Work and Health

Department of Public Health and Nursing

Work and Health

Woman in front of a computer photo

Research activity

Some of our research projects

Some of our research projects


The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an intelligent decision support system that i) enables early identification of individuals at risk of long-term sick leave due to musculoskeletal disorders, and ii) provides personalised recommendations to facilitate sustainable return to work.

The SmaRTWork tool will utilize state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies for the early risk prediction and subsequent tailoring of a personalised intervention to facilitate sustainable return to work. The core foundation for the decision support system will be case-based reasoning (CBR). The main principle of CBR is to reuse knowledge from previous successful cases to suggest solutions for new and similar cases. The project is performed in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, and is funded by the Research council of Norway. Project periode 2021-2027. 

Contact: Lene Aasdahl 

STUNTH - The St. Olavs-study - new technology and health

The aim of this project is to obtain new knowledge about the relationship between work related factors and occupational health among hospital care workers in a time of digital and demographic change where pressure on health-care providers will increase. The vision is to contribute to a sustainable work life, and the aim is to identify factors at the workplace that can be intervened on to promote well-being, reduce occupational stress for hospital employees as well as prevent turnover and sickness absence.

The STUNTH-study is a collaboration between by The Department of public health and nursing (ISM, NTNU), the regional research and development unit (FoU) for health and work in Mid-Norway and The Department of Occupational medicine. At St. Olavs hospital this involves the clinic of physical medicine and rehabilitation and the clinic of lung- and occupational medicine, respectively.

Contact: Sigmund Ø. Gismervik



This project will develop a new model for interaction between the sick listed worker, the social insurance caseworker, the GP and the workplace for patients sick listed due to musculoskeletal complaints and common mental health complaints. The new model will be developed using intervention mapping.

Contact: Gunn Hege Marchand


Motivational interviewing in long-term sickness absence

A randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of motivational interviewing used by caseworkers at the social insurance office on sickness absence.

Contact: Egil A. Fors


The Hysnes Project

In three randomized controlled trials the project evaluates three different rehabilitation programs intending to help sick listed individuals to return to work; two inpatient programs and one outpatient program.

All participants were sick-listed due to musculoskeletal disorders, common mental disorders and/or unspecific disorders, and absent from work between 8 weeks and 12 months. A 3.5 weeks inpatient program showed a considerable effect on sick leave compared to the less comprehensive outpatient program. While a short (4+4 days) program and a program involving the workplace did not show any effect.

Contact: Marius S. Fimland



The national "Rapid-return-to-work"-programme (2007-2017) was a comprehensive programme in the specialist health services aiming at reducing waiting time for treatment and thereby reducing sickness absence in Norway. From January 1st 2018, the project went into a new phase under the title "Health and Work". Work-focused treatment programs will now be offered within musculoskeletal disorders, mental health care and vocational rehabilitation at all hospital trusts, including some work-focused services within cancer treatment and brain trauma.

During the evaluation period 2018-2021, researchers at SINTEF and NTNU conduct follow-up research and evaluation on the consequences of the reorganization at both the system, service- and patient levels.

Contact: Silje L. Kaspersen

31 May 2022