David B. Sarwer headshot

David B. Sarwer

Associate Dean
Director, CORE
Research, Grants and Contracts
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 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 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.

Sarwer is currently Editor-in-Chief of the new 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 2016, he was named to the editorial board of the The American Psychologist.

Prior to coming to the College of Public Health, Dr. Sarwer was a Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he served as a consultant to the Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania and held an appointment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In these roles, he directed a program of research on the psychological aspects of physical appearance, which he maintains today. He served as editor on two books from this work Psychological Aspects of Reconstructive and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery (2006) and Presurgical Psychiatric Screening (2014). 

Dr. Sarwer has published approximately 200 papers and book chapters based on his research. A gifted teacher and presenter, he has served as an invited or keynote speaker to a number of regional, national, and international meetings.