Garth Swanson, M.D., named new Director of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at MUSC

Natalie Wilson
December 13, 2022
Dr. Garth Swanson

Garth R. Swanson, M.D., has been recruited as the new director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine, effective June 1, 2023.

In this role, Dr. Swanson will lead a nationally and internationally recognized faculty in expanding gastroenterology and hepatology clinical services and programs as well as continuing to build and enhance educational programs, scholarly activities, and collaborations.

“Dr. Swanson is an exceptional leader in gastroenterology and liver diseases, and we are proud to welcome him to MUSC,” said Ben Clyburn, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine. “Dr. Swanson’s clinical expertise in IBD will superbly complement and align with our experienced team of IBD gastroenterologists and other health care specialists. Under his guidance and vision, we look forward to enhancing our gastroenterology program to continue to best serve our community.”

The division currently serves patients across South Carolina, emphasizing its areas of expertise. Dr. Swanson plans to expand both the size and footprint of his division to improve clinical access for all patients with gastrointestinal problems, as the demand across the state grows rapidly. To facilitate this, he plans to recruit dedicated clinicians to support not only all MUSC Charleston locations (East Cooper, West Ashley, Nexton), but also for the Regional Health Affiliates in other parts of the state.

The division has a robust research program with a current portfolio of $9 million in active federal and foundation awards, two NIH-funded centers, and more than 40 active clinical trials. Dr. Swanson intends to continue developing digestive and liver disease research with plans to recruit prominent physician-scientists and basic researchers over the next few years.

Dr. Swanson comes to MUSC from Rush University Medical Center where he is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition and Professor of the Graduate College. He also serves as Director of the Rush Crohn’s & Colitis Center, Director of the Clinical Chronobiology Lab, and Associate Director of the Rush Center for Integrated Microbiome and Chronobiology Research. He is an active clinical and translational investigator, with primary research interests focused on investigating circadian rhythm disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), and microscopic colitis. Dr. Swanson’s overall translational research is focused on the impact of environmental factors on the gastrointestinal tract and gut-derived inflammation and includes circadian disruption and the mechanisms by which they impact the microbiome, intestinal permeability, endotoxemia, and mucosal injury. Dr. Swanson currently has two R01s examining the impact of circadian misalignment in IBD, and chronotherapy of 5-ASA therapy in UC.

Dr. Swanson is an active mentor and established a monthly IBD conference. Additionally, he was instrumental in establishing the Rush Crohn’s and Colitis Center at RUMC in 2018 which includes the IBD Clinic which he co-directs with colorectal surgery and multidisciplinary (combined medical and surgical) in-patient consult IBD service. The establishment of this multidisciplinary clinic in IBD has helped advance state-of-the-art and cutting-edge treatments in a coordinated care center to patients facing a complex medical and surgical disease.

Dr. Swanson received his medical degree from Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his residency and his fellowship training at Rush University Medical Center and has a master's degree in clinical research.

"We are extremely excited to have Dr. Swanson join our team," said Clyburn. "I believe that he brings the skills to build upon our existing strengths and significantly enhance and elevate our Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division."

Dr. Swanson succeeds Brenda Hoffman, M.D., who has served as interim director of the Division Gastroenterology and Hepatology since 2020.