Dr. Sweet is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history and social medicine.
She has practiced medicine for more than twenty years at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, which is where she began writing. Two of her essays were published in Health Affairs: The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere—”Thy Will be Done” and “Code Pearl.” Other published work includes her book on Hildegard of Bingen: Rooted in the Earth, Rooted in the Sky: Hildegard of Bingen and Premodern Medicine (Routledge, 2006) and “Hildegard of Bingen and the Greening of Medieval Medicine” in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1999). Dr. Sweet's writing has received numerous honors, including the Shryock Medal, the Estes Award, and the Stannard Memorial Award.
Her most recent book, God's Hotel, tells the story of her work at Laguna Honda Hospital, the last almshouse in the country and a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Lower tech but human paced, Lagunda Honda gave Dr. Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of "Slow Medicine" that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place transformed the way she understood her work: alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her extraordinary patients evoked an older idea of the body as a garden to be tended.