• 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.

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) 2021. Validation of a three-item Fatigue Severity Scale for patients with substance use disorder: a cohort study from Norway for the period 2016–2020. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 1-11.
  • Show author(s) 2021. Substance use and symptoms of mentalhealth disorders: a prospective cohort of patients with severe substance use disorders in Norway. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 10 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2021. Subjective symptoms and serum methadone concentrations: what should guide dose adjustments in methadone maintenance treatment? A naturalistic cohort study from Norway. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 1-8.
  • Show author(s) 2021. Integrated treatment of hepatitis C virus infection among people who inject drugs: A multicenter randomized controlled trial (INTRO-HCV). PLoS Medicine.
  • Show author(s) 2021. Generalised cost-effectiveness analysis of 159 health interventions for the Ethiopian essential health service package. Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation.
  • Show author(s) 2021. Changes in substance use during outpatient treatment for substance use disorders: a prospective Norwegian cohort study from 2016 to 2020. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 1-9.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Uptake and predictors of direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C among people receiving opioid agonist therapy in Sweden and Norway: a drug utilization study from 2014 to 2017. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.
  • Show author(s) 2020. The burden of household out-of-pocket health expenditures in Ethiopia: estimates from a nationally representative survey (2015–16). Health Policy and Planning. 1003-1010.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Revision of the Ethiopian Essential Health Service Package: An Explication of the Process and Methods Used. Health Systems & Reform. 12 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Pulse oximeter with integrated management of childhood illness for diagnosis of severe childhood pneumonia at rural health institutions in Southern Ethiopia: Results from a cluster-randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 1-10.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Protecting essential health services in low-income and middle-income countries and humanitarian settings while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Global Health. 1-9.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Potentially addictive drugs dispensing to patients receiving opioid agonist therapy: a register-based prospective cohort study in Norway and Sweden from 2015 to 2017. BMJ Open. 10 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Level-dependent equity weights. . In:
    • Show author(s) 2020. Distributional Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Oxford University Press.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Incorporating Distributional Concerns into Practical Tools for Priority Setting. . In:
    • Show author(s) 2020. Global Health Priority-Setting: Beyond Cost-Effectiveness. Oxford University Press.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Health gains and financial risk protection afforded by public financing of selected malaria interventions in Ethiopia: an extended cost-effectiveness analysis. Malaria Journal. 10 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Health by disease categories. . In:
    • Show author(s) 2020. Distributional Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Oxford University Press.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Financial risk of seeking maternal neonatal healthcare in southern Ethiopia: a cohort study of rural households. International Journal for Equity in Health. 16 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Financial burden of HIV and TB among patients in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional survey. BMJ Open.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Estimating health adjusted age at death (HAAD). PLOS ONE. 15 pages.
  • Show author(s) 2020. Dispensations of benzodiazepines, z-hypnotics, and gabapentinoids to patients receiving opioid agonist therapy; A prospective cohort study in Norway from 2013 to 2017. BMC Health Services Research. 1-12.

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