About me

-Professor of Multicultural Health and Care Research, Cultural Medicine Unit, Department of LIME, Karolinska Institututet (KI), since 2015, (20%).

-Licensed psychologist at Academic Primary Health Care Center, Region Stockholm, since 2014


Some previous appointments

-Senior researcher, Dept of LIME (2010-2014)

-PI Section for stress research, KI (1986-94), Head (IPM, migration and health, 1994-2007), group leader (Stress Research Institute 2007-2010)

-Guest professor, 15%, Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society

-Adjunct lecturer, 20% Dept of Neurotec, KI, Center for Psychiatric Research Stocholm

-Clinical psychologist 1974-1985 (psychiatry), community (1986), primary health care (2014-, 40%)

Research description

Our increasingly global and multicultural society alongside an egalitarian and sustainable health care policy places new demands on us all. My research area is in multicultural health and care research. I give four projects as examples:

1. Early mental health promotion measures are needed. Events that elicit stress after arrival in the reception country, “postmigration stress”, have a negative impact on health-related quality of life among newcomers. An innovative model, adapted from a Harvard model (professor Richard Mollica) of culturally tailored health promotion groups for refugees have been performed by my research group among newcoming refugees and relatives in several Swedish contexts with promising results. The results are of significance not only for the individual and his/her relatives but also for healthcare and society as a whole. We have collaborated before Covid-19 in several communities, on a small scale. After Covid-19, a pilot study is at present performed at Röda Korsets folkhögskola, Skärholmen (KI-Stockholm city agreement). This intervention is also significant for chronic patients as foreign borns have higher amount of public health disorders (eg diabetes, heart problems, cancer) than the Swedish borns.

2. Technological progress and changes in health care practices, with an increased focus on clinical communication and contemplation, have successively led to the increased use of simulation models (Virtual patients including Virtual interpreter and Virtual supervisor) as a method of instruction, learning and clinical interviewing within the field of medicine. To achieve this,  my research group have chosen a strategy of developing computerised patient simulations in national (SU) and international (Harvard) collaborations, where medical students and in future psychology students and resident doctors can practice and provide feedback to a virtual counsellor. A new project funded by FORTE and ALF-Ped is entitled “Virtual Clinical Encounters between doctors and refugee patients for medical assessment and follow-up: To develop, test and evaluate the impact on empathy” (Erica Rothlind, PhD in 2020). Publications: 

Rothlind, E., Fors, U., Salminen, H., Wändell, P., & Ekblad, S. (2021). Virtual patients reflecting the clinical reality of primary care - a useful tool to improve cultural competence. BMC Med Educ, 21(1), 270. doi:10.1186/s12909-021-02701-z

Rothlind, E. (2020). Overlooking health acculturation: a grounded theory study illustrating the complexity of intercultural consultation in Swedish primary care. Diss. Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.  

Rothlind, E., Fors, U., Salminen, H., Wandell, P., & Ekblad, S. (2020). The informal curriculum of family medicine - what does it entail and how is it taught to residents? A systematic review. BMC Fam Pract, 21(1), 49. doi:10.1186/s12875-020-01120-1

Rothlind, E., Fors, U., Salminen, H., Wandell, P., & Ekblad, S. (2018). Circling the undefined-A grounded theory study of intercultural consultations in Swedish primary care. PLoS One, 13(8), e0203383. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203383

Rothlind E, Fors U, Salminen H, Wandell P, Ekblad S. Primary care consultations on emotional distress – a part of the acculturation process in patients with refugee backgrounds. A grounded theory approach. Manuscript under review with BMC Fam Pract. 2021:22:138. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-021-01487-9

3. Serious parental illness is a risk factor of ill health in the children of the family. Health care staff in Sweden is legally obliged to ensure that the children of seriously ill parents are informed and have received advice and support regarding their parents’ illness. In primary health care, no method that can help parents communicate information about their illness to their children exists. The aim of this doctoral project (Charlotte Oja) was to test the safety and effects of the psycho-educational method “Let´s Talk about the Children” for use in primary health care for helping seriously ill parents to relate information about their illness to their children. (Charlotte Oja, PhD, 2021), publications:

Oja, S., Edbom, T., Nager, A., Månsson, J., Ekblad, S. Awareness of parental illness: a grounded theory of upholding family equilibrium in parents on long-term sick-leave in primary health care. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care.Published online: 21 Jun 2021.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02813432.2021.1928835

Oja, S., Edbom, T., Nager, A., Månsson, J., Ekblad, S. Informing children of their parent’s illness: A systematic review of intervention programs with child outcomes in all health care settings globally from Inception to 2019. PLOS ONE, PPS-2019-10-9, accepted May 11, published May 26. 2020:15(5):e0233696. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone 0233696

Oja, C., Edbom, T., Nager, A., Månsson J., Ekblad, S. Alone Making Life Work for Both of Us- How Children Aged 11–16 View Themselves in Relation to Their Chronically Ill Parents in a Primary Health Care Context, International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2018.1548360 (No 27, 2018)

Oja, C. Upholding family relationships in a context of increasing awareness of parental illness. Inst för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle / Dept of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society; Dissertation KI, 2021.

