Galen Switzer, PhD

  • Associate Chief of Research, Division of General Internal Medicine
  • Co-Director, Center for Research on Health Care
  • Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Clinical and Translational Science
  • Director, PhD Program in Clinical and Translational Science
  • Director, PhD Faculty Affairs

Galen E. Switzer, PhD, is Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Switzer is a leading expert in the motives and experiences of related and unrelated hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) donors. This includes sibling/parent donors and individuals who join an adult stem cell donation registry and volunteer to donate to a stranger. His current projects focus on family experiences in the context of pediatric sibling donation. In collaboration with the US-based National Marrow Donor Program, UK-based Anthony Nolan Registry, and German-based DKMS, his research group has also produced key findings about the experiences of unrelated registry members at critical points leading to donation, including motivations for joining the registry and factors associated with opting-out of the registry after having preliminarily matched a patient in need of a transplant. Dr. Switzer’s research group is the most prominent group currently investigating Health Related Quality of Life among HSC donors and has produced important findings about donor experiences. In addition to his substantive research, Dr. Switzer is an expert in patient reported outcomes and for the past 25 years has developed and evaluated clinical and psychosocial research measures and compiled validated measures for research projects across multiple contexts.

Education & Training

  • BA (Psychology), McPherson College, 1985
  • MA (Social Psychology), Arizona State University, 1989
  • PhD (Sociology), University of Colorado, Boulder, 1993
  • Postdoctoral Studies (Medical Sociology), University of Pittsburgh, 1996

Representative Publications

Hamed AB, Bruce JG, Kuniyil V, Mattila D, Williams EP, Dew MA, Myaskovsky L, Confer DL, Switzer GE. Racial and ethnic differences in attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge about unrelated hematopoietic stem cell donation: A study of younger newly recruited potential donors. Transplant Cell Ther. 2022 Jun;28(6):340.e1-340.e16.

The goal of this study was to examine racial/ethnic differences in key factors known or hypothesized to be associated with opting out of the registry in a diverse group of young, newly enrolled potential HSC donors. The investigation revealed key differences in tehse factors among racial/ethnic groups.

Kidd KM, Hill A, Sequeira GM, McMillan C, Switzer GE, Rofey D, Miller E, Montano GT. Development and psychometric analysis of the Transgender Family Acceptance To Empowerment (TransFATE) scale. J Adolesc Health. 2021 Jun;68(6):1096-1103.

Parent and caregiver empowerment improves health outcomes for children with medical and mental health diagnoses, but no existing scale measures this construct in families of GDY. We aimed to develop a scale measuring empowerment in parents and caregivers of GDY.

Switzer GE, Bruce JG, Kiefer DM, Kobusingye H, Abebe KZ, Drexler R, Besser RM, Confer DL, Horowitz MM, King RJ, Shaw BE, Riches M, Hayes-Lattin B, Linenberger M, Bolwell B, Rowley SD, Litzow MR, Pulsipher MA. Health-related quality-of-life comparison of adult related and unrelated HSC donors: An RDSafe study. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2020 Dec;26(12):2365-2371.

This is one of the first large systematic investigations to examine and directly compare the HRQoL of related and unrelated donors. This investigation adds to our understanding of related donor experiences by utilizing a detailed set of health and psychosocial measures to longitudinally examine donors' experiences from predonation through 1 year post donation.

Wiener L, Hoag JA, Pelletier W, Shah NN, Shaw BE, Pulsipher MA, Bruce J, Bader P, Willasch AM, Dalissier A, Guilcher G, Anthias C, Confer DL, Sees JA, Logan B, Switzer GE. Transplant center practices for psychosocial assessment and management of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell donors. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2019 Nov;54(11):1780-1788.

Despite the prevalence of pediatric HSC donation, there is limited research focused on the assessment and surveillance practices of centers that work with these children. The current investigation represents the first comprehensive look at how transplant centers obtain assent, prepare donors for the physical and emotional experiences of donation, and monitor donor well-being post-donation.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Switzer’s works.

Research Interests

  • Related and unrelated stem-cell donation
  • Donation across the lifespan
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Patient-reported outcomes