Helena Nordenstedt

Helena Nordenstedt

Principal Researcher | Docent
Visiting address: Widerströmska huset Tomtebodavägen 18 A, plan 3, 17165 Solna
Postal address: K9 Global folkhälsa, K9 GPH Ekström Nordenstedt, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am an associate professor and teacher in global health with broad research interests. I also have an assignment as expert coordinator at the Centre for Health Crises at KI, in the field of health system resilience. My research projects span from learning lessons from infectious disease outbreaks to prevent the next outbreak to non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, with a special focus on low-income settings.

    Briefly about me:
    - Specialist physician (internal medicine, Danderyd Hospital 2016)
    - Associate professor and teacher in Global health KI (2020)
    - Senior advisor and previously Head of research for the Gapminder Foundation. Gapminder was started by the late Professor Hans Rosling, his son Ola Rosling and daughter in law Anna Rönnlund Rosling to "Fight devastating ignorance with a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand".
    - Physician for Médecins sans Frontières in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Guinea during the big Ebola outbreak in 2014-15. Board member for the Swedish section of MSF 2015-16.
    - SIGHT Fellowship 2017-2019 - Global Health Leadership Program. One out of 8 fellows in the first SIGHT Fellowship cohort.
    - Medical degree and PhD at the Karolinska Institutet in 2007. My doctoral thesis was on the etiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease with Professor Jesper Lagergren as main supervisor, using Swedish and Nordic registers to carry out epidemiological research using different methodologies, including twin studies.
    - After medical internship to become a licensed physician (AT) I went to Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA as a postdoc under the supervision of Professor Hashem El-Serag in 2009-10.
    - Since 2016 I am a specialist physician in internal medicine, at Danderyd University Hospital.


  • After defending my doctoral thesis in 2007, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Etiological factors, I continued to study epidemiology of esophageal, stomach and liver cancer globally. 

  • Since 2013 the focus of my research has changed to Global health, still with an epidemiological basis. The three main projects that I am leading currently, in collaboration with local experts/researchers:
    1. Capacity building in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa*. Doctoral training in HIV/Hepatitis B, maternal and child health, and antimicrobial resistance in collaboration with KI and Liberian researchers who provide PhD supervision for young Liberians at the National Institute of 
  • Public Health in Liberia. Funded by a grant from The Swedish Research Council. 4 prospective PhD students are in the process of getting registered 
  • as PhD students in this project.
    2. Studying the effects of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa* (2014-15), and how such an outbreak can best be countered, especially from a behavioral point of view. Funded by a grant from The Swedish Research Council. 2 PhD students have recently finished their PhD training in this project.
    3. Epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Uganda, with a focus on people living with HIV. Funded by a grant from The Swedish Research Council. 2 PhD students are currently working on this project.


  • Teaching is the foundation for everything I do. It is even how I learnt global health when switching from gastrointestinal epidemiology to global
    health. Trying to make the bigger picture of global health easily understandable is my passion, everything from global demography to disease

    In the late 1990s Professor Hans Rosling started a a 5-week elective undergraduate course: "*Global health*". The course has ca 70 students each semester, who spend 2 weeks of the course in a low- or lower-middle income country like Uganda, Tanzania, Vietnam and Laos. I have been the co-course leader and course leader since 2013.

    Since 2016 I am also responsible for the 2-week course called "Non-communicable diseases, injuries, natural emergencies and conflicts in a
    global health perspective*" which is part of the Master of Global Health at KI.

    In 2016 I coordinated a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Global health together with Hans Rosling and other colleagues. We had more than
    20, 000 participants from all over the world registering for this course on the EdX platform.


All other publications


  • Principal Researcher, Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2020
  • Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, 2007
  • University Medical Degree, Karolinska Institutet, 2007

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