David B. Sarwer headshot

David B. Sarwer

Associate Dean
Director, CORE
Research Administration
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Bell Building, Suite 370
1101 W. Montgomery Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Dr. Sarwer is Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at the College of Public Health. He also is Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He received his B.A. from Tulane University in 1990, his M.A., in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Chicago in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Chicago in 1995.

Dr. Sarwer's research is focused on the etiology and treatment of obesity. Much of his work has focused on the psychosocial and behavioral aspects of extreme obesity and bariatric surgery.  He is currently leading a study, funded by NIH/NIDDK and the State of Pennsylvania, investigating the relationship between psychosocial functioning and outcomes of bariatric surgery. He also has a wealth of experience in the treatment of obesity with lifestyle modification interventions and pharmacotherapy. His more recent work in this area has focused on the adaptation and delivery of weight loss treatments in specialized medical settings, including primary care, reproductive endocrinology, and oncology.

Dr. Sarwer also maintains an active program of research on the psychological aspects of physical appearance. Along with Dean Laura Siminoff and Dr. Heather Gardiner in the College of Public Health, he is involved in three projects funded by the Department of Defense investigating the psychosocial experiences of American military veterans who have suffered devastating injuries that could leave them as candidates for vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) procedures, otherwise known as face and hand transplants. Dr. Sarwer also is currently involved in a project looking at the relationship between traumatic brain injury, impulsivity, and substance misuse in young adult athletes. 

Dr. Sarwer is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Obesity Science and Practice. He also serves as an Associate Editor for both Health Psychology and Obesity Surgery; consulting editor for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. In 2020, he was Co-Editor of a special issue of the The American Psychologist dedicated to obesity. 

Dr. Sarwer has published over 250 papers and book chapters based on his research. He has served as editor of three books: Psychological Aspects of Reconstructive and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery (2006); Presurgical Psychological Screening (2014); and The ASMBS Textbook of Bariatric Surgery (2014).  A gifted teacher and presenter, he has served as an invited or keynote speaker to a number of regional, national, and international meetings.


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Loyola University Chicago
  • MA, Clinical Psychology, Loyola University Chicago
  • BA, Psychology, Tulane University