Jennifer Swanberg

Jennifer Swanberg, PhD, is an interdisciplinary social scientist, social entrepreneur, and documentary photographer.

Swanberg’s research and related activities focus on the development of workplace and public policies that promote worker health and work-life fit. 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.

Swanberg has worked with employee populations such as retail workers, housekeepers, food service workers, university staff and faculty, and farm workers. She also is 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.

While on the faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, Swanberg was the Joanne Bell Professor in Critical Thinking and Social Policy Analysis and 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.

Swanberg is editor of Community, Work & Family. She has published in top-tier research journals, provided testimony in support of federal and local labor-related policy initiatives, and is frequently consulted by the media about matters pertaining to low-wage work and work-family issues. In 2010, she was invited by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama to the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Swanberg has a PhD in social policy and an MMHS in management, both from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a BS in occupational therapy from the University of New Hampshire.