4. Translation/backtranslation and validation of General Medical Council Multi-Source Feedback Questionnaires for evaluation clinical competence among residence doctors in family medicine a pilot project  and supervisor in VESTA (residence doctors in Family Medicine (AT/ST unit at APC). Publications:

Olsson, J-E, Ekblad, S., Bertilson, BC., Toth-Pal, E. Swedish adaptation of the General Medical Council's Multi Source Feedback Questionnaires – A qualitative study. International Journal of Medical Education, 2018;9:161-169 doi:10.5116/ijme.5af6.c209

Olsson, J-E., Wallentin, V.Y., Toth-Pal, E., Ekblad, S., Bertilson, BC. Psychometric analysis of the Swedish version of the General Medical Council’s multi-source feedback questionnaires. International Journal of Medical Education 2017;8:252-261 https://www.ijme.net/ DOI: 10.5116/ijme.5948.0bb6


•155 Abstracts for presentation on international conferences, 150 in Swedish

•1 book (co-editor, APA), 1 book (Swedish), 1 book (co-author, Swedish) and 1 manus

Number of publications since 1984: 101 articles in international scientific journals, 55 in Swedish scientific journals, 101 book chapters (53 In English), 1 book, 1 book (co-editor, APA), 21 Stress Research Reports, 2 invited commentaries, 5 guest editorials (Swedish), more than 155 abstracts at  international scientific conferences and 150 in Swedish


Research cooperation outside KI:

Internationally with researchers from universities in Copenhagen, Denmark, London, UK, Harvard, USA

Supervision: Supervised (in transcultural psychiary and psychology, public health and pediatric care, medical education) 12 PhDs to dissertation (1 of them  as a co-supervisor), 2 licentiats

Supervisor of postdocs and previously of 1 postdocs

Undergraduate level: total 65; 34 (D-level in medicine, psychology, public health 20 weeks/30 ECT), 31 (C-level 10 weeks/15 ECT), 32 medical students T7 or T11, own project, 7,5 hp,1 CHESS traineship (7,5hp)

•56 VESTA (CeFam, residence doctors in family medicine), 1 KVAST, 1 ST-psychiatry, 6 ongoing VESTA;

•International Federation of Medical Students’ Association, research exchange, supervision of Shichao Zhang, Medical Student, T6, PT China July 13-August 7, 2015


External funding from e.g.

Ekblad: Intervention programs for new-coming asylum seekers and Refugees, HSN 0803-0349 (Folkhälsoanslaget), KI, 2,000 000 SEK (2008-11)

Ekblad: FAS-2009-1482, A scientific national and international network in migration, social medicine and global mental health, KI, 300 000 SEK (2009-13)

Ekblad: FAS-2007-1961, Immigrant women’s health, KI, 2 850 000 SEK + KID (2008-12)

Ekblad: scientific leader, Socialstyrelsen, Platform between Södertälje community and Stockholm county council regarding needs and care of new-coming refugees, KI, 960 000 (Carlén, M, PI, Psykiatricenter Södertälje) (2010), approved continuation 2011, 998 000 SEK and approved continueation 2012, 998 000 SEK (Hägglöf, C, PI, Södertälje municipality)

Ekblad: PI, Tailored interactive training with virtual advisor encounters to improve under-standing and retention of basic statistics in doctoral students – an individualised and inter-cultural collaborative learning framework. KI, Dnr 3532/10-509, (2011) 200 000 SEK

Ekblad: project partner, NIH Grant (Richard Mollica: PI, Harvard and foreign adjunct professor in psychiatry at KI,) Virtual encounters-an innovative research and collaborative education program in the field of caring for traumatized patients (pilot study 2011-2012) 89 000 US$, plan to apply for the main RCT study Spring 2014

Ekblad: PI, Webbased Health School for students and patients in Stockholm’s multicultural primary health care (Verktyg för att förbättra interkulturell kompetens över professionsgränser på verksamhetsförlagd utbildning i primärvården). ALF-ped  Diarienr SLL20110292 (2012) 300 000 SEK; Diarienr SLL20130186, 2014-2015, 350 000 SEK/year

