J. Shannon Swan, MD

Senior Scientist J. Shannon Swan
Radiologist in the MGH Division of Musculoskeletal Radiology
Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
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Fax: 617-726-9414
Location: Institute for Technology Assessment
Massachusetts General Hospital
101 Merrimac St., 10th FL
Boston, MA 02114

Shannon Swan received his bachelor's degree from Creighton University, obtained his medical training at the University of Nebraska, and did his residency in radiology at Indiana University Hospitals. Subsequently, he completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal imaging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Swan accepted a staff position at the University of Wisconsin after his clinical fellowship. During his early career, he performed many investigations related to magnetic resonance angiography development, and eventually became interested in health services research due to the health policy implications of less invasive technologies. Dr. Swan is a past winner of the General Electric-Association of University Radiologists Research Academic Fellowship (GERRAF) in technology assessment and outcomes research. He received his research fellowship training under Dennis Fryback while at Wisconsin, with an emphasis on modeling preference-based quality of life.

Dr. Swan accepted a position at Indiana University in 1999 to begin a health services research effort in the Department of Radiology. During that appointment he laid the methodologic foundations for most of his current work.

He joined the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment in the fall of 2003. His major current interest is in the methodology of health state preference construction, both in holistic and multiattribute utility (MAU) applications.

Dr. Swan has extensive prior experience as a Principal Investigator.  His first NIH grant was an R01 proposal concentrating on the development of a time-resolved contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography pulse sequence for clinical use in peripheral arterial disease. Within that grant, Swan also began implementing an original variant on the holistic time trade-off method, the waiting trade-off (WTO), to measure the short-term quality of life effects of medical testing. His second R01 grant further explored his original work with collaborators on the WTO and was funded by the Agency for Health Research and Quality.  Recently, he was funded by the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant program to develop the Testing Morbidities Index (TMI). The TMI is designed to capture the morbidity of any diagnostic testing or screening experience, and can be scaled in multiple ways; it can be used as a summated profile, or as a utility index that can be weighted by the perspective of patients or members of the community. Dr. Swan's current funding comes from an RFA from the American Cancer Society in Palliative Care. In this project he is studying quality of life in lung cancer.


  • Lubitz, C. C., Gregorio, L. D., Fingeret, A. L., Economopoulos, K., Teremzawi, D., Hassan, M., Parangi, S., Stephen, A., Halpern, E. F., Donelan, K. & Swan, J. S. (2017). Measurement and Variation in Estimation of Quality of Life Effects of Patients Undergoing Treatment for Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma.. Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association, 27(2), 197-206. [Online version]
  • Swan, J. S., Furtado, V. F., Keller, L. A., Lotti, J. B., Saltalamacchia, C. A., Lennes, I. & Salazar, G. M. (2017). Pilot Study of a Patient-Centered Radiology Process Model.. Journal of the American College of Radiology : JACR, 14(2), 274-281. [Online version]
  • Swan, J. S., Pandharipande, P. & Salazar, G. M. (2016). Developing a Patient-Centered Radiology Process Model.. J Am Coll Radiol, 13(5), 510-6. [Online version]
  • Daignault, C. P., Palmer, E. L., Scott, J. A., Swan, J. S. & Daniels, G. H. (2015). Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Metastasis to the Lumbar Spine Masquerading as a Schmorl's Node.. Nucl Med Mol Imaging, 49(3), 217-222. [Online version]
  • Tramontano, A., Schrag, D. L., Malin, J. K., Miller, M., Weeks, J. C., Swan, J. S. & McMahon, P. M. (2015). Catalog and Comparison of Societal Preferences (Utilities) for Lung Cancer Health States: Results from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) Study.. Med Decis Making, 35(3), 371-87. [Online version]