Terveyden Ja Hyvinvoinnin Laitos (THL)

The National Institute for Health and Welfare


The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is a research and development institute under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. THL seeks to serve the broader society as well as the scientific community, actors in the field, and decisionmakers in central government and municipalities. The aim is to promote health and welfare in Finland. More than a thousand experts in the health and welfare research fields and the social welfare and health care sectors carry out their work across Finland, with THL bases in Helsinki and six other Finnish cities. THL pursues and carries out its objectives by means of research, development activities, official tasks, steering through information as well as international co-operation. In its capacity as the statutory statistical authority for health and welfare, THL maintains and promotes the use of a strong knowledge base within the field.87 THL’s functions:

  • To promote the welfare and health of the population.
  • To prevent diseases and social problems; and iii) to develop social and health services.


Seppo Koskinen (M)Research Professor, head of Population Health Research Unit at the Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland. He has a PhD in Medicine (U. of Helsinki), MSc in Epidemiology (U. of London) and MPolSci in Sociology, orientation: demography (U. of Helsinki). Main activities and responsibilities: Health surveillance, research on inequities in health, research on functional capacity. Koskinen’s work has focused on health and functioning of the population and its subgroups, their determinants, development and future prospects. He has led several surveys and studies on these topics and participated in many others. In addition to preparing study protocols, obtaining funding for their realization (more than 4 million € during the past 10 years) and supervising the data collection phase, he has worked on data management, analysis, reporting, and dissemination of the results as well as developing the general service systems and welfare policy on the basis of the results.

Members of the team

Tommi Härkänen (M)A senior statistician has a PhD in statistics and Adjunct Professorship at the U. of Helsinki. He has been responsible for the statistical analysis of several Finnish health examination surveys, especially those with complex sampling design (Health 2000 and Health 2011 surveys). His expertise is on handling missing data, analyses of longitudinal and event history data, and Bayesian inference. He will be involved in the analysis of disease projections and in assessment and correction of effects of non-response to the survey results.

Päivi Sainio (F)Development Manager in Functional Capacity Unit at the Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland. Education: PT, MSc in Health Sciences (U. of Jyväskylä). Main activities and responsibilities: research on functioning, coordinator of large national working group on functional capacity in the national Health 2000 and 2011 projects as well as the Maamu project. Paivi Sainio has also been the coordinator of the national TOIMIA network which develops and harmonizes measurement of functioning in clinical as well as research settings. Working on PhD thesis on determinants and changes of mobility limitations in Finnish older population.

Harri Rissanen

Pirre Talponen