Featured Surgeon: Dr. Julia Swanson

Julia Swanson, MD

“I never thought of myself as a pioneer.  I grew up loving science and people and pursuing medicine just made sense.  I was exposed to cardiac physiology early and loved how logical it was.  Surgery attracted me with its definitiveness and once I was involved in operations and had the opportunity to fix a patient I was sold.   Cardiac surgery naturally followed.  I paid no attention to the fact that I did not have a single female mentor or attending until my super fellowship – my 11th year of post-graduate training.  I ultimately returned to Oregon where I began my training and became the first woman Cardiac Surgeon in Portland, Oregon.  A city with 8 hospitals that perform cardiac surgery.

I find the population of adult congenital heart disease patients incredibly rewarding to care for.  The number of adults with congenital heart disease now surpasses the number of children with congenital heart disease in the US.  These are the patients who were brave and underwent operations at the advent of congenital surgery.  They have incredible stories to tell.”

Dr. Swanson is truly a renaissance woman, with a phenomenal range of skills both clinically and outside of work.  She is quite the powerhouse of an all-star.  She was nominated by Dr. Lauren Kane, who shares the following laudatory remarks:

“Julia Swanson is a wonderful surgeon and amazing human being that I am privileged to call my friend. She has an impressive career path, with training at some of the best institutions across this country. She is now in practice with a special interest in adult congenital and mitral valve surgery. She practices a wide range of cardiac operations on all age groups. Her patients love her. She is also a runner that knocks out a 50 mile run, no problem. Finishes the Ironman New Zealand like it is not that big a deal (it really is a BIG deal)! Always impressed with her great attitude, enthusiasm for life, love of the outdoors and being an excellent cardiac surgeon. Proud to call her a friend and colleague.”

Dr. Swanson completing an Iron Man competition

Dr. Swanson operating

Dr. Swanson and her fiance Mark