Elisabet Lindgren Health and the Global Environment

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Elisabet Lindgren MD, PhD, Associate professor, Senior scientific advisor


Elisabet Lindgren is physician and associate professor in Sustainability Science, a pioneer within research on climate change and health, and one of the eight members of the Swedish Government's Council on Climate Change Adaptation.


Education and work affiliations

Lindgren took her medical degree at Karolinska Institute (KI). After several years of work as a hospital physician, Lindgren started advanced studies first in biostatistics and epidemiology at KI, and than focused on research on health effects of global environmental changes, in particular climate change, which led to a PhD in Natural Resources Management at Stockholm University (SU) in 2000. Her academic base was Stockholm University 1994-2008, and the Karolinska Institute 2009-2013 (Global Health, and Institute of Environmental Medicine). During 2014-mid2018 she was affiliated with Stockholm Resilience Centre at SU.


During the last decade Lindgren has split her time between academic research and scientific advisory work internationally with a focus on the science and policy nexus. She has lived part-time in SE Asia for several years. During autumn 2015 Lindgren was senior science director of the EAT Initiative. In 2017-18 she was worked as consulting advisor to the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation, SIGHT, part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


Academic research

Lindgren has contributed to numerous international scientific research and policy activities, and has published as first author in journals such as Science and Lancet. She has been reviewer to several scientific journals, including Lancet and Environmental Health Perspectives. She has contributed to three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC (chapter lead author in AR5), to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (2005) as well as to other major scientific policy reports. She is a pioneer within research on climate change and health. For example, she:

  • published among the first articles on observed early signs of impacts of climate change on health, showing that decadal changes in seasonal daily climate shifted the northern distribution limits of disase-transmitting ticks further north in Europe, as well as affected the incidence of tickborne encephalitis.
  • was partner in the first EU- financed framework research program on climate change and human health (cCASHh).
  • was on the scientific panel of the first European course on Climate Change and Human Health held at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1999.
  • was part of the first international cross-sectoral think-tank on Climate Change that was set up by Swiss Re and CHGE at Harvard Medical School and consisted of invited persons from academia, the business sector, and policy-makers.

Lindgren has long experience of transdisciplinary academic research and of working across sectors. Her focus on global environmental changes and health has included studies of observed climate change-related health impacts, as well as risk and adaptation assessments with emphasis on emerging infectious diseases and climate related disasters. New research interests focus on solutions rather than risks, and on adding a health focus within areas such as nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, sustainable cities, and sustainable food systems.


Positions of trust

Lindgren has held several positions of trust, for example

  • Vice-president of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, ISDE, 1994-98.
  • President of the Swedish Physicians for the Environment.
  • Member of the Swedish Government’s Scientific Council on Climate Issues, 2007.
  • Member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the GECHH program within the Earth System Science Partnership, 2008-2012.
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the Volvo Environment Prize, 2013-2014.
  • Member of the Funding Committee of the Wellcome Trust's Our Planet, Our Health program 2016-2017.
  • Member of the Development Team of Future Earth's Health Knowledge-Action Network (Health KAN) 2016-2018.
  • Member of the Advisory Panel of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium, CANUE 2017-2018


Scientific advisor

One of Lindgren's key missions is bridging the gap between science and policy. She has been temporary senior advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) on numerous occasions, as well as to different UN bodies, the European Commission, EU agencies like the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Environment Agency, and to different Ministries in several countries. Lindgren chaired the Workgroup on Climate and Health in the Swedish Government´s Commission on Climate and Vulnerability 2005-2007. She has contributed to numerous science-based policy reports.


Presentations and media

Another key mission is contributing to information and education. In addition to publishing scientific articles and science-policy reports and popular science work, Lindgren has held several hundreds of presentations to the general public, professional groups, policy-makers, and university students. She has often appeared in the media (TV and radio news, panel debates, popular science programs, newspaper interviews, periodicals, etc). Lindgren has participated in museum exhibitions, and appeared in popular science short films and videos. Her work has been widely reported in Swedish and international media.





Elisabet Lindgren, MD, PhD

Associate professor

Senior scientific advisor


Email: elindgren@lhtge.com




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