Beth Darnall

Beth Darnall, PhD, is a pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and author.

Beth Darnall is an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

As director of the Stanford Pain Relief Innovations Lab she leads major research studies that are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Institute (PCORI).

She is a scientific member of the NIH Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) and in 2020 was appointed to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Opioid Workgroup.

Having lived through her own chronic pain experience, she and her colleagues create and investigate treatments that work alongside medical pain treatments and empower individuals to have best control over their pain and symptoms.

Her innovations include ultra-brief, digital, scalable, low-cost pain treatments that are widely accessible to patients.

Examples of Innovations

  1. Empowered Relief” is a two-hour, single-session, Stanford-developed, skills-based pain management class that is NIH-funded and being studied internationally. Healthcare clinicians of any discipline may become certified to deliver “Empowered Relief.” “Empowered Relief” is available in English, French and Spanish, and is in healthcare systems in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Denmark.
  2. “My Surgical Success” is a fully automated digital perioperative pain treatment that requires no therapist contact. “My Surgical Success” is accessible to patients at home before and after surgery. Research has shown early promise for it reducing need for opioids after breast cancer surgery. It is being studied in multiple surgical populations at Stanford Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, in two Swiss hospitals, and in Australia.

Other key highlights

  1. Speaker, 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  2. Featured in ABC News, Scientific American, NPR Radio, BBC Radio, and TIME Magazine, and Nature.
  3. She has twice testified to the U.S. Congress and once to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the need for comprehensive patient-centered pain care and patient protections in accessing needed pain treatments and medications.
  4. Author/co-author of five books, including Psychological Treatment for Chronic Pain © 2018 American Psychological Association Press.
  5. Chief Science Advisor at AppliedVR, a digital therapeutics company.