Emma Swärdh

Emma Swärdh

Assistant Senior Lecturer
Visiting address: Alfred Nobels Allé 23, 14183 Huddinge
Postal address: H1 Neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle, H1 Fysioterapi, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am a physiotherapist and work as an assistant senior lecturer at the Division of Physiotherapy. My expertise is largely in the areas of health promotion, health education and behavioral medicine but I also have a strong commitment to sustainable development including planetary health and sustainable health care. I am a course ledare in courses at the Physiotherapy program and teach in all its semesters.

    I have an assignment as an environmental- and sustainability representative at NVS, and I am a member of the Council for Environment and Sustainable Development at KI. I also support the Planetary Health Alliance and the Environmental Physiotherapy Association. I have been active in the Swedish Association of Physiotherapists, as a boardmember of the workinggroups for Pain and for Rheumatology.

    Over the years, I have had the privilege of lecturing, holding workshops and creating educational materials for both the public, patient associations, the pharmaceutical industry and media companies. I thus have good experience of working with Karolinska's third workarea, and can highlight and disseminate research results and evidence, in a popular science and inspiring way.

    During the years 2015-2022 I worked in an interprofessional and patient-inclusive project "LiR - Levnadsvanor inom reumatologi" funded by the National Board of Health and Welfare. The project group developed a working model, the LiR model. The model provides a common knowledge base for different health professionals on the lifestyle habits of physical activity, diet, alcohol and tobacco, creates a simple workflow for employees in rheumatology and clarifies the patient's path to support in the change process. 

  • In-depth skills development: 
  • (a selection of courses)

    • Climate psychology
    • Environmental psychology and design
    • Behavioral change for sustainability
    • Earth's climate and climate change
    • Social sustainability from a public health perspective
    • Educating for sustainable development
    • Contributing to sustainable development through teaching
    • Health promotion
    • Health education
    • Behavioral medicine methods in physiotherapy
    • Basic higher education pedagogy
    • Teaching in a glocal university
    • Higher Education Didactics in Sustainability
    • FAL - Future Academic Leaders 

    Academic honours, awards and prizes

    • 2024 Karolinska Institute Sustainability Award
    • 2019 Ingrid Odéns pris för forskning inom fysioterapi
    • 2013 Reumatikerförbundets vårdforskningspris
    • 2009 ARHP Graduate Student Award (American College of Rheumatology)


  • My research area currently focuses on education for sustainable development in Physiotherapy where I am the research leader in the project ESD-P Sweden. Previous research projects have included physical activity and behavior change in patients with rheumatic diseases.


  • I have a strong commitment to teaching, learning and pedagogy, have worked with teaching in about 20 different courses at basic and advanced level since 2007, and have developed teaching &

  • learning as well as participated in pedagogical assignments for many years. Most of my teaching at the basic level has been within the physiotherapy program at KI semesters 1-6, but also within other courses at KI and outside KI. The advanced courses I have taught have been freestanding courses, courses within master programs and commissioned courses at KI. I have also planned and taught a MOOC course at KI.

    I have been the course leader for courses at the basic level between 2014-2023, and for courses at the advanced level between 2012-2016, KI.

    2023- Education Committee CNS, KI

    2022- Education Counsil, Physiotherapy programme, KI

    2015-2017 Education Counsil, Physiotherapy programme, KI

    2015-2016 Education Committee NVS, KI


All other publications


  • Assistant Senior Lecturer, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 2013
  • Master Of Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, 2006
  • Bachelor Of Science In Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, 2002
  • Bachelor Of Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, 2002

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