About Beth Darnall

Beth Darnall, PhD, is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and author. She is an advocate for patient-centered pain treatment and research.

COVID-19 Coping in Health Care Clinicians: Essential Resources

COVID-19 presents new challenges for everyone. However, health care clinicians are facing unique personal and professional challenges within the context of a rapidly shifting landscape. Such challenges may include: managing patient and personal health/safety risks for COVID-19 exposure adopting technology and shifting patient care to video visits managing physical distancing and de-contamination protocols for in-person clinic visits rapidly changing organizational protocols for patient care procedures diminished staff/colleague support due to quarantine and illness health/safety concern for [...]

By |2020-03-28T12:31:17-07:00March 28th, 2020|

‘First do no harm’: The Guardian Feature on Opioid Tapering

I was pleased to have my thoughts on opioid tapering featured in The Guardian feature story on “Life After Opioids” by author Celina Ribiero. I am here to help people understand how and why scientific evidence and patient-centered approaches are critical elements of compassionate and ethical pain care, and why ignoring either of these puts patients at risk for poor outcomes and even grave harms. And lastly, we must remember that being truly patient-centered means recognizing, [...]

By |2020-02-16T17:04:47-08:00February 16th, 2020|

Empowered Relief: Meeting the Needs of a Nation in Pain

Just published my latest post in Psychology Today: "Empowered Relief: Meeting the Needs of a Nation in Pain." In this article I highlight the benefits of integrated pain care, and how brief and digital behavioral medicine treatments can empower patients, expand access to whole-person acute and chronic pain care. It’s an exciting time with much national focus on pain care. In 2016, the U.S. Health and Human Services published the National Pain Strategy [1] (NPS; co-chaired [...]

By |2020-01-29T16:11:10-08:00January 29th, 2020|

Empowered Relief: Expanding Rapid Access to Low-Cost, Evidence-Based Pain Care

Greetings All, As you know, poor access to comprehensive pain care remains a major problem worldwide. To help address this problem, at Stanford University, I developed a 2-hour skills-based pain treatment class that rapidly equips people to self-manage pain and symptoms. It’s called “Empowered Relief™”. Empowered Relief™ is unique and transformative pain treatment because it: Requires only ONE in-person, 2-hour class Is skills-based and evidence-based 100 people can be treated in a single class (you are only [...]

By |2020-01-18T12:50:31-08:00July 3rd, 2019|

NPR ‘Morning Edition’ show on the brain, emotion, and pain

Today National Public Radio featured pain psychology on its "Morning Edition" show. I was pleased to be included among the guests discussing the critical role of thoughts, emotions, and other psychological factors have on our experience of pain. The role of psychology in the experience and treatment of pain in no way diminishes one’s physiological and medical diagnoses or causes for pain. Behavioral treatments offer opportunities to gain control over some of the experience of pain. [...]

By |2019-05-20T22:16:44-07:00May 20th, 2019|

Digital Health Intervention Associated with Less Need for Opioids After Surgery

Results from our newly published randomized controlled study show that patients who engaged with “My Surgical Success,” a fully automated online pain treatment program, stopped opioids sooner after breast cancer surgery than patients assigned to a control intervention. The study was published in Pain Medicine (Darnall et al, 2019). This finding is important because it suggests that a low-cost, scalable, digital treatment may help patients effectively self-manage symptoms and enhance recovery after surgery. Our study is [...]

By |2020-01-18T13:15:19-08:00May 14th, 2019|

My Op-Ed in “The Hill”: CDC Issues Clarification; Organizations and Policymakers Called on to Align with Federal Guidance

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in the New England Journal of Medicine a long-awaited statement opposing the misapplication of the 2016 opioid prescribing guideline for chronic pain. The CDC clarification is an important step in acknowledging the harms to patients caused from rigid opioid policies that failed to account for individual differences in the experience and treatment of pain and calls for the implementation of best practices in opioid prescribing and de-prescribing. [...]

By |2019-04-28T18:50:12-07:00April 28th, 2019|

Advancing Access to Pain Care in America and Beyond: Psychology in the Forefront

It has been a busy few months and now I have some great news to share with you! First, let's rewind to the 2016 publication of the National Pain Strategy. That document supported better integration of psychological and behavioral medicine strategies into all levels of pain care in America. And yet, three years later, there has been no clear implementation plan for how to do so. There remains a massive need to uptrain the psychologist and [...]

By |2019-04-02T15:18:24-07:00April 2nd, 2019|

“Reducing the Global Burden of Pain” by Beth Darnall

In May 2018, I was honored to be an invited speaker at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, Germany. This is an international conference hosted by the Global Solutions Initiative, a think tank organization that is paving the future with innovative solutions to the world's pressing problems (see video above for my media comments). The March 2019 Global Solutions Journal is hot off the press and I am pleased to have published an invited contribution in [...]

By |2019-04-02T15:18:24-07:00March 25th, 2019|

International Stakeholder Community of Pain Experts and Leaders Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering

This week we published in Pain Medicine a letter opposing community-based forced prescription opioid tapering in patients taking long-term prescription opioids. The letter expresses deep concern over a lack of patient protections and evidence to support reductive policies that center on forced opioid tapering, particularly rapidly and to extremely low doses. Indeed, across the U.S. and in other countries, certain prescription policies have moved ahead of the science. Opioid prescribing limitations are being enacted without having clear evidence for [...]

By |2019-04-02T15:18:24-07:00December 15th, 2018|