Dr. Valerie Swigart’s 30-year academic career has focused on the interface of technology, health care, ethics, and human behavior. She is an expert in qualitative research methods and teaching with technology. She has served as the principal investigator or co-investigator for numerous NIH-sponsored and smaller studies. Publications evolving from these studies have supported better understanding of the processes of surrogate decision making regarding life-sustaining technology, the impact of long term mechanical ventilation, homeless persons’ health care seeking behaviors, Middle Eastern women’s experiences of sexual harassment and domestic abuse, and the use of online education to support clinical language learning. Most recently, Dr. Swigart is focusing on development of skills, knowledge, and research related to mindful meditation as it applies to health, stress reduction and implicit bias.
Dr. Swigart’s teaching activities have focused on the use of technology to promote professional, interpersonal, and international aspects of health care ethics. She earned an Innovation in Education Award from the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence titled Teaching Ethics in the Era of Globalization. That award supported the production of an online Global Health Ethics Unit and established an ongoing International Dialogue between University of Pittsburgh nursing students and nursing students in China, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, and South Africa. She designed and implemented an online Clinical Ethics Teaching Module and a Clinical Ethics Course for continuing education of practitioners in the community.
In 2006 and again in 2014, Dr. Swigart won the Nursing Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award (from the School of Nursing). In 2008, she was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2012 Dr. Swigart developed the massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Clinical Terminology for International and U.S. Students.” The course is offered at https://www.coursera.org/; she is a collaborator on the Clinical Terminology Dictionary for Beginning International and U.S. Healthcare Providers at http://www.clinicalterminology.org/home.php .
As a member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, she is a frequent lecturer on topics related to clinical ethics and issues of social justice. She has worked with various committees to support international partnerships and develop SON curricula and learning experiences to enhance students’ global competence.
As Professor Emeritus, she welcomes interactions and consultations with doctoral students or faculty regarding research or teaching related to qualitative research, ethics, or mindful meditation.