Lund University, Sweden
Centre For Ageing And Supportive Environments, Lund University, Sweden
Professor Susanne Iwarsson
Susanne Iwarsson, an occupational therapist by training, is head of a research team at the Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at Lund University, Sweden. After 15 years of clinical practice, in 1997 she defended her PhD in community health sciences. In 2003 she was promoted professor in occupational therapy; in 2005 she was appointed professor in gerontology and geriatric care. Currently, she is the pro-dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University and the co-ordinator of the inter-disciplinary Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE). This centre bridges the faculties of medicine, engineering and social sciences, and engages 40 researchers. She has published original theoretical, methodological, and empirical articles in a wide range of international journals. She has been the main supervisor of seven PhDs and four licentiates, and is currently supervising another eight candidates (as main or co-supervisor). She is the Editor-in-chief for the Open Rehabilitation Journal and a member of the editorial boards of three international journals and has over the years attracted substantial external funding from national and international funding sources.
During the last 11 years, Iwarsson has been collaborating with Professor. A Ståhl’s research team at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University. Together, they have developed a strong research context bridging occupational therapy and traffic planning and engineering in a novel way, fuseing their research under the umbrella of environmental gerontology. Among their methodological achievements is development of assessment and analysis tools capturing person-environment fit, based on the Enabler Concept. They have been involved in several major projects funded by the European Commission, e.g. the ENABLE-AGE Project (co-ordinated by Iwarsson) and the SIZE project (co-ordinated by R. Risser, member of Ståhl’s team). To establish CASE, they have expanded their research context to include the research teams headed up by professor S. Elmståhl (geriatrics) and professor J. Lexell (rehabilitation medicine), and also research in social work (ass. professor U. Melin Emilsson).
In April 2007, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research granted Iwarsson and her co-applicants long-term funding to establish CASE. The hallmark of this research is its specific emphasis on person-environment interactions, generating knowledge on positive and negative environmental influences on functional capacity, activity, participation, mobility, safety and health among older people and along the processes of ageing and disablement. The research can be characterized in terms of environmental gerontology, societal planning, community-based rehabilitation, prevention and health promotion, with the ultimate goal to enhance healthy ageing among older people through the development of supportive environments in different societal arenas. There will be a strong emphasis on translating research results to practical solutions to the benefit of societal planning; in ordinary and sheltered housing, outdoor environments including traffic, and in public transportation.
- Fänge, A., Risser, R., & Iwarsson, S. (2007). Challenges in implementation of research methodology in communitybased occupational therapy: The Housing Enabler Example. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 14, 54-62.
- Carlsson, G., Schilling, O., Slaug, B., Fänge, A., Ståhl, A., Nygren, C., & Iwarsson, S. (2008). Towards a screening tool for housing accessibility problems: A reduced version of the Housing Enabler. Journal of Applied Gerontology, in press.
- Iwarsson, S., Wahl, H-W., Nygren, C., Oswald, F., Sixsmith, A., Sixsmith, J., Széman, Z., & Tomsone, S. (2007). Importance of the home environment for healthy aging: Conceptual and methodological background of the European ENABLE-AGE Project. Gerontologist, 47, 78-84.
- Löfqvist, C., Nygren, C., Brandt, Å., Oswald, F., & Iwarsson, S. (2007). Use of Mobility Devices and Changes over 12 Months among very old people in five European Countries. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 19, (6), 497-504.