• E-mailkjell.johansson@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 61 64
  • Visitor Address
    Årstadveien 21
    5009 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7804
    5020 Bergen

Kjell Arne Johansson is a professor of medical ethics and the philosophy of science at Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting (BCEPS) at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care. He also has a clinical background as a physician in the field of drug addiction and obstetrics and gynaecology at Haukeland University Hospital.

Kjell Arne is principal investigator for two BCEPS work packages ("Fair Choices: Disease Control Priorities Analytic Tool" and "Universal Health Care Zanzibar") and is project leader for a 5-year project on "Equity and financial household impact in randomised controlled trials, implementation research and cohort studies in India" (EQUIFINANCE) starting in 2021. He is also the co-leader of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Zanzibar project.

Johansson has extensive experience in population ethics research, where he has been engaged in developing innovative methods for fair priority setting in global health and applying them to low and high-income country settings. His key areas of expertise include population ethics and distributive implications of health care, including economic evaluations, equality of health outcomes and financial risk protection. Much of his research focuses on applied equity impact modelling, seeking to understand the broader implications of improved health care coverage by using mathematical population models. In particular, he has contributed to three equity impact methods: Extended Cost Effectiveness Analysis (ECEA), severity of disease analysis and Distributional Cost Effectiveness Analysis (DCEA). He is currently president of the International Society for Priority Setting in Health (ISPH).

Teaching activities

2005-current   Responsible, together with Ingrid Miljeteig, for teaching at courses in medical ethics for medical students at University of Bergen.

2007-current   The ethics of global health and priority setting (part of general course in Global Health, 30 ECTS). Responsibility in establishment of this course, and now teaching.

2007-current   Responsible for teaching in ethics of priority setting in global health in various courses for graduate students at Master level, Centre for International Health, University of Bergen

2005-current   Several 1-2 hour lectures on medical ethics and priority setting at different courses arranged at the Faculty of Medicine and elsewhere (e.g. Human Rights, International Health, Refugees, Autonomy, Priority Setting, Reproductive Health, Social Determinant of Health, Specialist courses for Medical Doctors)


Supervision of graduate students:

Completed supervision: 3 PhDs (main supervisor), 3 Master's (main and co-supervisor), 2 PhD tracks (main supervisor), 9 research theses for medical students

Supervision in progress: 1 PhD (main supervisor), 7 PhDs (co-supervisor), 4 Master’s (co-supervisor

20 latest peer-reviewed publications

  • Show author(s) (2024). Methadone pharmacokinetics in opioid agonist treatment: Influencing factors and clinical implications. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. 333-344.
  • Show author(s) (2024). Effect of integrated hepatitis C virus treatment on psychological distress in people with substance use disorders. Scientific Reports.
  • Show author(s) (2023). The efficacy of integrated hepatitis C virus treatment in relieving fatigue in people who inject drugs: a randomized controlled trial. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Life expectancy can increase by up to 10 years following sustained shifts towards healthier diets in the United Kingdom. Nature Food. 961-965.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Financial hardship associated with catastrophic out-of-pocket spending tied to primary care services in low- and lower-middle-income countries: findings from a modeling study. BMC Medicine.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Effectiveness of interventions for emergency care of hypoglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis: A systematic review. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Decision-making processes for essential packages of health services: Experience from six countries. BMJ Global Health. 7 pages.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Country readiness and prerequisites for successful design and transition to implementation of essential packages of health services: Experience from six countries. BMJ Global Health.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Cost-effectiveness of integrated treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) among people who inject drugs in Norway: An economic evaluation of the INTRO-HCV trial. Addiction. 2424-2439.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and their relation to diagnosed ADHD, sociodemographic characteristics, and substance use among patients receiving opioid agonist therapy: a Norwegian cohort study. BMC Psychiatry.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Vitamin D status and associations with substance use patterns among people with severe substance use disorders in Western Norway. Scientific Reports. 1-9.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Vitamin B12 Levels, Substance Use Patterns and Clinical Characteristics among People with Severe Substance Use Disorders: A Cohort Study from Western Norway. Nutrients. 10 pages.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Prevalence and correlates of suicide attempts in high-risk populations: a cross-sectional study among patients receiving opioid agonist therapy in Norway. BMC Psychiatry. 8 pages.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Impact of liver fibrosis and clinical characteristics on dose-adjusted serum methadone concentrations. Journal of Addictive Diseases. 11 pages.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Folate Status as a Nutritional Indicator among People with Substance Use Disorder; A Prospective Cohort Study in Norway. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH).
  • Show author(s) (2022). Financial risk of road traffic trauma care in public and private hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: A cross-sectional observational study. Injury. 23-29.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modeling study. PLoS Medicine.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Effect of kangaroo mother care initiated in community settings on financial risk protection of low-income households: a randomised controlled trial in Haryana, India. BMJ Global Health. 1-9.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Cost-effectiveness of pulse oximetry and integrated management of childhood illness for diagnosing severe pneumonia. PLOS Global Public Health.
  • Show author(s) (2022). Association between oral and general health related quality of life among Norwegian patients with substance use disorders in opioid agonist therapy. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica. 332-339.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)


