Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician, health communicator, and expert in digital health. She has dedicated her career to expanding the practice of general pediatrics in part by using public communication tools and digital software to improve education, connection between patients and care teams, and public health. Dr. Swanson started the first physician-authored blog for a major US hospital in 2009 working to combat misinformation in the news and online for families. She was a pioneer in using social media in medicine with a focus on increasing trust in the science and safety of immunizations. For more than a decade, she generated worldwide interest in pediatric public health topics, her team's digital health innovation projects, and prevention solutions by leveraging her blog, social channels, and media opportunities.
As Chief Medical Officer for a start-up, Dr. Swanson currently leads efforts to foster conversations around the importance of early and consistent inclusion of common allergens in babies' diets. In 2020 she designed an end-to-end, virtual clinical trial enrolling 1500 infants across the US focused on early infant feeding, leveraging EMR-based electronic and online parent chat rooms for novel participant recruitment.
As a pediatrician, author, and a prominent advocate of evidence-based medicine and prevention, Dr. Swanson speaks internationally on prevention, digital health, and health innovation. She has been a leading voice in health care and media, working to revolutionize health communications by using social and digital media to bridge the gap between parents and doctors.
Prior to her work at Stanford, Dr Swanson practiced primary care pediatrics for 12 years, worked for the NBC Seattle-affiliate, KING5 News, as a weekly on-air TV medical contributor, and wrote the Seattle Mama Doc blog for Seattle Children’s Hospital for 10 years. Swanson established and founded the Digital Health department in 2013 for the hospital and was later named Chief of Digital Innovation. In that role, Swanson led a team in innovation by testing and creating new digital tools (software, voice technology, social media, outside innovation pilots) and innovation projects across Seattle Children's and the US.
She is an official spokesperson for The American Academy of Pediatrics and a frequent contributor to national TV, radio, and online news outlets. Her first book, Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in March, 2014 and is a Gold Award Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Awards.
Swanson was born and raised in Minnesota. An honors graduate in Psychology from Kenyon College, Dr. Swanson earned an MD and MBE (Master's in Bioethics) at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine and completed her residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Swanson spent 2 years teaching middle school, bilingual, science & math in Oakland, California through Teach For America before beginning her career in medicine.
Career Focus: building solutions in prevention, health translation/education, and innovation via the design and development of novel and digital tools that 1) empower patients 2) help healthcare providers perform their jobs at the highest level 3) strengthen communication between these two groups and 4) prevent disease.