Dr. Susan Swedo is head of the Section on Behavioral Pediatrics (SBP) in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She received her MD from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed a pediatrics residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Following her training, Dr. Swedo served as chief of Adolescent Medicine for Northwestern University until 1986 when she joined Dr. Judith Rapoport’s laboratory at NIMH. Dr. Swedo received tenure in the NIMH Intramural Research Program in 1992 and became head of the NIMH Section on Behavioral Pediatrics in 1994 and Chief of the Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch in 1998. She served as acting director of the NIMH-IRP 1995–1998 and associate director for Child and Adolescent Research 2003–2007. Dr. Swedo was the founding director of the NIMH Division of Pediatric Translational Research and Treatment Development and served until March 2006 when she returned to the NIMH intramural research program and assembled a multi-disciplinary team to conduct clinical research on the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Dr. Swedo and her colleagues were the first to identify a post-infectious subtype of OCD, known as PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections). This line of research has resulted in several novel treatment and prevention strategies for childhood-onset OCD, including use of immunomodulatory therapies to treat acutely ill children and antibiotic prophylaxis to forestall future neuropsychiatric symptom exacerbations. In addition to holding two patents and publishing more than 120 peer-reviewed papers, Dr. Swedo has published two trade books, Is It “Just a Phase”? and It’s Not All In Your Head.