John J.H. Schwarz, M.D. ’64, is an otolaryngologist, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a former mayor, state senator and U.S. representative. Since 2007, he has been a lecturer at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
After receiving his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Schwarz, along with seven classmates, completed his internship at Los Angeles County General Hospital He then joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a combat surgeon for a Marine battalion in Vietnam. In 1966, he was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Djakarta, Indonesia, as assistant naval attache during the mid-1960s Indonesian Revolution. He then joined the Central Intelligence Agency, serving in Southeast Asia, and from 1967 until 1970 served in Laos and in Vietnam. Returning to the States, Dr. Schwarz completed a residency in Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School before starting private practice in Battle Creek, Mich. He also has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Schwarz entered politics, first as a Battle Creek city commissioner (1979 to1985), and then as Battle Creek mayor (1985 to 1986), a Michigan state senator representing the 20th District in south-central Michigan (1987 to 2002). From 1993 to 2002, he was president pro-tempore of the state Senate. He was a member of Congress from 2005 to 2007.
He now practices otolaryngology at Grace Health in Battle Creek and continues as a faculty member at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Dr. Schwarz serves on numerous boards and commissions, and is a past-chair of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.
Dr. Schwarz was appointed by the secretary of defense to serve on the panel investigating the treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, and on the Governor’s Emergency Financial Advisory Panel the same year. He was chair of the successful 2008 Constitutional Amendment initiative allowing Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research in Michigan.
Dr. Schwarz received the WSU School of Medicine Alumni Association’s 1996 Distinguished Alumni Award, presented annually to one or more alumni who have made outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes, whose contributions to the health field in the broader sense are outstanding or for service to the Wayne State University School of Medicine.