Kjirsten Swenson, MD

Photo: true

Department of Emergency Medicine

Assistant Professor

Emergency Medicine


B.A., Anthropology, Rice University

MD, Baylor College of Medicine

Residency: Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico


I grew up in North Dakota where I played ice hockey to forget about the bitter winters and schemed about moving somewhere (anywhere!) south. After a couple of undergrad years in Houston, I moved even further south to Bolivia, where I finished my degree in anthropology and spent the next two years volunteering in Morochata. There I taught high school English and helped with minor tasks around the local clinic. Bolivian bureaucracy required me to cross a border every ninety days, so those years were filled with frequent trips to trek in the Andes or soak up the sun on a Brazilian beach.

 After returning to reality to go to medical school, I was thrilled to match at UNM for residency. New Mexico successfully trapped me and my husband Jens. We both took faculty positions here after finishing residency. I’m a fan of driving to winter for playing in the snow but never shoveling the driveway, hiking in the high desert, and admiring dreamy sunsets from our backyard in the East Mountains.

Teaching Interests

  • Quality, Emergency Department bounce backs and case review

Research Interests

  • Bolus phenylephrine, unscheduled Emergency Department return visits