Margaret (Gretchen) Schwarze, MD, MPP

Gretchen Schwarze photo

Associate Professor, Departments of Surgery and Medical History & Bioethics



Margaret (Gretchen) Schwarze, MD, MPP is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics.  She specializes in vascular surgery and clinical medical ethics.  Her research examines the challenges surgeons and patients face regarding decisions surrounding the use of aggressive treatments at the end of life.  She is currently funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health to develop a communication strategy and intervention aimed at increasing patient decision making and reducing postoperative conflict about goals of care surrounding high-risk surgery.

Research Funding

Navigating high-risk surgery: Empowering older adults to ask questions that inform decisions about surgical treatment
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Role: Principal Investigator

A communication tool to assist older adults facing difficult surgical decisions
NIH-NIA, R03 AG047920, 7/1/14-6/30/16
Role: Principal Investigator

Innovations in organ donation: Donation before circulatory death for imminently dying patients
Greenwall Foundation: Making a Different in Real World Bioethical Problems, 7/1/15-6/30/17
Role: Principal Investigator

Prevention of postoperative conflict about life supporting therapy by improving preoperative communication with older patients
NIH KL2TR000428, 6/1/12-5/31/16
Role: Principal Investigator

Recent Publications (selected)

Nabozny MJ, Kruser JM, Steffens NM, Pecanac KE, Brasel KJ, Chittenden EH, Cooper Z, McKneally MF, Schwarze ML. Patient reported limitations of surgical buy-in: A qualitative study of patients facing high-risk surgery. Ann Surg (in press).

Nabozny MJ, Barnato AE, Rathouz PJ, Havlena JA, Kind AJ, Ehlenbach WJ, Zhao Q, Ronk K, Smith MA, Greenberg CC, Schwarze ML. Trajectories and prognosis of older patients who have prolonged mechanical ventilation after high-risk surgery. Crit Care Med (in press).

Schwarze ML, Campbell CC, Cunningham TV, White DB, Arnold RM. You can't get what you want: Innovation for end-of-life communication in the ICU. Am J Resp Crit Care Med (in press).

Nabozny MJ, Steffens NM, Schwarze ML. When Do Not Resuscitate is a non-choice choice. JAMA Intern Med 2015;175(9):1444-5.

Kruser JM, Nabozny MJ, Steffens NM, Brasel KJ, Campbell TC, Gaines ME, Schwarze ML. "Best case/worst case": Qualitative evaluation of a novel communication tool for difficult in-the-moment surgical decisions. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015;63(9):1805-11.

Nabozny MJ, Kruser JM, Steffens NM, Brasel KJ, Campbell TC, Gaines ME, Schwarze ML. Constructing high-stakes surgical decisions: It's better to die trying. Ann Surg (in press).

Neuman MD, Allen S, Schwarze ML, Uy J. Using time-limited trials to improve surgical care for frail older adults. Ann Surg 2015;261(4):639-41.

Schwarze ML, Barnato AE, Rathouz PJ, Zhao Q, Neuman HB, Winslow ER, Kennedy GD, Hu YY, Dodgion CM, Kwok AC, Greenberg CC. Development of a list of high risk operations for patients age 65 and older. JAMA Surg 2015;150(4):325-31.

Kruser JK, Pecanac KE, Brasel KJ, Cooper Z, Steffens N, McKneally M, Schwarze ML. "And I think we can fix it": Mental models used in high-risk surgical decision making. Ann Surg 2015;261(4):678-84.

Taub AL, Keune JD, Kodner IJ, Schwarze ML. Respecting autonomy in the setting of acute traumatic quadriplegia. Surgery 2014;155(2):355-60.

Schwarze ML, Brasel KJ, Mosenthal AC. Beyond 30-day mortality: aligning surgical quality with outcomes patients value. JAMA Surg 2014;149(7):631-2.

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