1.6miljonerklubben (PI) (Ekblad, KI partner; L-O Larsson Angereds närsjukhus partner) Lifestyle course – for female new-comers as  third country nationals Integrationsfonden, 2012-2014 (june), 2 706 087 SEK

Ekblad, S (PI) Virtual Clinical Encounters between doctors and refugee patients for medical assesment and follow-up: To develop, test and evaluate the impact on empathy , 2014-0853FORTE, Approved 2014-09-25 2 580 000 SEK 2015-2017

Main supervisor project Primary health clinics facilities to detect and prevent health problems in children and young people whose parents are on long term sick leave (Primärvårdens möjligheter att upptäcka och förebygga ohälsa hos barn och unga vars föräldrar är långvarigt sjukskrivna). Sponsor: Capio

Expert “Health/lifestyle course to newcoming women”, to Växjö municipality by primary health care and Rehab centre and Public health unit, Landstinget Kronoberg (contacgt person: Erica Ericsson),  1/8 2014-juni 2015, total 680 000 SEK


Some current commissions:

Mentor at KI: 1 female PhD (2010-), 1 female PhD (2012-)

Program Co-Director (2012-); Member of intl Faculty in Master Program “Global Mental Health – Trauma and Recovery”. 2 weeks on site and 5 months web-based learning. Yearly 50 international students. 350 participants in the alumini network (www.hprt-cambridge.org)

(2006-) “Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma – 2014 ad Oriveto Porano, Italy, 11,20 minutes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EevQqD8vK-g

Member, Examination Board at KI, 18 halfway control seminars, 22 dissertation seminars 1994-2015

KID evaluator, Karolinska Institutet, Sept 3, 2013, 2014, 2015 (global health, qualitative methods)

Member of Rätt till vård initiative (vårdetiskt nätver/careethical network) Member of right to care (http://www.vårdpapperslosa.se, 2012-

Adjunct professor at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, lectures in their Global Mental Health II seminar, Spring 2013 – ongoing (video-conference)

Project expert in ”Health promoting interventions by taobacco prevention on receipt in the

primary health care in Stockholm County Council” (PI=Tanja Tomson), LIME/KI, Sep 2013-

Member of Review Panel – International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, March 27 2014-

Medical expert in the medical reference group, 1,6&2,6miljonerklubben (www.1.6miljonerklubben.com). 2014-


Some previous commissions:

Coordinator. A scientific network for national and international PhD-studies in the field of migration, social medicine, global mental health, (1993-2011) (www.fas.se)

Co-chair (prof Derrick Silove, NSW, Australia), Intl Committee for Mental Health of Migrants and Refugees, World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) (1997-2000)

Transcultural psychiatry. Scholarship in the name of  prof Bengt Jansson, KI, 1999

Member of Karolinska Institutet’s Ethical Council, Stockholm (2005-2009)

Majblomman. Queen Sylvia gave the diploma at a ceremony, Castle, Stockholm, 2006

Member of scientific board, DIGNITY (former RCT), Copenhagen, Denmark (2009-2013)

Member of scientific review group for applications (PhD students and post doc) to Care Sciences, KI, 2003-2009

Examinator, international PhD, NSW, Australia, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2012

External faculty opponent, 2006, licentiate, Umeå University

Mentor: 2 female post doc (2002, 2008), 1 male PhD (2009-2014)

Invited member of an Expert Panel Group in the field of Mental Health, Immigrant Perspective and children to parents with diseases, Evaluation of applications, The Research Council of Norway, Oslo, 2011, 2013

Erasmusprogram, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), centre for Psychiatry, August 15-29, 2013

Expert candidate number EX2013D152061 European Comission, November 29, 2013 (http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/page/experts)

International expert for UNHCR at seminar “Mental Health and Psychosocial Treatment for Victims of Trafficing, Torture and Rape, in Tel Aviv, 10-12 December 2013

Diplom for excellent supervision on the course Master in Medicine Spring 2012 at Karolinska Institutet(Fanny Berger, ceremony June 5, 2014)


Graduated as B.A. Psychology, Sociology, Pedagogy, University of Uppsala, 1972 and M.A. Psychology, University of Umeå, 1974

Doctor Medical Sciences, PhD (psychiatry), Karolinska Institutet (KI), Huddinge university hospital, Dept of psychiatry, Title: Social Determinants of Aggressive Behaviour in a Sample of Chinese Primary School Children, supervisor: professor Bengt Jansson, MD, PhD, 1986 

Visiting scientists (1 v) prof Michael Rutter, London University 1986 and in PRChina 1988-1990

Associate Professor in Transcultural Psychology at Karolinska Institutet, 1992, Professor competence  2006 (KI- Dnr 176/05-221)

Licensed psychologist, National Board of Health and Welfare, 1978