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

As an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University, Beth is the principal investigator for $14 million in research awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes 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.


  1. Empowered Relief” is a two-hour, single-session, Stanford-developed, skills-based pain management class that is NIH-funded. She offers healthcare clinician certification trainings internationally. “Empowered Relief” is available in English and French, 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, and in two Swiss hospitals.

Other key highlights

  1. Speaker, 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  2. Her team’s work has been 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. She is author/co-author of five books, including the Psychological Treatment for Chronic Pain © 2018 American Psychological Association Press.
  5. In 2019, she became Chief Science Advisor at appliedVR, a digital health company.

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.


  • 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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