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

Beth is Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and she directs the Stanford Pain Relief Innovations Lab. She is the principal investigator for $25 million in research awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Having lived through her own chronic pain experience, she creates and investigates treatments that work alongside medical pain treatments and empowers 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.


Empowered Relief” is a 1-session intervention that rapidly equips individuals with pain relief skills for chronic pain, acute pain, and for surgical recovery. She offers healthcare clinician certification trainings internationally. “Empowered Relief” is available in 16 countries and 7 languages. The proven Empowered Relief formula has been tailored to meet the specific needs of various populations (e.g., surgery, acute injury, general chronic pain, prescription opioid challenges).

Other key highlights

  1. She has three times testified to the U.S. Congress and once to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the need for whole-person patient-centered pain care and patient protections in accessing needed pain treatments and medications.
  2. She served as an adviser to the CDC on the revising of the 2016 opioid prescribing guideline (2020-2021).
  3. She is a current member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
  4. She is a current scientific member of the NIH Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee.
  5. Speaker, 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  6. Her team’s work has been featured in ABC News, Scientific American, NPR Radio, BBC Radio, TIME Magazine, Nature, and the New York Times.
  7. She is author/co-author of five books, including Psychological Treatment for Chronic Pain © 2018 American Psychological Association Press.
  8. She is Chief Science Advisor at AppliedVR, a digital therapeutics company that integrates her approach into an immersive, home-based pain treatment device that has been shown to impart lasting effects 6 months after use.

Beth advocates against broad, forced prescription opioid tapering for people with chronic pain, and in 2018, she led a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services that published in Pain Medicine.  In 2022 she and co-author Dr. Howard Fields published an open access perspective in PAIN® that provided evidence against forced opioid tapering.


  • 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

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

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