by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations
Susan Swindells, M.B.B.S.
Susan Swindells, M.B.B.S., the Terry K. Watanabe chairwoman for HIV/AIDS Research and Care, and professor of internal medicine, was named the 2013 recipient of the University of Nebraska’s Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA).
Dr. Swindells is one of two recipients of the university-wide award that recognizes faculty members who have extended their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university in ways that have enriched the broader community.
Ever since she arrived at UNMC in 1991, Dr. Swindells has been the primary mover behind all the changes in HIV clinical care for adults and children, research and education at UNMC, said her nominator, Jennifer Larsen, M.D., UNMC’s vice chancellor for research. “Her leadership in clinical trials has brought national attention to the Nebraska AIDS Education and Training Center.”
Dr. Swindells is a tireless “cheerleader” for HIV/AIDS community awareness, including critical screening services and community education to combat stereotypes and discrimination, Dr. Larsen said.
‘Dr. Swindells has made HIV/AIDS care, education, research, and advocacy her mission.’ Jennifer Larsen, M.D.-UNMC vice chancellor for research
“Dr. Swindells has made HIV/AIDS care, education, research and advocacy her mission, almost 24-7,” she said. “She is a tireless advocate for those that sometimes have no voice. She is not hesitant to discuss the importance of sex education not only to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, but hopefully reduce other sexually transmitted diseases, as well.”
Dr. Swindells’ commitment to helping underserved populations, improving AIDS education and training and providing compassionate care is known around the world, Dr. Larsen said.
Below, Dr. Swindells reveals more about the woman behind the research.
What motivates you in your clinical research?
The motivation for my research comes from my patients. When I started caring for patients with HIV disease more than 20 years ago, there were times when at least one patient died every week. Most of them were young people, and it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to keep them alive. Thankfully, this has changed dramatically and in the U.S. our current therapies have completely changed the course of HIV disease into a chronic manageable condition. There is still much to be done internationally though, and I am fortunate to be able to work with people in many different countries.
What is your life goal?
My goal is to keep going as long as I am enjoying myself and being useful, and then to get out of the way.