Beth Darnall

Beth Darnall

Pain management specialist, Pain psychologist

Bio:   Beth Darnall, PhD, is Clinical Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. She is a pain psychologist and scientist. Broadly, her research investigates how to best treat and prevent chronic pain. She is a principal investigator for $14M in federal and independent research awards.

She is principal investigator for an $8.8 million award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to conduct a pragmatic, multisite clinical trial that will investigate how to best help physicians and patients successfully reduce long term opioid use in chronic pain using patient-centered methods. This research focuses on reducing patient risks while also testing evidence based behavioral treatments to optimize opioid and pain reduction (cognitive behavioral therapy and chronic pain self-management).

She is co-principal investigator for an NIH R01 project that is studying the mechanisms of pain catastrophizing treatment, including a novel single-session compressed pain psychology class she developed. She developed an Internet-based pre-surgical pain psychology treatment that aims to reduce distress and optimize post-surgical recovery, including pain and opioid cessation (tested in women undergoing surgery for breast cancer at Stanford). The goal of this research is to dismantle barriers to effective psychological treatment for pain.

Her main passion is empowering people with chronic pain to optimize their mind-body connection to reduce their own symptoms, and improve overall health and function. She is author of "Less Pain, Fewer Pills: Avoid the Dangers of Prescription Opioids and Gain Control Over Chronic Pain" © 2014, "The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit" © 2016, and the forthcoming book due in 2018 from the American Psychological Association Press entitled “Psychological Treatment for Chronic Pain: The Evidence-Based Basics”. Since 2016, she has been featured and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American Mind, BBC World Service Radio, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine.
Twitter: @bethdarnall

Pain Management Center

  • 450 Broadway Street
  • Pavilion A, 1st Floor
  • Redwood City , CA 94063
  • Phone: 650-723-6238
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Professional Education

  • Internship: Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System (2002) AZ
  • Fellowship: The Johns Hopkins University (2004) MD
  • Post-Doc, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Rehabilitation Psychology (2004)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (2002) CO
  • MA, University of Colorado at Boulder, Clinical Psychology (1998)
  • PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder, Clinical Psychology (2002)

Honors & Awards

  • 2015 Presidential Commendation, American Academy of Pain Medicine (2015)
  • Elected Member, Association of University Anesthesiologists (2016)

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