en la investigación [A scoping review of Occupational Therapy literature on drug addiction: Critical reflections on contexts, priorities and research perspectives]. Revista Chilena de Terapia Ocupacional, 12(2), 9-21. doi:10.5354/0717-5346.2016.44747

Farias, L., & López, C. (2013). La formación de pregrado de Terapia ocupacional en Chile visto desde la perspectiva de los estudiantes: ¿Cuál es la percepción de necesidades que tienen los estudiantes de Terapia Ocupacional en relación a su proceso de formación? [Occupational Therapy undergraduate education in Chile seen from the students’ perspective: What are students’ perceptions of needs in relation their undergraduate education?] Revista Chilena de Terapia Ocupacional, 13 (1), 43-50. doi:10.5354/0717-6767.2013.27451

Farias, L. (2012). Experiencias de Terapeutas Ocupacionales trabajando en el extranjero: La influencia de la propia cultura en la práctica profesional [Experiences of Occupational Therapists working abroad: The influence of one’s own culture on professional practice]. Revista de Terapia Ocupacional Galicia, TOG A Coruña, 9(15), 21.

Fagnilli, J., & Farias, L. (2011). Sistematización de las experiencias del curso en línea “nuevas tecnologías y Terapia Ocupacional”: Nuevas competencias para la Terapia Ocupacional [Systematization of the experiences of the on line course “New Technologies and Occupational Therapy”: New Competences for Occupational Therapy]. Revista Chilena de Terapia Ocupacional, 11(1), 65-77. doi:10.5354/0717-6767.2011.17083

Farias, L., Guerra, V., Cifuentes, T., Rozas, S., & Riveros M. (2010). Consumo problemático de drogas y Terapia Ocupacional: Componentes Ocupacionales evaluados durante el proceso de tratamiento y rehabilitación [Problematic drug abuse and Occupational Therapy: Occupational Components assessed during the process of treatment and rehabilitation]. Revista Chilena de Terapia Ocupacional, 10, 45-56. doi:10.5354/0717-6767.2010.10559

Book Chapters

Nichols B., Farias L. (2018) Maternal Care in Guatemala: Problematizing Discourses of Development, Transnational Advocacy, and Indigeneity. In: Schwartz D. (eds) Maternal Death and Pregnancy-Related Morbidity Among Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America. Global Maternal and Child Health (Medical, Anthropological, and Public Health Perspectives). Springer.

Teaching portfolio

I teach in the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels at KI. At the Occupational Therapy undergraduate program, I teach subjects related to the areas of the influence of context on health, social participation, and occupation. I also have experience teaching about Occupational Science (models and theories, particularly critical theoretical perspectives) at different educational levels in Canada, Chile, and Sweden.

Regarding my teaching philosophy, I use a dialogical perspective (Freire, 1970; Shor, 1992) to contest and build on learners previous knowledge, integrating their experiences in the learning process. One of the main points of dialogical learning is that it recognizes that people learn both outside and inside the classroom. This means that a dialogical perspective seeks to provide people with opportunities to critically analyze new knowledge/situations based on their previous experiential knowledge. Consequently, the learning activities that I use are planned to embrace a problem-posing format to transform learning into a process where students can construct their own knowledge by critically analyzing the world they live in.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2019 Swedish Occupational Therapists Scholarship

2019 Global Bridges Program (Strategic Grants SFO-V, Karolinska Institutet)

2019 Ingela Petersson Lies Memorial Fund (NVS, Karolinska Institutet)

2013-2017 The Ontario Trillium Scholarship (Doctoral Fellowship, Canada)

2013-2017 Western Graduate Research Scholarship (Western University, Canada)

2016 Student Research Grant in Occupational Science from the Society for the Study of Occupation:USA        

2016 Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) Award (Teaching Award, Western University)

2015 Global Opportunities (GO) Award for Health Sciences (Western University)

2014 Award in Student Scholarship from the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists

2007 The Linnaeus–Palme Scholarship (Linnaeus-Palme Foundation, Sweden)

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