Martin Persson
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Personal profile


In my research, I'm interested in body image dissatisfaction and how it affects physical and psychological health. I'm also interested in how the professionals working with these individuals experience this, as studies have shown that they often lack the required expertise to help. Therefore, patient access to expert support is inadequate. Through my research, I have long experience working with socially disadvantaged groups. I'm also interested in how these individuals are treated in society, especially in healthcare and school. Most of my research is conducted in an international context, and many of my projects are within the EU.

Master's degree (2002) in psychology; PhD (2007) in medical science; Master's degree (2007) in public health; Associate Professor (2018) in Health Sciences; Professor (2019) in Health Sciences; Board member of the European Cleft Organization (2013); Smile Train Research and Innovation Advisory Council (STRIAC) medlem  (2020); Chairman of cost-action  CA16234 European Cleft and Craniofacial Initiative for Equality in Care.

One of the research interests I have is about body image dissatisfaction. This can result from disfigurement or the consequence of perceived social pressure to conform to unrealistic and narrow beauty ideals, indiscriminately affects the mental and physical health of a significant and growing proportion of our population. Those with disfigurement also experience social discrimination that negatively impacts personal aspirations, education and work opportunities. As medical advances improve the survival rates of those born with or who acquire a disfigurement, and the demand for cosmetic interventions and psychological support increases, professionals from diverse health and social care areas are increasingly being exposed to the challenges of identifying and addressing the needs of patients burdened by complex and unique psychosocial issues. These professionals are perfectly placed to ameliorate these issues but report that they often lack the necessary expertise to help, and therefore, patient access to expert support is inadequate. Consequently, I have been involved as the coordinator in many European projects that focus on developing training resources for healthcare professionals, teachers, and other relevant stakeholders to gain the necessary skills to provide better support.

I publish in academic peer-review journals and over the last 17 years I have facilitated a variety of keynotes, lectures, workshops and symposiums for professionals, students and users in my areas of expertise in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. My research experience over the last 19 years includes epidemiological and population-based studies together with large national multicentre observational and cohort studies. I have also been involved in studies using quantitative and qualitative approaches as well as conducting project evaluations.


Over my years, I have gained extensive knowledge of working with socially disadvantaged groups across Europe and specialising in the methodological and pedagogical development of courses ranging from basic to advanced levels in psychology, public health, and health education. These experiences were gained from research, teaching and coordinating and managing over 40 international projects that have attracted over €11 million funding to support psychosocial, health and educational activities.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

External positions

Member of Smile Train Research & Innovation Advisory Council , Smile Train

2021-Jan-01 → …

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, University of the West of England


Board member, ECO - European Cleft Organisation

2013-Oct-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Medical and Health Sciences (3)
  • Social Sciences (5)


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