Contact person:
Michael Strange
  • STINT – The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education
Responsible at MaU:
Michael Strange
Collaborators :
  • Carol Nilsson - Lund University
Time frame:
01 January 2019 - 31 August 2024

About the project

Our consortium seeks to address an urgent challenge to society, namely the requirement to better understand how health practitioners and policy-makers can respond to increasing variations in the Swedish population that impact health needs and outcomes. To achieve that goal, the proposed multinational consortium is intended to internationalize the development of:

  1. precision healthcare tools that are sensitive to the needs of a varied population;
  2. political science research to identify the social exclusions that undermine precision healthcare and, using democratic theories, to explore the options for ensuring medical practitioners are better equipped to listen and acknowledge variation amongst the individuals they treat; and
  3. educational modules associated to these research topics. In the long-term perspective, our innovative programme is likely to increase the equality of precision treatment in Sweden, as well as promote the integration and education of new citizens, followed by an improvement in health equity with additional benefits for Sweden.

Recent advances within healthcare and medical research have been uneven globally, but also within nation-states, with the result that there is growing interest in the relevance of both environmental and genomic factors in determining how best to treat patients and ensure a healthy society. At the same time, health has become an increasingly central issue within how societies mark out their borders and internal structures, excluding those without sufficient residency papers, or segregating access along wealth, racial, or gender lines. In that context, health practitioners have spoken increasingly of ’Precision Health’, meaning greater understanding and collection of data that is sensitive to these disparities so as to better tailor healthcare towards different communities, both to enhance well-being, but counter the worst consequences of societal inequalities.

’Everyday democracy’

Drawing on the Social Sciences, health is understood as a central mechanism not only for enhancing welfare but also through which everyday people experience being part of society. For over two decades, scholars working in both the Health and Social Sciences have spoken of ’Health Democracy’ – using democratic models to enhance patient access to healthcare, but also to better study the role of healthcare and medical research within society. We use the term ’everyday democracy’ to move further in that direction, understanding mundane medical and health interactions as fundamental to the shaping of contemporary society. Health, healthcare, and medical research have a significant impact on how citizenship – both as legally codified and practised – is experienced, but also the extent to which a society is maintained.

PHED seminar series




Innovating through interdisciplinarity

PHED combines an extremely broad range of disciplines, including epidemiology, pharmacology, genomics, care sciences, mass spectrometry, and political science. This creates huge challenges in terms of translation but, as we have proved through our meetings, radical interdisciplinarity is an investment worth making as it is driving us towards innovations that help rethink the role and future development of healthcare and medicine, as well as what democracy means and how it may be strengthened towards the promotion of human well-being and a sustainable world.

Why is everyday democracy relevant to precision healthcare?

Everyday democracy

  • A paradigm shift in healthcare: ´patient-centred´;
  • Relates to the representative model of democracy – via participation (e.g. elections);
  • But also includes a focus on ´informed consent´:
    • Information on their condition, but also their options;
    • Tailoring to diverse needs.
    • Follow-up support beyond the immediate condition, i.e. counselling.
    • Understanding how the patients' condition affects their family and other close relations, and that those relations are relevant to their healthcare.
  • Deliberative democracy? – dialogue that creates a democratic subject.

Potential drivers:

  • Legitimacy;
  • Quality;
  • Open to diverse population data

Role of healthcare in society?

  • To cure illness, and enhance well-being;
  • For marginalised communities, also one of the main ways in which they experience being part of an organised society.

Everyday democracy

  • The ´democratic´ element of healthcare – the ´everyday´ experience of being in a society.
    • Inclusion/exclusion – who gets access to healthcare, but also who is given the means to be an informed patient. This also includes pharmaceutical development.
    • Relations of power – gender, race. Relates also to the design of integration policies and their impact on well-being.
    • Empowerment and mobility – the role of healthcare (and health research) in ensuring persons can engage in society.



An international consortium

PHED is an international consortium led by Lund University and Malmö University, involving the University of Texas, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Federal University Rio de Janeiro.

At Malmö University, it is a cross-faculty collaboration between the Faculty of Culture and Society (Dept. of Global Political Studies) and the Faculty of Health and Society (Dept. of Care Sciences), and will be hosted by the Research Centre Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM).

The main project finance for our first three year period has been generously provided after a successful application to The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT - Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning).

Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM)


International partners

  • Dr John Allen, Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.
  • Dr Melissa Bondy, Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, USA.
  • Dr Kathryn A. Cunningham, Chauncey Leake Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology; Director, Center for Addiction Research; Vice-Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, Texas, USA.
  • Dr Gilberto Barbosa Demont, Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Dr Philip J. Lupo, Departments of Pediatrics (primary) and Medicine (secondary) at Baylor College of Medicine, and adjunct at Human Genetics Center, Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Dr Fábio César Sousa Nogueira, Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Refugees in Sweden During the Covid-19 Pandemic – The Need for a New Perspective on Health and Integration, in Frontiers in Public Health, 19 October 2020.

Read the article in Frontiers in Public Health