Most recent book: In Heaven As It Is on Earth

In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death (Oxford University Press, 2012) reinterprets earliest Mormonism by viewing it through the lens of founder Joseph Smith Jr.'s complex, intimate, and conflicted relationship with death and dying. When approached from this perspective, many of the unusual or striking aspects of earliest Mormonism begin to make sense, allowing outsiders and insiders a refreshing new look at a much-discussed but poorly understood religious tradition. In Heaven as It Is on Earth also provides insight to the ongoing problem of the tragedy of early mortality, an eloquent and complex response to death.


Through the Valley of Shadows now under contract

I’m pleased to report that my new trade book, Through the Valley of Shadows: Making Intensive Care Human is now under contract with Oxford University Press. The book is due to enter production in early 2015, with a likely release in 2016. This book project explores the problems with critical care and the failings of living wills to address the real risks of contemporary ICUs. In the process, I show several ways to improve the current practice of intensive care in the USA

Essay on the need to honor the individual in the hospital

I coauthored an essay with Zackary Berger on the problem with the industrial look and feel of the modern hospital and some ideas about how to make hospitals better able to protect their patients’ sense of self. The essay was published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

JWHA Best Book Award

We are pleased to announce that In Heaven won the Best Book Award for 2013 from the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA). JWHA is a well-respected, independent historical society devoted to the history of the Community of Christ and the Restoration Movement. The book award is a great honor from this esteemed group.

Surviving Sepsis Campaign implementation at Intermountain improved outcomes

In this study, our group at Intermountain led by Terry Clemmer demonstrated that careful rollout of an intensive quality improvement effort to improve the care of patients with life-threatening infection led to dramatic improvements in care and in outcomes for patients. We saw a dramatic improvement in survival in association with this effort.

Fractal Exponents paper published

The Journal of Critical Care has published our initial evaluation of fractal exponents (the scaling coefficients from detrended fluctuation analysis) of heart rate variability in early sepsis and septic shock. In this study, we found that loss of fractal complexity in the time between successive heart beats was associated with poor response to initial resuscitation among patients arriving in the ICU with life-threatening infection.

Psychometric evaluation of our Value Persona instrument now funded

Ellie Hirshberg is leading a collaboration with Jorie Butler to validate the HEALTHII value persona instrument psychometrically. The Intermountain Research and Medical Foundation has provided the initial funding for the project, which is an important early step in the progress of our Humanizing the Experience of Acute Life-THreatening Illness and Injury (HEALTHII) project.

IJMS Review

A glowing review just released in the International Journal of Mormon Studies: “Sam Brown is one of the brightest minds in Mormon Studies at the moment.”

SL Tribune op ed on the SUPPORT trial

Outcomes after severe shock paper published

Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, published our study of patient outcomes after shock severe enough to require high-dose vasopressor therapy. Although mortality is quite high in this group of patients, it was lower than has been previously thought.

Dynamic parameters in sepsis

In this study in Shock, our group suggested that certain echocardiographic parameters may be associated with a positive response to administration of intravenous saline solutions in patients with life-threatening infection, even when patients are breathing on their own. (Prior work had been restricted to patients on the mechanical respirator, not breathing on their own.)

Banner image is of Mount Mkinwartsveri (Kazbek), with the Church of St. Mary foreground left, image © Samuel Brown 2000