Cynthia Cupit Swenson, PhD

Cynthia Cupit Swenson, PhD
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Director, Family Services Research Center

176 Croghan Spur Road, Suite 104
Charleston, SC 29407


PhD, Florida State University

Biography and Research Interests
Cynthia Swenson is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Director of the Family Services Research Center (FSRC). She is co-director of the Project Okurase project in Ghana. She is Principal Investigator on a NIDA-funded randomized controlled trial evaluating the Multisystemic Therapy Building Stronger Families Model for co-occurring child maltreatment and parental substance abuse. Dr. Swenson has published many journal articles, book chapters, and three books.

Project Involvement
Netherlands , Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
Dr. Swenson’s research focuses on treatment for child abuse and neglect. Her research has been conducted in Cambridgeshire, England, the Thurgau region of Switzerland, and Amsterdam, Netherlands. The program started in Charleston, SC and is an intensive home-based treatment for youth ages 6 to 17 and their families with a history physical abuse and/or neglect. The program includes a team of 3 therapists, one case manager, and a full-time supervisor. Therapists provide treatment over a period of 6-8 months.

Okurase, Ghana
Project Okurase is a community development and health project in the rural village of Okurase, Ghana. Multifaceted and always growing, the overall purpose of the project is to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Ghana by helping susceptible and orphaned children who are affected by the disease. The objectives are to provide skills training and formal education to vulnerable children and women, and to connect orphaned children with families. The project also determines the feasibility and acceptability of the biogas system; assesses the attitudes and knowledge of biogas technology over time, and determines factors that promote or preclude system sustainability. The project is a partnership among people in South Carolina; Okurase, Ghana, and England.  The Village Health Outreach programs are offered at least twice a year. These capacity-building trips will serve Okurase and nearby villages and will be an opportunity to train students, residents, interns, and others from MUSC and from institutions in Ghana.

Related Media

Selected Publications

  1. Samson, L., Swenson, C. C., Sarin, E., & Sweat, M. (2009). Baseline characteristics of a population injecting substances in New Delhi, India.

  2. Stallman, H. M., Walmsley, K. E., Bor, W., Collerson, M., Swenson, C. C., & McDermott, B. (2009). New directions in treatment of child physical abuse and neglect in Australia: MST-CAN a case study.

  3. Bor, W., Stallman H., Collerson E., Boyle C., Swenson, CC., McDermott, B., Lee, E., (2013). Therapy implications of child abude in multi-risk families. Australas Psychiatry. (4):389-92. doi: 10.1177/1039856213492350. Epub 2013 Jun 26.