Teaching and research staff of the Clinical Pharmacy Group
Marja Airaksinen


Dr. Marja Airaksinen is professor of social pharmacy, head of Clinical Pharmacy Group, Division of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland.  Her scientific work has mainly focused on medication management services and processes and competencies required in these processes. She has led a researcher community on medication safety at the University of Helsinki since 2004. She has been involved in several medicines information and medication safety development programs nationally and internationally, e.g., at the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), WHO, European Union, Council of Europe, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and EuroPharm Forum.

Since 2006, she has been involved in various national working groups on patient and medication safety under Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and National Institute for Welfare and Health. She is a founding member of the Finnish Patient Safety Society.  She contributed to development of current Medicines Policy 2020 and Finnish Medicines Agency’s Medicines Information Strategy.  Currently, she contributes to the development of Rational Pharmacotherapy Program by Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

In the University of Helsinki, Dr. Airaksinen has served numerous committees and working groups, e.g., on doctoral training development, international evaluation of research and doctoral training, academic affairs and societal interaction.  She also has extensive experience of curriculum development at the undergraduate, graduate and professional development level.  As part of it, she is a director of the national community and hospital pharmacy specialization program with special emphasis on clinical pharmacy and medication safety.

Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä is a senior lecturer at the Clinical Pharmacy Group in the University of Helsinki. Her main responsibilities at the university are research and teaching, including undergraduate courses on pharmacotherapy and patient counselling, rational and safe use of medicines, and medicines information services and sources. Her PhD research, completed in 2010, focused on medicines information sources and services for consumers, particularly medicines information sources applying new information technology. Her most recent research deal with development and implementation of national medicines information strategy, clinical pharmacy services, and competence and curriculum development relating to patient oriented clinical pharmacy practice. Marika has been involved in multiple national joint research projects (e.g. with Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Medicines Agency) on developing medicines information and evidence-informed pharmacy practices. Those include the development of a national medicines information strategy, a national recommendation for integrating the patient perspective into the health technology assessment of pharmaceuticals jointly, and systematic review of collaborative medication review procedures for the aged. Currently she is chairing the national working group on medicines information research in Finnish Medicines Agency. She was one of the editors of the book Counseling, Concordance and Communacation - Innovative Education for Phamacists by FIP IPSF (2012) and was involved in FIP working group on Strategic Developement of Medicines Information (Statement approved in 2017).

Raisa Laaksonen

Senior lecturer

Dr Raisa Laaksonen is a docent in clinical pharmacy and a senior lecturer in the Specialisation Programme in Community and Hospital Pharmacy at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. The programme supports pharmacists working in community, primary care or hospital settings in developing and improving their competence in the areas of clinical pharmacy, medication safety, leadership and multi-professional collaboration of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Her main responsibilities are research, teaching in, and developing, the specialisation programme and its courses.

Dr Laaksonen graduated from the Uppsala Universitet, Sweden, where she worked as a pharmacist in improving healthcare services in 2001. In 2006, she completed her PhD titled “Evaluating competence, performance and perceptions: a multi-method longitudinal study in community pharmacy practice” at the School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK. In 2006, she had a joint post at Barts and the London NHS Trust and at the School of Pharmacy. Between 2007 and 2010, she was a lecturer in pharmacy practice at the University of Bath, UK.

Her main research interests lie in evaluating pharmacy service developments such as medicines optimisation, developing ways to measure pharmacists’ and other healthcare professionals’ performance, and evaluating pharmacists’ work related satisfaction and perceptions of performance and competence and continuing professional development. In this area, she is also interested in evaluating developments within pharmacy education. Her other research interests lie in evaluating cultural perceptions of, and access to, healthcare and pharmacy services.

She serves and has served in various committees at the Faculty. She is and has been a member of various national and international committees and working groups in the area of clinical pharmacy and pharmacy education. She is a reviewer for several international peer-reviewed journals.

