Interview with the Arctic Council’s Arctic Human Health Expert Group 11 January 2021Arctic PeoplesMonitoringIcelandSustainable Development Working Group What is the Arctic Human Health Expert Group? What issues and projects is it involved in? Learn about this Expert Group of the Sustainable Development Working Group through this interview with its Chair, Eydís Kristín Sveinbjarnardóttir. The Arctic Human Health Expert Group (AHHEG) works under the direction of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). The Expert Group is an integrated research community with interest in circumpolar community health and wellness. It supports SDWG by providing expert advice and conducting projects and activities related to human health in the Arctic. We spoke with Eydís Kristín Sveinbjarnardóttir, Chair of AHHEG, about her experience, AHHEG’s goals, the key projects the Expert Group is engaged in and what inspires her about AHHEG’s work. What is your background, and how did you become Chair of the Arctic Human Health Expert Group? I am a psychiatric nurse, graduated in 1989, with MSN from University of Pittsburgh in the USA. I have a PhD from University of Iceland that I defended in 2012 in the field of family interventions and support in psychiatry. I was a manager in different positions at the Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik from 1997 until 2016 when I was offered the position of Dean and Associate Professor at the School of Health Sciences at University of Akureyri. The University of Akureyri is an Arctic school located in northern Iceland. When it was Iceland’s turn to Chair SDWG, the Ministry of Health turned to the University of Akureyri for chairing its Arctic Human Health Expert Group and my name came up. I accepted the position and started chairing in 2019. What is the goal of the Expert Group? AHHEG supports SDWG’s human health agenda by providing advice, proposing projects and priorities for SDWG to focus on, and assessing proposals to advance the circumpolar human health knowledgebase. AHHEG’s overarching goal is to advance knowledge that helps empower communities around the Arctic to develop practical responses to human health issues. Another goal is to be a resource to the Arctic Council and its Working Groups on broader cross-cutting health research and activities. Members of AHHEG include a range of circumpolar human health professionals involved in, for example, health systems, human biology, mental health and social, cultural and economic aspects of health. AHHEG members are often involved in research, and they can point out knowledge gaps that exist. AHHEG helps create greater collaboration between Arctic Council Working Groups, Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants, academic institutions and other relevant circumpolar organizations. It is our goal that these connections advance the development of sustainable and integrated approaches to human health issues. Another main goal is transferring expert knowledge into communities. I think we talk too little about knowledge transfer and ways to get that expert knowledge into practice. The transferring of science and research into meaningful actions at the community level is something we hope to strengthen.