Published: 2020-11-23 10:14 | Updated: 2020-11-26 13:06

Doctoral course in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights initiated at KI

Due to COVID-19 the course was held online, which led to more students from different settings being able to attend. Photo: Bildbank.

Together with three other universities, researchers at KI organised a new PhD course in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). In total 33 PhD students participated in the course, 10 of the participants were PhD students at KI. Elin Larsson, researcher at the Department of Global Public Health, is the initiator of the course.

Why did you take the initiative to start this course?

“We initiated this PhD course since there was no such course given at KI. Being part of the Academic Network for SRHR Policy (the ANSER network), that coordinate 35 academic institutions globally, we thought it would be a great idea to give it as a joint course. The course focuses on SRHR research skills and competencies as well as how to translate research into policy.

Elin Larsson.

We had initially planned to this a blended learning course, combining online and on-campus teaching. However, due to COVID-19 we changed it to be online only, which led to more students from different settings being able to attend it.”, says Elin Larsson.

Why is a PhD course in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights important?

“Ensuring Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for all is critical to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 3; good health/wellbeing and SDG 5; gender equality. Research in this field is often challenging as it involves topics that might be sensitive or controversial such as abortion, adolescent sexuality, sexual rights, etc. Giving the course jointly with three other universities enhances student’s opportunities for intercultural learning and collaboration, and how to improve SRHR in various contexts.

We have used a range of different teaching and learning activities including individual preparatory work, online “live” seminars via Zoom, group work, and high-level panel discussions with leading SRHR experts at who and other international organisations.”

Are you planning the give the course again at KI?

“We hope to give the course again soon. We got many applications from PhD students from other Swedish universities and we would like to explore how to collaborate with them. We are also discussing the possibilities of giving the same course as a freestanding course since non-governmental organisations and others have expressed interest in the course. “, says Elin Larsson.

About the course

The course at KI was led by Anna Kågesten and Elin Larsson. The syllabus and schedule were developed during the spring and summer 2020 by:

  • Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) - Course leaders Elin Larsson and Anna Kågesten
  • Ghent University (Belgium) - Course leaders Kristien Michielsen and Emilie Peeters
  • NOVA National School of Public Health (Portugal) - Course leader Sònia Dias
  • Technical University of Kenya (Kenya) - Course leaders Joyce Omwoha and Tammary Esho

Said about the course 

Screenshot from the doctoral course Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Participants at the course.

“SRHR can be a complex and sensitive topic, so depending on one’s specific area of research, it can sometimes be hard to find a supportive community. This course was a valuable opportunity to create that kind of community, especially one that is international and diverse in terms of research interests, professional backgrounds, and experience (social work, epidemiology, medicine, and sociologists i.e).

It was also useful that the content was so comprehensive – we got to explore concepts such as SRHR and systems thinking, but also apply relevant skills such as reviewing articles and policy processes, to our own work. - Karin Båge, one of the course participants from KI.


Elin Larsson Researcher