• M.S.P.H. 1992 – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Public Health
  • Ph.D. 1971 – George Peabody College, Psychology
  • M.A. 1967-68 – George Peabody College, Special Education
  • M.A.T. 1966 – University of Chattanooga, Education and Psychology
  • B.A. 1963 – Tennessee Temple College, Psychology

Areas of Expertise

  • Child development and disability
  • Primary prevention
  • Assessment and classification
  • Global studies


Developmental delay and disability have been central interests defining Rune J. Simeonsson’s academic and research career beginning with a one-year experience as a teacher of a special education class in an elementary school. These interests continued to define his graduate work in special education for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities and completion of the Ph.D. in psychology at Peabody College. Following graduation, he spent five years at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Rochester Medical Center as a psychologist on multidisciplinary teams providing services for children with disabilities and their families. These settings also offered opportunities for clinical research on issues related to child health and disability. Following appointment at the University of North Carolina, his commitment to development and disability has been expanded with a global perspective and informed his course offerings in the School of Education and a range of dissertation topics of advisees in School Psychology and Special Education. Similarly, that commitment has also defined his research and scholarship on issues including policy and practice in early intervention, social cognitive development, longitudinal study of children with spina bifida and problems of assessment and classification of children’s functional limitations.


Rune J. Simeonsson, PhD, MSPH teaches in the school psychology program and is a fellow at the FPG Child Development Institute. He also holds adjunct appointments at Jönköping University, Sweden, the University of Porto, Portugal and Zhengzhou University, China. His academic preparation and professional background reflect the intersection of child development, special education and public health, addressing the developmental and psychological characteristics of children and youth with chronic conditions and disabilities. Simeonsson teaches graduate students in the areas of psychological and developmental assessment, prevention and intervention approaches, child development and disability and research design and analysis.

Simeonsson’s scholarship focuses on the assessment of child functioning and development and physical and social ecologies as they relate to health, education and well-being. His research includes development of instruments to assess child development and functioning, the role of environments and procedures for screening and evaluation of developmental disabilities.

Actively engaged in international work related to the development and education of children, Simeonsson served as chair of the World Health Organization’s children’s work group in the development of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health- Children and Youth version and is actively engaged in implementation of the classification in policy and practice internationally. In addition, he and his European counterpart directed a Transatlantic Consortium of 5 European and 3 US universities on global issues in education and development from 2001-2013. He consults with U.N., NGO’s and government agencies on disability related issues in countries in the Middle East, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe.