Ming-Chih Kao, PhD, MD

Ming-Chih Kao, PhD, MD

Pain management specialist, General musculoskeletal physiatrist

Bio:   Dr. Kao is the Associate Division Chief of Operations at Stanford Pain Management.

Dr. Kao is a computational biologist and pain physician. He studied molecular biology and psychology at UC Berkeley, biostatistics PhD at Harvard University, and MD at University of Michigan. He underwent internship and residency training in internal medicine at Yale University, physical medicine and rehabilitation at Stanford University. His unique clinical experience as a primary care physician in San Francisco led him pursue pain management fellowship at Stanford University.

Dr. Kao is the author of Comprehensive Pain Medicine Database, a computable database that documents more than 600 pain diagnosis, 200 medications, and 260 procedures in the field of Pain. His mission is to offer all of his patients comprehensive interdisciplinary diagnosis and treatment, leveraging the full extent of what is known in state-of-the-art Pain Medicine.
4.5 out of 5
226 Patient Ratings
72 Patient Comments

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Division

Pain Management Center

  • 450 Broadway Street
  • Pavilion A, 1st Floor
  • Redwood City , CA 94063
  • Phone: 650-723-6238
More Clinic Information » Getting Here » Make An Appointment

Stanford Cancer Center South Bay

Pain Management Center in Santa Clara

  • 2518 Mission College Boulevard
  • Santa Clara , CA 95054
  • Phone: 650-723-6238
More Clinic Information » Getting Here » Make An Appointment

Pain Management Center in San Jose

Pain Management Center in Emeryville

Stanford Primary Care in Santa Clara

  • 2518 Mission College Boulevard, Suite 101
  • Santa Clara , CA 95054
  • Phone: 408-688-9720
More Clinic Information » Getting Here » Make An Appointment

Professional Education

  • Medical Education: University of Michigan GME Training Verifications (2007) MI
  • Board Certification: Pain Medicine, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehab (2014)
  • Board Certification: Physical Medicine and Rehab, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehab (2013)
  • Fellowship: Stanford University - Pain Management (2013) CA
  • Residency: Stanford University - PMandR (2012) CA
  • Internship: Yale - New Haven Hospital (2008) CT
  • Board Certification, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2013)
  • Fellowship, Stanford University, Pain Medicine (2013)
  • Residency, Stanford University, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (2012)
  • Internship, Yale-New Haven Hospital (2008)
  • MD, University of Michigan (2007)
  • PhD, Harvard University, Biostatistics & Computational Biology (2005)
  • BA, UC Berkeley (1999)

Honors & Awards

  • 2013 Outstanding Paper Award for Medical/Interventional Science, Spine Journal & North American Spine Society (NASS) (Oct 2013)
  • Best Musculoskeletal Research Presentation, American Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Nov 2011)
  • Best Original Research, PM&R Journal (Oct 2015)
  • Best Poster Award, SpineWeek, International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS) (Jun 2012)
  • Best Poster Finalist, Center for Disease Control, Center for Health Statistics (Aug 2012)
  • Best Spine and Pain Research Presentation, American Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Nov 2014)
  • Concurrent Poster Research Highlight, American Academic of Pain Medicine 2015 (Mar 2015)
  • Concurrent Poster Research Highlights, American Academy of Pain Medicine (Mar 2014)
  • Concurrent Poster Research Highlights, American Academy of Pain Medicine (Mar 2016)
  • First Place, Health 2.0 Developer Challenge Code-a-thon (Oct 2010)
  • Howard Hughes Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2000)
  • NIH Training Grant, National Institute of Mental Health (1999)
  • Peter Singleton Award, Stanford PM&R (Jun 2012)

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Division Chief of Operations, Stanford Pain (2015 - Present)
  • Chief Fellow, Stanford Pain (2013 - 2014)
  • Chief Resident, Stanford Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2012 - 2013)
4.7

Friendliness

4.5

Explanations

4.5

Listens

4.5

Includes you in decisions

4.6

Clear Communication

4.6

Confidence in your doctor

4.5

Recommended to others

3.9

Wait times

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Dr. Kao is one of the best doctors I have ever had. Very caring doctor. Don't know how I'd being doing if he wasn't my doctors.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Care Provider ( Physicians) who treat me conduct very professional, experience and effective treatment . I am Sincere appreciated to Care Providers ( Physicians and Physician Assistance...) , especially Dr. Ming-Chih- Jeffrey Kao MD PhD, Who treats me in very professional, great experience , strong effectively ... Therefore I did introduce Dr. kao to my family and my co-workers.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

I have tremendous respect for and confidence in Dr. Kao. My pain issue is complicated and he is clearly dedicated to helping me gain relief and re-gain my ability to function in life activities. He shows empathy and is very informative.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Dr. Kao is the best pain doctor I have ever had. He is not only extremely knowledable but very caring. He is one of the most favorite doctors, I trust him very much.

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

dr knowledgeable and open to questions

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

1. Excellent.

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

Dr Jeffrey Kao is the best doctor I have ever dealt with and I have experienced a lot of doctors. My friends, who have Kaiser or other doctors, all envy me when I talk about Dr Kao's dedication to helping me with my pain management over the almost two years. He makes me feel like a have a partner who trusts me that I will follow his advice and do what I can to help myself get better.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Dr. Kao is a GREAT doctor. I have had a lot of medical care providers over the years. He is fantastic.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Excellent and personable as usual.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Very good.

SHC Patient, Apr 2017

Dr. Kao is special. He cares & is always willing to discuss & try new techniques to address my chronic pain. he is the ONLY pain specialist I have found to address my issues with concern, creativity, & a willingness to try to address my pain. Dr. Kao needs more hours in pain clinic or we need him to come to Los Gatos. My wife & I hope you know how fabulous Dr. Kao is - I love working with him.

SHC Patient, Mar 2017

Dr. Kao developed a treatment plan and back up for options - excellent.

View All 72 Patient Comments »
4.5 out of 5
226 Patient Ratings
72 Patient Comments

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Dr. Kao is one of the best doctors I have ever had. Very caring doctor. Don't know how I'd being doing if he wasn't my doctors.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Care Provider ( Physicians) who treat me conduct very professional, experience and effective treatment . I am Sincere appreciated to Care Providers ( Physicians and Physician Assistance...) , especially Dr. Ming-Chih- Jeffrey Kao MD PhD, Who treats me in very professional, great experience , strong effectively ... Therefore I did introduce Dr. kao to my family and my co-workers.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

I have tremendous respect for and confidence in Dr. Kao. My pain issue is complicated and he is clearly dedicated to helping me gain relief and re-gain my ability to function in life activities. He shows empathy and is very informative.

SHC Patient, Jul 2017

Dr. Kao is the best pain doctor I have ever had. He is not only extremely knowledable but very caring. He is one of the most favorite doctors, I trust him very much.

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

dr knowledgeable and open to questions

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

1. Excellent.

SHC Patient, Jun 2017

Dr Jeffrey Kao is the best doctor I have ever dealt with and I have experienced a lot of doctors. My friends, who have Kaiser or other doctors, all envy me when I talk about Dr Kao's dedication to helping me with my pain management over the almost two years. He makes me feel like a have a partner who trusts me that I will follow his advice and do what I can to help myself get better.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Dr. Kao is a GREAT doctor. I have had a lot of medical care providers over the years. He is fantastic.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Excellent and personable as usual.

SHC Patient, May 2017

Very good.

SHC Patient, Apr 2017

Dr. Kao is special. He cares & is always willing to discuss & try new techniques to address my chronic pain. he is the ONLY pain specialist I have found to address my issues with concern, creativity, & a willingness to try to address my pain. Dr. Kao needs more hours in pain clinic or we need him to come to Los Gatos. My wife & I hope you know how fabulous Dr. Kao is - I love working with him.

SHC Patient, Mar 2017

Dr. Kao developed a treatment plan and back up for options - excellent.

SHC Patient, Mar 2017

Dr. Kao is the most accomplished and caring physician I have ever met. I have complete confidence and trust in Dr. Kao to help me overcome my multi-year pain and limited mobility. Thank you, Dr. Kao!

SHC Patient, Mar 2017

Dr Koa was very professional. He listened and suggested a few treatments. I feel very good that he is part of my team of doctors

SHC Patient, Mar 2017

Dr. Kao is awesome and 100% helped me in what I needed.

SHC Patient, Feb 2017

Dr. Kao was great in detailing, review of MRI, answered many of the questions that I had including medications. The highlight was understanding how this back condition may be the potential root cause of other misdiagnosed ailments.

SHC Patient, Feb 2017

Dr Kao is one the best doctors I have ever had.

SHC Patient, Feb 2017

It was a follow up appointment scheduled for 30 min and Dr Kao spent exactly 12 min with me.

SHC Patient, Feb 2017

The Dr is absolutely fantastic!

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

Usually Dr. is very attentive and spends time making sure I understand treatment regimen. He seemed very distracted at this visit and rushed. I know he is in high demand - but perhaps he should reduce his caseload a little so that his patients are not neglected.

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

I was very cold upon arriving, and he took the time to get me several warmed blankets before starting the injections, it was very thoughtful.

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

Dr Kao was very friendly and professional

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

Dr. Kao gave me phone # to send message directly to him. This was a problem in past. Before left message for him using "My Health" - never got a reply with that site. Using his personal # to leave message had reply THAT day. Huge improvement/Thanks.

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

Good.

SHC Patient, Jan 2017

We really enjoyed the way Dr. Kao took care of us during the visit.

SHC Patient, Dec 2016

Dr. Kao is very professional and knowledgeable. He listens to my concerns and tries to find solutions. He is very attentive. He is one of the best doctors I have ever seen.

SHC Patient, Dec 2016

Dr. Ming Chih J. Kao, a very professional Physician who explains my diagnose very clearly, conslutation and discuss with me the method of treatment and mediation,.. It makes me strong beleive , strong trust Dr. Kao, therefore , I already recommended Dr. Kao to my co-workes and my family...

SHC Patient, Oct 2016

Dr. Kao is the most exceptional physician I have ever had in my life. During my last appointment, he was thorough and concerned about my complex pain problem. He discussed my next options with my husband and me, and he even drew sketches to help us understand. Dr. Kao not only has amazing expertise, but he can also effectively communicate complex information to patients. It is also clear that he cares about outcomes for his patients.

SHC Patient, Oct 2016

he gave me hope again

SHC Patient, Sep 2016

Dr. Kao is amazing! He spent time with me discussing the changes in my condition and what we could do differently to address my concerns and pain. He made calls to the pharmacy to look for new solutions while I was there. He is always looking for new ways to help. I hope Stanford recognizes what a difference he has made to the Pain Clinic since his arrival.

SHC Patient, Sep 2016

Dr. Kao was excellent. He explained my upcoming procedure clearly, even drawing sketches. He is not only brilliant, but also compassionate.

SHC Patient, Jul 2016

Dr. Kao and the resident were the best that I have experienced. Patient and caring!!

SHC Patient, Jun 2016

Your business is very professional & personal!

SHC Patient, Jun 2016

Dr. Kao is the consummate professional! He is warm, genuine, supportive, knowledgeable, caring and all around awesome. I am so grateful for all his support! He has bent over backwards to support my health needs and recovery from my pain and medical issues! He has made a real positive difference in my life. I owe him and his fellows a great dept. No one else was able to help me. Dr. Kao and his fellows listened and kept working with me to find solutions that have really helped me! I was in chronic pain and felt it was hopeless. I am now feeling so much better, seldom in pain and living a much improved quality of life. Knowing Dr. Kao and his team are there to continue to help me heal is so comforting. Dr. Kao has become like family! He is truly a life saver!

SHC Patient, May 2016

4-5 different surgeon and doctors told me there is nothing can be done for me and I need to live with it with pain killer but Dr. Goodman and Dr. Kao are helping me a lot and I am about 50% better.

SHC Patient, May 2016

I was very happy with my doctor. He was very thorough in his examination. He spent a lot of time to make sure. I understood everything.

SHC Patient, Apr 2016

Dr. Kao was very friendly and answered all my questions.

SHC Patient, Apr 2016

Don't remember any of such conversations in goes the needle - out goes the patient!

SHC Patient, Apr 2016

NO response when I had sent an online message.

SHC Patient, Mar 2016

The doctor showed a lot of care during my visit and made sure I received any extra tests.

SHC Patient, Mar 2016

Excellent time & rapport with Dr. Kao.

SHC Patient, Feb 2016

Very supportive, willing to think outside the box to solve complex medical problems - that really help my healing and recovery.

SHC Patient, Feb 2016

He was truly amazing. Kind, compassionate, skilled & concerned.

SHC Patient, Jan 2016

I am sincere appreciate to Dr. Ming-Chih J. Kao, MD. Dr. Ming-Chih J. Kau, PhD, MD has a great professional knowledge and skill to treat patients very efficiently and effectively. Dr. Kau visited me, explained very clear instructions and consultation properly and respectfully my decision about doctors treatment to solve my problem. I feel very strong confident ad did introduce to others.

SHC Patient, Jan 2016

I have good experience.

SHC Patient, Dec 2015

VERY good.

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

Despite my English not being good the doctor took the time to explain to me and decide that it was the best.

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

Dr. Kao is very knowledgeable, kind, supportive and open-minded. I very much appreciate his care and concern and honesty. He's awesome!

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

Dr. Kao refused to accept any other diagnosis than the one he thought was great. In the end he missed the mark and another doctor made the right call.

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

Great doctor. Polite, professional, attentive, communicative & nothing negative to say here.

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

I was only given 20 minutes with Dr. Kao and he was not listening to my medical history or what I wanted as a less invasive approach to treating my chronic pain.

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

While my father, mother & I waited in the room to be seen, the door was open and I heard staff talking and laughing outside our door, with each other. This went on for several minutes. I walked out of the room and down the hallway, I turned to see a male with a cup of coffee in his hands, talking & laughing with two medical assistants. This went on for awhile. Then I watched the male enter my dad's room. The doctor was the one who was chit-chatting with the female staff while we were waiting for him to see my dad. The doctor was 30 min. late for our appointment because he was having a personal conversation. This is HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE!

SHC Patient, Nov 2015

Very good.

SHC Patient, Oct 2015

Just fine - but remember I had only 1 visit.

SHC Patient, Oct 2015

Front lobby receptionist was very kind and helpful in offering assistance in overcoming a very stressful mishap I experienced involving making it to my appointment (I got lost and was late and a bit over wrought... i.e., long hair, disorientation, etc.).

SHC Patient, Sep 2015

Dr. Kao and his fellow Abhishy Gowda (who is no longer there) have bent over backwards to help identify and authorize operations, procedures, therapies, MRI's etc. Mediations that have literally helped to save my life! I am so grateful. My quality of life and ability to live it has improved exponentially due to their willingness to really listen and not give up!

SHC Patient, Aug 2015

Dr. Kao made a point to say. "I am sorry that you have been in pain for so many years." No physician has ever done that before. He was very attentive and effective - I am feeling so much better now.

SHC Patient, Aug 2015

Dr. Kao was great, seriously, top marks. Just very, very busy, in a very, very busy office. Get him some help!

SHC Patient, Jul 2015

Dr. Kao explained the next stage in my care in details I could understand. He was very positive.

SHC Patient, Jul 2015

This was my second procedure with Dr. Kao & he's always thorough & explains what he's doing the whole time, even explaining the anatomy @ my request.

SHC Patient, Jun 2015

Very good.

SHC Patient, May 2015

Dr. Kao went beyond what one might expect.

SHC Patient, Feb 2015

Good.

SHC Patient, Feb 2015

He was very considerate and listened to what I had to say.

SHC Patient, Jan 2015

Seemed uninterested in my report of symptoms; preferred to read notes from previous visits. Explicitly declined my offer to describe my history with this problem.

SHC Patient, Jan 2015

Always pleasant.

SHC Patient, Dec 2014

Dr. Kao was very thorough and professional. Showed sensitivity for my pain and past medical issues.

SHC Patient, Oct 2014

I have a 15 yr. old injury. Dr. Kao is thorough. Caring, friendly and very knowledgeable.

SHC Patient, Jul 2014

Excellent.

SHC Patient, Jul 2014

I felt like he did not give me the respect I needed - about my injury.

SHC Patient, Jan 2014

Didn't answer my questions; was confused by the addition required to calculate my prescriptions; treated me as if I was an addict instead of a post-op pain patient. Very bad experience.

SHC Patient, Dec 2013

Good.