Beth Darnall, PhD

Photo by Ian Mackey

Beth Darnall, PhD, is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and respected author. She advocates for patient-centered pain care and research.

As an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University, Beth is the principal investigator for more than $13 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes (PCORI) research awards.

In 2019, she became Chief Science Officer at appliedVR, a digital health company.

One in three individuals worldwide is living with ongoing pain of some type, and pain is relevant to everyone during their lifetime. The goal of her work is to empower patients to best self-manage their pain and reduce opioid use when desired. Beth advocates against broad, forced prescription opioid tapering for people with chronic pain, and in 2018, she led the drafting and submission of a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services that is published in Pain Medicine.

As a pain management specialist, Beth trains other psychologists, physicians, and other health care clinicians on integrating evidence-based behavioral and patient-centered strategies into pain care pathways. Due to popular demand from clinicians, her two-hour, single-session pain psychology class (“Empowered Relief”) is being offered to healthcare clinicians as workshop certification trainings. She creates and investigates digital behavioral pain medicine treats for people with chronic pain and those having surgery.

Having lived through her own chronic pain experience, Beth connects individuals with chronic pain with information and empowerment skills that equip them to live their best life possible.

Beth is internationally known for her work in the pain management field:

Beth is also a national leader in developing and integrating pain psychology programs into health care systems and clinical care pathways. To learn more please visit Optimized Psychology Consulting.


  • PhD: University of Colorado at Boulder, Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Internship: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health

Honors and Awards

  • Co-Chair, Behavioral Medicine Committee, American Academy of Pain Medicine (2018)
  • Opioid Advisory Committee, American Academy of Pain Medicine (2018)
  • Plenary Research Award (Patient-Centered Opioid Tapering; Maisa Ziadni), American Academy of Pain Medicine (2018)
  • Elected Member, Association of University Anesthesiologists (2016)
  • Presidential Commendation, American Academy of Pain Medicine (2015)

To learn more about Beth, please visit her Stanford profile page or download a PDF of her CV.

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