At Bergen Center for Ethics and Priority Setting (BCEPS), Kjell Arne Johansson is leading two of the five work packages the center is organized around the next five years; a) priority decision support tools; and b) essential health care package for NCDI in Zanzibar.


- Providing efficient, effective and equitable health care in Ethiopis

This Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded project will involve capacity-building at Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). Entitled Disease Control Priorities-Ethiopia (DCP-E), the project will train Ethiopian researchers and policymakers in health economics, decision sciences and priority setting. The training will enable them to generate an evidence base for designing, developing and implementing essential health services for FMOH, and may be used, in particular, to help revise Ethiopia’s current essential health services package.


Poverty and Equity cKMC

- Community initiated Kangaroo Mother Care for low birth weight infants: a poverty and equity impact evaluation

Embedded in the ongoing main CISMAC trial, which estimates the survival benefits of promoting Kangaroo Mother Care at home (cKMC) to low birth weight (LBW) babies, this study will use the concentration index to estimate whether socioeconomic inequality in neonatal and early infant survival is more pronounced in the intervention or in the control groups. Further, this extension of the trial will estimate the household out-of-pocket expenses for illnesses that may be prevented by cKMC. It will also assess the extent to which out-of-pocket expenses for health care contribute to household impoverishment. Should cKMC prove effective in enhancing equity in child survival and in substantially reducing family expenditures, possibly even preventing catastrophic health expenditures, the findings of this added study could be of critical importance for scaling up Kangaroo Mother Care in India, as well as in other countries where many babies are born with LBW. Together with Sarmila Mazumder, Society for Applied Studies, India, Kjell Arne Johansson is the principal investigator.



- Integrated treatment of hepatitis C virus infection: a randomised controlled trial

This is a randomised controlled trial that estimates the effect of providing integrated hepatitis C treatment to patients with injecting opioid addiction. Those receiving medically assisted rehabilitation (MAR) often have poorer access to health care than the general population, and between 50-70% of all injectiong drug users in Bergen are estimated to be infected with hepatitis C virus. To end the hepatitis C epidemic, finding the best delivery platforms to provide the new and expensive antiviral heaptitis C drugs is crucial. Therefore, this study will provide new knowledge about how to improve patient care, MAR healthcare and to help access more of those in need of hepatitis C treatment. We want to test if integrated treatment is more effective than today's model.


2018-current   Chair of International Society for Priority Setting in Health

2017 (jan.august) Head of teaching at Dpt. of Global Public Health and Primary Care

2016 (jan-aug)Leader of Bergen Addiction Research group, Haukeland University Hospital

2013-2015      Leader of Global Health Priorities (research group with seven senior researchers and more than 15 PhD students), Department of Global Public Health, University of Bergen

2013-2014      Leader of Profession Group in teaching of Public Health and Epidemiology (teaching consortium for around 30 academics with educational responsibilities), Department of Global Public Health, University of Bergen

2013-2015      Leader of research project Global Health Priorities 2020, research grant from Research Council of Norway 

2007-2008      Member of Faculty Research Board, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, UiB