The American Health Council warmly welcomes Mrs. Dawn Swatsenbarg to the Physician Board. Amassing over 19 years’ experience working within the healthcare industry, Mrs. Swatsenbarg has gained extensive knowledge in her role as a physician assistant.
Mrs. Swatsenbarg has gained an impressive array of experience working in various healthcare positions since the age of 16. Beginning her career as a file clerk, it was while working in this position she met Robert Ross, a physician assistant, who introduced her to the field by becoming her mentor early on. She began her academic endeavors studying at the Oakland University 1995, receiving her BSN in Nursing, but later enrolled at the University of Detroit at Mercy where she achieved her MS in Physician Assistant Studies in 1999.
Mrs. Swatsenberg’s time working as a registered nurse enabled her to expand her knowledge in medicine, and she was further introduced to the role of physician assistant within the surgical critical care area. She pursued her goal of becoming a critical care provider by earning her MS in physician assistant studies and accepting a position at the DMC in the area of pulmonary critical care with the group Haapaniemi, Lesser and Associates, who became her continued mentors and expanded her role in this area.
Mrs. Swatsenbarg has successfully fulfilled her current role as a Physician Assistant for five years at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS). Since 1953, VAAAHS has provided state-of-the-art healthcare services to the men and women who have so proudly served our nation. The staff at VAAAHS consider it their privilege to serve the healthcare needs in any way they can, and more than 69,000 Veterans living in a 15-county area of Michigan and Northwest Ohio utilized the VAAAHS in fiscal year 2017. The main hospital campus located in Ann Arbor serves as a referral center, and more than 630,000 outpatient visits were made at the facilities in fiscal year 2017; there were more than 5,300 inpatient episodes of care provided in the hospital and extended care center. VAAAHS offers services including bariatric, mental health, palliative care, pharmacy, primary care, caregiver support, research, social work, specialty care, urology, visual impairment and veteran justice outreach.
Mrs. Swatsenbarg attributes her success to the mentors she has had the opportunity to work with and learn from throughout her career. Her passion for the profession, and her interest in the early exposure of students within the field of medicine, is a reflection of her gratitude.
Over the course of her career, Mrs. Swatsenbarg has gained extensive expertise in surgical critical care. As part of her daily role, she is responsible for the management of veterans in the surgical critical area, having been recruited for this position to assist in the development of an intensivist team, in order to provide a higher level of care for our nation’s veterans. Mrs. Swatsenbarg has brought 14 years of critical care experience to the team and to the veterans. This has enabled her to take on a leadership role within the team, which involves her orienting and training new team members, managing schedules and assisting in the development of new policies and procedures.
Additionally, Mrs. Swatsenbarg has also strived to take on further commitments to include a leadership role within the VA systems, through her membership on the critical care committee, the ICU steering committee, the Unit Practice committee and by initiating the physician assistant committee. In recognition of her accomplishments, Mrs. Swatsenbarg has been designated as the lead PA for VSN 10 Ann Arbor, with a continuous aim to increase the exposure of the physician assistant to the VA. Keen to place more awareness and emphasis on medical education and training, Mrs. Swatsenbarg is also currently trying to put resources into place by working with local universities in the placement of physician assistant students in clinical rotations.
Among Mrs. Swatsenbarg’s many professional accolades, she was privileged to receive the Dean’s Scholar Award from the University of Detroit during her studies as well as the Chairperson Clinical Excellence Award for Top Students from the University of Detroit. It was her outstanding excellence and dedication shown through her studies that led her offered the Robert Wood Johnson Training Scholarship, which she also holds in high esteem.
With a desire to continue building upon her knowledge in an ever advancing industry, Mrs. Swatsenbarg is an active member of a number of professional associations, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants, where she is also a member of the CME Committee.
Looking to her future, Mrs. Swatsenbarg plans to further her education with the goal of obtaining a doctorate degree. With a belief in gaining better training and experience, Mrs. Swatsenbarg intends to become more involved in the preceptorship and placement of physician assistant students, allowing her to continue to advocate for the physician assistant profession within the VA and abroad.
Outside of work, Mrs. Swatsenbarg likes to spend quality time with family, travelling and reading good books. When she can, Mrs. Swatsenbarg supports her local community in roles including the Parent Council Rep for the Charyl Stockwell Academy and Chair for Annual Butterfly Ball at School. She also aspires to dedicate her time to charities such as the Guardian Angel Animal Rescue and Work with Veterans outreach.
Share this entry
BSN, MS, PA-C
Lead Physician Assistant at VA @ Ann Arbor
- Since 1953, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS) has provided state-of-the-art healthcare services to the men and women who have so proudly served our nation.
- The main hospital campus located in Ann Arbor serves as a referral center for specialty care and operates 102 acute care beds and 40 Community Living Center (extended care) beds.
- More than 630,000 outpatient visits were made at our facilities in fiscal year 2017; there were more than 5,300 inpatient episodes of care provided in the hospital and extended care center.
- More than 69,000 Veterans living in a 15-county area of Michigan and Northwest Ohio utilized the VAAAHS in fiscal year 2017.