About me

I am a practicing emergency physician, and I love my job. Each day is filled with new clinical challenges, fascinating people of all ages with stories to tell, and the chance to comfort and heal. I am deeply troubled, however, when I contrast the challenges that I face as a health care provider in the United States on a daily basis with those faced by the sick and their health officials in developing countries. Many decisions that I make are terribly expensive and often make little difference. (Indeed, I’m also deeply troubled by the inefficiencies of our health system). On the contrary, interventions in developing countries cost pennies and make an enormous difference. If only it were that simple…

My experience in global health, while limited, has given me some experience in both clinical tropical medicine and public health. Perhaps more importantly, I have come to realize that, yes, in fact, the millions that are sick needlessly are suffering. That was an important realization for me (though it may be obvious to many) because needless suffering on the current scale necessitates urgent action.  See this 5 minute video for a quick overview of my experience and perspective.

I have a diploma in clinical tropical medicine, which I earned in Peru. I have been on the Board of Advisers for a small NGO in Mozambique, Care for Life. I have been there three times and have worked on public health projects in AIDS and malaria. I recently received a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Currently, I am affiliate faculty at Brigham Young University where I teach and collaborate with students regarding systems thinking and health.

More recently, I have been involved in health systems strengthening activities. See here for a list of my publications, presentations, and current academic activities. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, I organized a Bellagio Conference on systems thinking, global health, and capacity; and lead a social media campaign.

I am a believing, practicing Mormon. My upbringing as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has had a profound impact on the way that I view the world and other people.

I like to make cookies with my daughters, go on hikes in the mountains, read history (biographies) and philosophy (Kierkegaard and Buber), camp in the winter, play volleyball (beach doubles), eat at Thai and Indian restaurants with my wife, eat dairy products (Breyer’s Vanilla), take long bike rides, travel, sit outside when there are long shadows, and play hide and go seek.


  1. Annie Trumbull said,

    Hi Dr. Swanson!
    My name is Annie Trumbull. I first became aware of you from being a volunteer in the UVRMC ER, then you spoke in my Prev. to medicine class but I wasn’t interested. That interest has changed drastically! I have changed my major to public health and I would love to eventually be on a global scale. My goal is to attend George Washington university’s PA/MPH which has an acceptance rate of about 3%. Along with shadowing hours, 1000 paid patient exposure hours I am looking for something to set me apart. I love the mission and vision of this program. I seek involvement not for a checklist item to be checked but from a pure passion for this work. If there is room for another student I have ideas of taking some of the research I have been apart of and bringing it to the level of global health awareness. I work in Benjamin bikman’s lab at BYU and we study metabolism and obesity. We are purely science and I would love to take what we understand and our findings and use it to improve public health. Is there current oppertunities to participate? I am passionate about this field and I am fascinated by this group and what it’s doing! Please let me know if there are oppertunities to be involved. Thank you!

  2. […] me and my work, and opportunities for research and advocacy that I will update periodically.  See here to learn more about me, and here for how to contact me.  I hope to hear from you […]

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