Director, Compassionate Care Initiative
University of Virginia
Susan is the director of the Compassionate Care Initiative and Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the University of Virginia (UVa) School of Nursing and holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Religious Studies at UVa. Her research and scholarship, supported by significant federal and foundation funding, has focused on the effects of chronic stress and the use of mindfulness and other integrative health approaches to bolster stress resilience and sense of well-being, particularly for those living with cancer and other serious chronic illnesses as well as for family caregivers and clinicians. A major focus of her current work is on cultivating resilience and compassion in health care and higher education --on individual, group, and systems levels. Susan is the Past-President of the Society for Integrative Oncology and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and has served on a number of review panels and committees for the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society among other organizations. Besides over 60 scholarly publications, she is the author of a book for the lay public entitled Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness. Susan received a BSN from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, MSN in Adult Health/Oncology from the University of New Hampshire, and PhD in Nursing from Rush University (funded by NIH T32 fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology), and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psycho-oncology at Dartmouth Medical School. She also teaches mindfulness and contemplative practices, leads resiliency retreats for health professionals, students, and the public, and is inspired by international work through volunteer and educational programs abroad.