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Meet Dean Debra Schwinn, MD

Schwinn, Debra 2

Debra A. Schwinn, MD, is currently in the midst of her third year as dean of the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine as well as serving as Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Biochemistry.

Dr. Schwinn received her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in anesthesiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a clinical fellowship in cardiac anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center. This was followed by a research fellowship in α1-adrenergic receptor molecular pharmacology and biochemistry in the laboratory of Bob Lefkowitz in the Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine at Duke. Dr. Schwinn served for 18 years on the faculty at Duke University in North Carolina where she ultimately received a James B. Duke Professorship and was Director of Cardiovascular Genomics in the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. Following 21 years at Duke, she moved to the University of Washington in Seattle where she served as chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, and was both the Allan J. Treuer Endowed Professor of Anesthesiology and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Genome Sciences.

Dr. Schwinn is a nationally known investigator in molecular pharmacology with an interest in the mechanisms underlying the stress response. Her recent interest in perioperative genomics has led to research examining the role of naturally occurring human genetic variability on perioperative outcomes, particularly after heart surgery. Dr. Schwinn maintains active funding from the National Institutes of Health, and as a result of her research, holds several U.S. patents. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Medicine (2002), Association of American Physicians (2005), and member of many other national and international organizations.

An invited lecturer and visiting professor throughout the world, she has served on many national and international committees and boards, including her role as 2002-2014 member (2012-2014 Chair) of the Board of Trustees for the International Anesthesiology Research Society. Dr. Schwinn has authored or co-authored more than 180 journal articles and book chapters, edited two books, and served on the editorial boards of several journals. During her academic career she has received many honorary awards, including several teaching awards.

Dr. Schwinn brings a passionate vision of academic medicine in a changing health care environment. She has laid the groundwork for innovations in medical education, bench to bedside research, and team-based patient care. During her tenure as dean, she has overseen the implementation of a new medical education curriculum that incorporates professional skills and wholistic elements of medicine in society as well as introducing novel mechanisms-based biomedical sciences as first in the United States. She has also successfully recruited a nationally-renown leader for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Diabetes Research Center and envisions several similar inter-disciplinary disease-based research centers that incorporate basic science research, clinical research, and patient care.

Dr. Schwinn lives in the Iowa City area with her husband, Bob, who is a theologian and computer scientist. They have two adult daughters, Anna and Heidi.

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