Maria Niemi

Maria Niemi

Senior Research Specialist | Docent
Visiting address: Solnavägen 1E, 11365 Stockholm
Postal address: K9 Global folkhälsa, K9 GPH Dalman Hollander, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • I am an Assistant Professor (docent) in public health scientist and licensed
    psychotherapist with specific interest in interventions for social
    sustainability, stress, depression and anxiety. I have been working in
    this field since my PhD studies, in various settings and contexts, including
    semi-rural areas in Vietnam as well as Stockholm. I also work clinically
    as a psychotherapist and with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction groups.


  • Mindfulness Based Interventions and mental health:

    Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBI:s) have been included in the Swedish national guidelines for depression and anxiety management, and are increasingly being used in health-care. My research on MBI:s encompasses several research projects:

    One project aims to test the effects of a program, “Training for Awareness, resilience and Action among Students” (STARA) for preventing stress, depression and anxiety and for increasing committed action and resilience among medical students. The development of the STARA program was inspired by MBI:s, but is a further development from MBI:s in several ways: Breath and synchronized slow movements are used to improve emotional self-regulatory skills and there is a focus on committed action, socio-ecological theory and inquiry.

    I have cooordinated a Randomized Controlled Trial testing a novel mindfulness based parental programme, which showed good effects on reducing stress and depression in participating parents from pre- to post-intervention. The aim of this study was to examine whether this parental programme is more effective than usual maternal care in preventing adverse psychosocial and health consequences for the infant, which we found evidence for.

    I have also coordinated an implementation study of MBI:s in Swedish health care settings. A survey among providers in 20 of Sweden’s 21 regions showed that implementation is often not in line with national guidelines from Socialstyrelsen – MBI:s are modified in various ways that is not in line with the evidence base for these programs and a recommendation from our research to support integrity and fidelity of MBI implementation in Sweden, is that a strategic plan and good practice guidelines seem necessary. Also, an evidence-based stepped care model for implementation may work to ensure intervention fidelity in cases where time and funding constraints permit.


  • Other ongoing research projects: 

  • My current research focus includes the EU Horizon-funded project, "Youth co-Production for Sustainable Engagement and Empowerment in health" (YiPEE), which aims to help young people aged 12-15 improve their mental health and reduce their risk of chronic illnesses. You can read more about the project here:

    In addition I am also working on a Forte-funded Randomised Controlled Trial, which aims to assess the effects of yoga practice on post-COVID-19 condition.

    Moreover, I am co-coordinating the research project "Empowering Educators: Integrating Sustainable Health Competencies in Healthcare Professionals Training (ECHO-Health)", aiming to develop an evidence-based matrix of the pedagogical strategies needed to ensure that students develop key competencies for sustainable health, and the competencies teachers need to be able to use these strategies in a quality-assured way. 


All other publications


  • Senior Research Specialist, Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-

Degrees and Education

  • Docent, Karolinska Institutet, 2023
  • Licensed Psychotherapist, Integrative psychotherapy, Skandinaviens Akademi för Psykoterapiutveckling (Sapu), 2023
  • Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 2012

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