IFPA's New Executive Director

Getting to know Frida Dunger Johnsson

15 October 2020


We are very pleased to welcome Frida Dunger Johnsson as the new Executive Director of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations. While we await Frida’s arrival at IFPA headquarters on November 2, we take this opportunity to introduce her to our community. Frida shared thoughts on her new role and the future of psoriasis advocacy in a short interview with IFPA’s Communications Manager, Camille Lancelot.

CL: What drew you to the world of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis advocacy? Why IFPA?

FD: For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in other people and a drive to make a difference. Already as a child I pointed out unfair systems and unequal treatment, and did my best to fight for everyone’s rights. At 18 I left Sweden to experience the world with the belief that I could be a part of changing it. The inequalities I experienced have given me the strength and motivation to strive for a world where everyone has the opportunity to shape their lives and live free from poverty and oppression.

People living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis face many difficulties, and struggling for access to care and sufficient treatment should not be one of them. This is where IFPA plays a central role. Together with the Secretariat, Board, members and partners, I want to drive the necessary change that improves life conditions for millions of people suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

”People living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis face many difficulties, and struggling for access to care should not be one of them.”

CL: What is your background?

FD: I grew up in Sweden, but my dedication to a just and sustainable world has taken me many places. For example, I have lived and worked in Denmark, England, Australia, Thailand, Mozambique and Georgia. My travels have taught me a lot and I have adopted parts of cultures from around the world (including dance moves!).

My background combines business development, sales, strategy, and planning from my previous role as CEO at a management consulting firm as well as several engagements in non-profit boards. Most recently, I served as Secretary General for the non-profit organisation Emmaus Stockholm. Emmaus is advocating for people’s human and political rights in some of the world’s most repressive regions, and in Sweden they are a driving actor in the transition to a circular economy.

I hold a master’s degree in Social Science, International Development Studies and Culture Encounters.

CL: What are your personal interests? Do you have any passions or hobbies?

FD: I practice yoga and I enjoy running, but most of my time is spent with my family. We have an active lifestyle and share a love of dance and music. I like to be involved in my community. For example, I train my daughter’s gymnastic team, coordinate football tournaments with neighbours, arrange yoga in the park and take walks with newly arrived refugees.

”I like to be involved in my community.”

CL: What will be the first thing that you will do as Executive Director of IFPA?

FD: IFPA is in an expansion phase and it is crucial that I quickly pick up on all the work that has been prepared in order not to stagnate. I look forward to meeting members and partners virtually in November’s regional meetings. The upcoming World Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Conference in July 2021 will definitely have my focus and I hope I will be able to meet as much of IFPA’s community as possible at this conference.

I’m also eager to strengthen and clarify IFPAs strategic direction with the strong team at the Secretariat and the Board. Together we can set new goals for further development. In this work I will prioritise listening to
the needs of our members.

CL: What is your vision for the future of IFPA and for our work advocating for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?

FD: I share IFPA’s vision to achieve a world without suffering from psoriatic disease. However, we have a lot to do to reach this goal. It is important that we take advantage of the large global federation that we are. We must mobilise to take action. Together we can reach our goals of access to early and adequate diagnosis and availability of medicines, ensuring early screening in order to prevent and control other non-communicable diseases, as well as, integrating psoriasis into national health systems and the global development agenda.

”I want us to be the obvious choice for advice when WHO and governments set up psoriatic disease action plans.”

I want IFPA to be able to share knowledge and spread information to more countries for the purpose of affecting change for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I want us to be the obvious choice for advice when the World Health Organization and governments set up psoriatic disease action plans. For me it is also crucial that we strive for everyone’s equal rights to information and treatment, no matter where you live and what your income is. --