Jennifer E. Swanberg, Ph.D., is an interdisciplinary social scientist, social entrepreneur and documentary photographer. Dr. Swanberg’s research and related activities focus on the development of workplace and public policies that promote worker health, work-life fit and employee engagement. Her expertise includes low-wage work, occupational health disparities, work-life and designing and implementing community and industry-engaged studies utilizing innovative qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches. Dr. Swanberg has worked with employee populations such as retail workers, housekeepers, food service workers, university staff and faculty and farm workers. She is also skilled at engaging employers and key industry decision makers in the research process. Through her research, she aims to improve the quality of work-life and well-being for workers and their families.
Dr. Swanberg is currently principal investigator of the Latino Thoroughbred Farm Worker Health and Safety Study, a five year multi-method study, funded by CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Her research on flexible work arrangements for hourly low-wage workers, previously funded by the Ford Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is the basis for the Quality of Work-Life study, a multisite randomized control intervention that she is designing in collaboration with a national quality of life services firm. Dr. Swanberg is also co-leading a feasibility study exploring how job conditions influence low-wage earning breast cancer survivors’ employment, treatment and recovery.
While on the faculty of the University of Kentucky, Dr. Swanberg founded and directed the Institute for Workplace Innovation, a university-industry initiative established to develop new knowledge about ways in which organizations can enhance worker productivity through the creation of quality workplace practices that also enhance worker health and work-life fit. As part of this initiative, she also founded the Innovative Employer Roundtable, an employer-membership organization committed to developing and sharing new knowledge about innovative business strategies.
Dr. Swanberg’s current photo-documentary project, the Working Women Project, uses photographs and in-depth interviews to explore the meaning of work in women’s lives. Dr. Swanberg’s photographs, photo-essays and photo voice projects have been published in academic and popular press and shown in local galleries.
Dr. Swanberg is Treasurer/Secretary of the Work-Family Researchers Network and Editor of Community, Work & Family. She has published in top-tier research journals and is frequently consulted by the media about work-family issues. In 2010, she was invited by President and First Lady Obama to the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Dr. Swanberg has a Ph.D. in Social Policy and a MMHS in Management, both from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire.
Inquiries regarding media interviews, consultation, speaking engagements and potential research collaboration are always welcome.