Leslie Swartz

ASSAf Gold1Professor Leslie Swartz is a prolific academic with over 350 academic outputs to his credit. He has supervised over forty PhD`s, many of them black, women, and disabled South Africans. He has played a leading role in developing the field of disability studies in South Africa and his path-breaking work on disability assessment processes was fundamental in developments in the field. Central to Swartz`s approach is the development of research capacity in people previously excluded from the academy and to making principles of scientific engagement accessible to the broader community. He is sought after as an academic mentor and contributes regularly to training of more junior researchers at a range of South African universities. His work is regularly prescribed in academic courses in South Africa in psychology and other disciplines. Swartz is also an activist who takes scientific community engagement and linkages seriously. In 2018 and 2019 he has worked closely with the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre alongside the Deadly Medicine exhibition, which focussed on the abuse and murder of disabled people during the holocaust and the links between these practices, eugenics in South Africa and contemporary concerns. As part of his work on care, illness and disablement issues, Swartz has provided free consultation services and he is also supervising the first ever study of mental health issues amongst Deaf children conducted on the African continent. Swartz has a keen interest in access to services for people who are excluded in various ways. In this regard, he heads a research team which has worked with the Western Cape Government to train, support and trial the use of language interpreters in a number of health care settings in the Western Cape. Swartz`s work has had impact both on the African continent and further afield. In this regard, he has various provided academic writing and research training and assisted scholars in a number of African countries to publish their work in accredited, high impact international journals. His first book Culture and mental health (Oxford University Press) has been highly influential internationally and has been cited over 400 times. His h-index is 52, the highest by far of any scholar in disability studies in South Africa. Across an academic career which started in the 1980`s Leslie Swartz has made his mark locally, on the African continent, and globally. In his field, he is recognised as a leading scholar and alongside his own contributions, he has a long and sustained track record of meaningful capacity building, of contributing to diversifying the academy, and to producing work which improves the lives of vulnerable and excluded people.