Anna-Riia Holmström

Clinical teacher

Dr. Anna-Riia Holmström is a clinical teacher at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. Dr. Holmström develops and executes clinical pharmacy education, such as Spesialization Programme in Community and Hospital Pharmacy, in the Faculty, and in the Hospital Pharmacy of Helsinki University Hospital District.

PhD research of Dr Holmström, completed in spring 2017, focused on medication safety. The spesific topics of her dissertation was medication error reporting systems and education on medication safety. Most of the research by Dr. Holmström is related to medication safety, such as reporting and learning from medication associated incidents in healthcare. She is also involved in several research studies such as studies in safety of iv-medication, impacts of different medication distribution systems to medication safety, developing models for multiprofessional medication review in different healthcare settings and safe and rational use of medications in home dwelling aged.

Dr. Holmström has been involved in several national initiatives to improve patient and medication safety during the past decade. These include e.g., initiatives by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare and Finnish Medicines Agency. She is also active in the activities of the Finnish Society for Patient Safety, and is currently chairing the Safe Pharmacotheraphy -section of the Society.

Katja Leiman

University instructor, PhD Stu­dent

MSc (Pharm), (Medication Review Specialization) Katja Leiman is a university instructor at the Clinical Pharmacy Group, in the University of Helsinki. Her main responsibilities are to coordinate and develop the obligatory community and hospital pharmacy internship and the optional internship included in the pharmacy curriculum. Her research is also related to pharmacy internships as a part of pharmacy education. Currently she is the chair of the national coordination group for the internship in community pharmacies and a member of coordination group for the internship in hospital pharmacies. She is also a representative of the university in Finnish Pharmacists’ Association’s Committee of pharmaceutical affairs, Advisory board for public sector (government, university and Social Insurance Institution) and working group on Medicines Education (working under the National medicines information network coordinated by Finnish Medicines Agency).

Annika Kiiski

PhD Student

MSc (Pharm) Annika Kiiski is a PhD researcher in the Clinical Pharmacy Group at the University of Helsinki. Her PhD research focuses on medication safety in the context of family care giving. The aim of the project is to identify medication safety risks and find and develop solutions for them, such as medication review practices. Annika has conducted a systematic review for the national program to medicines optimizations for the aged (ILMA). The program was coordinated by the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) and was funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Her main responsibilities at the university are research and teaching, including undergraduate courses in pharmaceutical care in different heath care contexts. Her own lectures focus on the interprofessional collaborative medication review practices. She is also involved in several research projects related to medication safety, particularly safety of geriatric pharmacotherapy. Currently, she is a member of the national working group on medicines information education by Finnish Medicines Agency and the coordination group of the professional development of the pharmacy services (AATE).

More information in UH Research Portal

Terhi Toivo

PhD student

MSc (Pharm), PhD student, (Comprehensive Medication Review Accreditation) Terhi Toivo works as a project coordinator at Clinical Pharmacy Group in the University of Helsinki. She coordinates a RCT study project in Lohja which aims to develop a coordinated medication management model for older home care clients in primary care.  Her PhD research focuses on the model development and assessing the effectiveness of the model. Besides that, her PhD focuses on medication safety and drug-drug interactions in outpatients. In the beginning of her PhD research she developed a Finnish glossary of terms related to patient and medication safety in 2006. The process was carried out in a multiprofessional expert team that was coordinated by the National Centre for Pharmacotherapy Development (ROHTO).

She is also involved in several other research projects mainly related to medication therapy of the aged,  such as study on root causes of “uncontrolled” and inappropriate polypharmacy of the aged home care clients to identify organizational and other system-based factors related to clinically significant medication safety risks of the aged; the utilization and use of various health and functioning measures in the monitoring of rational medication therapy of the aged; developing models for multiprofessional medication review in home care settings; and medication safety related to family care giving. Terhi has been involved in national initiatives to improve medication safety and medication management of the aged and is a member of The Finnish Society for Patient Safety, the Safe Pharmacotheraphy section and in the AATE- group.