Eric Asaba

Eric Asaba

Senior Lecturer/Occupational Therapist | Docent
Telephone: +46852483838
Visiting address: Alfred Nobels Allé 23, 14183 Huddinge
Postal address: H1 Neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle, H1 Arbetsterapi Patomella, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am Associate professor and docent in occupational therapy with a joint
    appointment to Stockholms Sjukhem Hospital in Stockholm. I am also a
    guest professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University in Japan.

    Some of my academic leadership roles include:
    * faculty board member, doctoral program in healthcare sciences (PUF-V)
    * Representative, Strategic and collaborative committee for education between KI and Stockholm Region (UR)
    * Member, pedagogic academy at KI since 2015

    Some of my previous academic leadership roles include:
    * vice head at the department of neurobiology, care sciences, and society
    (NVS) (2019-2023)
    * Head, division of occupational therapy (2014-2019)
    * faculty representative, committee for higher education at KI (2019-2022)
    * KI Pedagogic ambassador for doctoral education (2022)

    In an attempt to balance work, rest, and play, I enjoy to spend time with
    family as well as cycling, aikido, and traveling.

    Selected Grants
    FORTE (Research Program 2023-2029) - Co-PI
    Kamprad (Research Grant 2024-2026) - Co-applicant
    SFO-V Research Grant 2022 - PI
    FORTE (Research Grant 2021-2023) - Co-applicant
    Research School in Health Sciences (2023-2027) grant for doctoral student) - PI
    Research School in Health Sciences (2019-2023) grant for doctoral student) - Co-PI
    EIT Health Grant (2019 Campus grant for CARE) - PI
    Promobilia Foundation (2016 Research Grant) - PI
    Swedish Aging Research Foundation Grant) - PI
    Neuro Foundation (2015 Reseach Grant) - PI
    Vårdal Foundation Grant (2015-2018) – Co-PI
    National Research School in Healthcare Sciences (2014-2018 grant for doctoral student) - PI
    Norrbacka Eugenia Foundation 2013 &
  • 2015 Research Grants - PI
    The Toyota Foundation 2010 Research Grant (2011-2012) - PI
    Center for Care Sciences, Karolinska Institutet (Postdoc Research Grant 2006)
    2004 Penelope Louise Richardson Award (University of Southern California)
    International Scholarship 2004-2005 (Phi Beta Kappa Alumni of Southern California - Alpha Association)
    2003 Research Award (California Foundation for Occupational Therapy)
    Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (Province 16-USC) (Charter Member (April 27, 2003))
    Wilma West Scholarship 2002 (California Foundation for Occupational Therapy)

    University of Southern California (2005) - Ph.D. in occupational science
    Springfield College (1995) - M.S. in occupational therapy
    Cornell College (1993) - B.A. in psychology
    Harvard University (1999) - graduate certificate in public health


  • I am interested in participation and inclusion among people who risk marginalisation. Risk for marginalisation can in this context mean i.e.
    loosing one's job, having a disability, or being a migrant. Participation in this context is both about being part of society and how we can engage and involve people in research. More about specific projects that I lead or are part of can be found on the research group website for:

    More information about projects related to migration will soon be available.
    Please see Moving People

    *Selected publications in occupational science, which illustrates a contribution to the furthering of conceptualising and understanding
    occupation in different country contexts as well as utilising occupation in research addressing topics such as migration, disability, return to work, and illness prevention*:
    Bratun, U., &
  • *Asaba, E.* (2008). From individual to communal experiences of occupation: Drawing upon Qi Gong practices. Journal of Occupational Science. 15(2), 80-86.

    *Asaba, E*. (2008). Hashi-ire: Where occupation, chopsticks, and mental health intersect. Journal of Occupational Science. 15(2), 74-79.

    *Asaba, E*. &
  • Wicks, A. (2010). Occupational Potential. Journal of
    Occupational Science. 17(2), 120-124.

    Sakiyama, M. Josephsson, S., &
  • *Asaba, E*. (2010). What is participation: A
    story of mental illness, metaphor, and everyday occupation. Journal of
    Occupational Science, 17(3).

    *Asaba, E*. &
  • Jackson, E. (2011). Social ideologies embedded in everyday
    life: A narrative analysis about disability, identities, and occupation.
    Journal of Occupational Science, 18(2), 139-152.

    Johansson, K., Rudman, D., Mondaca, M., Park, M., Josephsson, S., Luborsky,
    M., *Asaba, E*. (2013). Moving beyond ‘aging in place’ to understand
    migration and aging: Place making and the centrality of occupation. Journal
    of Occupational Science. 20(2), 108-119.

    Farias, L., &
  • *Asaba, E*. (2013). “The Family knot”: Negotiating
    identities and cultural values enacted through everyday occupations of a
    migrant family in Sweden. Journal of Occupational Science. 20(1), 36-47.

    Fischl, C., *Asaba, E*., &
  • Nilsson, I. (2017). Exploring potential in
    participation mediated by digital technology among older adults. Journal of
    Occupational Science.

    Jonsson, H. &
  • *Asaba, E*. (2017). Aktivitet som begreb i
    aktivitetsvidenskaben. In Kristensen, H.K., Back Schou, A. &
  • Mærsk
    (Eds.): Nordisk aktivitetsvidenskab. København: Munksgaard.

