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Get to Know Dr. Sean Mackey

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Sean Mackey

I am the Redlich Professor and Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University. I have been recognized internationally for my expertise and contributions in pain management, combining my roles as a researcher, educator, and clinician. My academic journey began with degrees in bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, eventually leading to an MD and PhD from the University of Arizona. I completed my Anesthesiology residency and Pain Medicine fellowship at Stanford University and joined the faculty.

I direct the Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab. My work, supported by various grants and philanthropy, focuses on understanding pain mechanisms and developing effective treatments. I have published widely in top journals and have been fortunate to impact clinical pain research broadly. 

Under my leadership, the Stanford Pain Management Center is recognized nationally for its comprehensive and outcome-based approach. The center's team, comprising diverse specialists, strives to provide holistic pain treatment.

I guide the next generation of pain medicine experts through my directorship of our NIH funded T32 postdoctoral training program. My mentorship has helped numerous individuals build successful research and clinical practice careers.

With a history of leading the American Academy of Pain Medicine and contributing to national pain management strategies, my leadership extends beyond Stanford. My contributions have earned multiple national awards and recognitions.

Other Key Highlights:

  • Co-led the development of the US National Pain Strategy a comprehensive plan developed to improve the understanding and management of pain in America.
  • Published over 300+ publications and book chapters on wide range of pain mechanisms, treatment, education and policy. ‪
  • Work featured in TIME, CBS, Nature, NPR, Fox, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Wired, Forbes, Dr. Oz, Discovery Channel, Discover, Huberman Lab podcast, and many more.
  • Creator of the Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR) – an open-source digital health platform. CHOIR collects high-quality patient data that optimizes clinical decision making and advances innovative real-world research. CHOIR has been adopted in multiple academic centers in the US, Canada and Israel.
  • I have advocated for comprehensive pain care for all. Testified to U.S. Congress and FDA on theneed for patient-centered pain care. Senior Advisor to the Medical Board of California to rewrite and revise the California Guidelines for Prescribing Controlled Substances for Pain to use available evidence and put the decision making for opioid prescribing back in the hands of the clinician and their patient.  

View my full Stanford profile