Veronica Svärd

Veronica Svärd

Senior Lecturer

Health social worker with an associate professor in social work. My research mainly concerns the social determinants of health and social work in the healthcare context.

+46 8 608 54 19 +4686085419

Social Sciences


I am a social worker and also employed as a certified health social worker at the Karolinska University Hospital since 2007. I wrote my doctoral thesis, Children at risk? Hospital social workers’ and their colleagues’ assessment and reporting experiences, at the department of social work at University of Gothenburg. At present, I work with research and education and supervise students at both bachelor, master and doctoral degree.

My research concerns the social determinants of health and social work in the healthcare context. My main interests are profession studies, inter-professional work, inter-organizational collaboration, social rights and intersectional perspectives. The studies focus on, for example, assessments of children at risk of harm, sexuality and health among young people living with HIV, return to work processes for people on sickness absence, vocational rehabilitation, and the work of health social workers, return-to-work coordinators, and physicians.

I work in different research constellations and groups at different universities and for the Swedish Public Health Agency. Currently, I mainly work with the following research projects, projects which I also lead:

The RECO project (2019-2023): With the support of several funding agencies, we study the importance of rehabilitation coordinators (internationally known as RTW coordinators) for people on sickness absence. The project explores the extent to which coordinators can meet the needs of people with and without multimorbidity and psychosocial difficulties, and support their rehabilitation and return to work processes. The project is carried out at Karolinska Institutet and in collaboration with psychiatry, orthopedics and primary care in Region Stockholm and is based on questionnaire and interview studies with coordinators, physicians and people on sickness absence.

The health social work with migrants-project (2017-2021): During 2016-2017, a team of health social workers was employed at Karolinska University Hospital, specialized in asylum seekers and undocumented patients. In this project, we explore the importance of these specialized health social workers for the patients’ right to healthcare and for the quality of treatment and discharge processes. We also examine what a specialization around a socially – and not medically – defined group of patients can mean for the professionalization of health social work.

DiVA (Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet) is Södertörn University's system for digital publishing and for registering publications produced by researchers, teachers and students.


The researcher is not participating in any projects at this moment.