Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Weight and Eating Disorders

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David B. Sarwer, PhD

David B. Sarwer, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as well as Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. He received his B.A. in 1990 from Tulane University, his M.A. in 1992 from Loyola University Chicago and his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1995 from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Sarwer's research interests focus on the assessment and treatment of obesity. He is Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on three NIH funded grants investigating the psychological aspects of bariatric surgery. He is also involved in two studies investigating the treatment of obesity in primary care settings. Dr. Sarwer is also a consultant to the Edwin Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center where he conducts research on the psychological aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. He has numerous publications in both areas of research.

Clinically, Dr. Sarwer is the Director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program and is actively involved in the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts behavioral/psychological evaluations of patients prior to surgery. He also treats individuals with eating or other psychological concerns after bariatric surgery.

Dr. Sarwer provides psychotherapeutic treatment to persons who have body dysmorphic disorder or other appearance concerns.

Dr. Sarwer can be contacted at: Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market St., Suite 3026, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309, 215-898-7314. His e-mail address is

Recent publications include:

Block AR, Sarwer DB (Eds). Presurgical Psychological Screening: Understanding Patients, Improving Outcomes. American Psychological Association, Washington DC, 2013.

Sarwer DB, Ritter S, Wadden TA, Spitzer JC, Vetter ML, Moore RH. Attitudes About the Safety and Efficacy of Bariatric Surgery among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and a Body Mass Index of 30-40 kg/m2. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 2013 Oct 27.

Sarwer DB, von Sydow Green A, Williams NN. Clinical Case Report: Psychosocial Issues in Adolescent Bariatric Surgery. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 2012;8(1):124-6.

Sarwer DB, Dilks RJ, Spitzer JC. Weight Loss and Changes in Body Image. In: Cash TF & Smolak L (Eds.), Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention, 2nd Edition, Guilford, New York, 2011, 369-377.

Wadden TA, Volger S, Sarwer DB, Vetter ML, Tsai AG, Berkowitz RI, Kumanyika S, Schmitz KH, Diewald LK, Barg R, Chittams J, Moore RH. Treating Obesity in Primary Care Practice – A Two-Year Randomized Controlled Trial. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011;365(21):1969-1979.

Useful link: Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Body Image Program



David B. Sarwer Dr. David B. Sarwer