    *Asaba, E*., Josephsson, S. &
  • Jonsson, H. (2017). Vedenskabsteoretisk,
    filosofisk og teoretisk grundlag for aktivitetsvedenskaben. In Kristensen,
    H.K., Back Schou, A. &
  • Mærsk (Eds.): Nordisk
    aktivitetsvidenskab.København: Munksgaard.

    *Asaba, E*., Patomella, A-H., Guidetti, S., Kottorp, A., &
  • Tham, K.
    (2018). Att främja hälsa och förebygga ohälsa genom engagerande
    aktiviteter: Ett exempel från prevention av stroke. In U. Kroksmark
    (Ed.): Hälsa och Aktivitet i Vardagen - ur ett arbetsterapeutiskt
    perspektiv. Sveriges Arbetsterapeuter.

    *Asaba, E.*, Aldrich, B., Gabrielsson, H., Ekstam, L., &
  • Farias,
    L. (2021). Challenging conceptualisations of work: Revisiting contemporary
    experiences of return to work and unemployment. /Journal of Occupational
    Science. 28(1), 81-94.

    Ekstam, L., Pálsdóttir, A. M., &
  • *Asaba, E*. (2021). Migrants’
    experiences of a nature-based vocational rehabilitation programme in relation
    to place, occupation, health, and everyday life./ Journal of Occupational
    Science. /28:1, 144-158, DOI:10.1080/14427591.2021.1880964

    Berger, M., *Asaba, E*., Fallahpour, M., &
  • Farias, L. (2022). The
    sociocultural shaping of mothers’ doing, being, becoming and belonging
    after returning to work. /Journal of Occupational Science. 29(1), 7-20.

    Bratun, U., *Asaba, E*., and Zurc, J. (2022). Motives of Retirement-Aged
    Workers and the Importance of Doing-Being-Becoming-Belonging: A Systematic
    Review of Qualitative Studies. /Journal of Occupational Science/. DOI:

    *Asaba, E*., Patomella, A-H., Guidetti, S., Kottorp, A., &
  • Tham, K. (2022).
    Att främja hälsa och förebygga ohälsa genom engagerande aktiviteter: Ett
    exempel från prevention av stroke. 2:a upplagan. In P. Wagman (Ed.): /Hälsa
    och Aktivitet i Vardagen - ur ett arbetsterapeutiskt perspektiv/. Sveriges

    Jonsson, H. &
  • Kruse, N., *Asaba, E*. (2022). Aktivitet som begreb i
    aktivitetsvidenskaben. In Kristensen, H.K., Back Schou, A. &
  • Mærsk (Eds.):
    /Nordisk aktivitetsvidenskab 2a upplaga/. København: Munksgaard.

    *Asaba, E*., Josephsson, S. &
  • Madsen, J., Jonsson, H. (2022).
    Vedenskabsteoretisk, filosofisk og teoretisk grundlag for
    aktivitetsvedenskaben. In Kristensen, H.K., Back Schou, A. &
  • Mærsk (Eds.):
    /Nordisk aktivitetsvidenskab 2a upplaga/. København: Munksgaard


  • For more information about my role in education in the first, second, and
    third cycles, please see:

    *Course Leader for following courses in doctoral education at KI*:
    Observation and visual methods in health care sciences research [1]
    Preventing Illness or Promoting Health: Concepts and Illustrations from Healthcare Science Perspectives [2]
    Health Science and Implementation: Conceptual Foundations [3]

    In brief...
    In my teaching portfolio I can briefly highlight both academic leadership and
    teaching. I am currently serving as faculty representative in the committee
    of education and am a member of the Pedagogiska Akademin at Karolinska
    Institutet. I teach in the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs.
    For the undergraduate occupational therapy students I am responsible for
    the Karolinska Institutet - Tokyo Metropolitan University exchange with a
    focus on interprofessional education. In the masters and doctoral programs
    I am primarily responsible for conceptual coursework and research methods,
    with a particular focus on occupational science, narrative, and
    participatory visual methods. I also serve as supervisor for students at
    the masters and doctoral levels.
    Short personal reflection on learning...
    I aspire to create an environment where learning is the anticipated outcome
    rather than a specific product. I contend that the most sustainable
    learning happens when it is born from the wishes of the learner, and is both
    internally and externally rewarded through an increased understanding of a
    given phenomena or topic.
    Aspects of education today, such as learning in a second language or
    negotiating different pedagogic traditions, challenges the student to find
    strategies to manage diverse academic endeavors, but it also challenges
    todays teachers to embrace an ambiguity of not knowing what will emerge when
    cultures, pedagogic traditions, and multiple languages meet in the
    contemporary classroom. Adding to this, is the complexity of the
    contemporary classroom itself, something that today can be completely
    Teaching and learning mirrors social change and requires continuous
    reflection and reconsideration in order to meet the diverse needs of
    education. Today culture in the classroom (including language, social
    background, family values, education, gender, among more) has a relevant
    impact upon the methods that we choose. Ultimately, creative environments
    in which students feel encouraged to take risks and embrace challenges
    facilitate learning. The teacher has an instrumental role in this context,
    but not in the form of making unilateral decisions or sticking to all
    original plans. A current topic of high priority is what teachers and
    students can do together to facilitate learning in an environment of


All other publications


  • Senior Lecturer/Occupational Therapist, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 2021-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2014
  • PhD, Occupational Science, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 2005
  • Public Health, Public Health, Extension, Harvard University, 1999
  • M.Sc., Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Springfield College, 1995
  • B.A., Psychology, Psychology, Cornell College, 1993

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