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Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D.

Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D.

Redlich Professor, Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine and, by courtesy, of Neurology
Fellowship: Stanford University Pain Management Fellowship (1999) CA
Residency: Stanford University Anesthesiology Residency (1998) CA
Medical Education: University of Arizona College of Medicine Office of the Registrar (1994) AZ
Internship: Tucson Medical Center Medical Education Program (1995) AZ
Board Certification: American Board of Anesthesiology, Pain Management (2000)
Board Certification: American Board of Anesthesiology, Anesthesia (1999)
M.D., University of Arizona, Medicine (1994)
Ph.D., University of Arizona, Electrical Engineering (1994)
M.S.E, University of Pennsylvania, Bioengineering (1986)
B.S.E., University of Pennsylvania, Bioengineering (1986)
I am Redlich Professor and Chief of the Division of Stanford Pain Medicine. I am a physician-scientist trained and experienced in neuroimaging, psychophysics, public health, health policy, patient outcomes and medical education. I am guided by our group’s mission “To Predict, Prevent and Alleviate Pain” which encompasses my three goals: (1) define the factors that cause pain to become chronic after injury or surgery, (2) discover and implement novel methods to prevent the persistence or chronification of pain, and (3) discover and test novel therapies to alleviate chronic pain. This vision statement informs the multidisciplinary group I have assembled and the tools my team and I use: advanced neuroimaging, psychophysical and neurobehavioral assessment, genomics, patient- and clinician-reported outcomes, and assessment of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

I have served as principle investigator on multiple NIH awards (PO1, multiple R01’s, U01, K24, T32). Additionally, I hold two endowments that provide the flexible research funds to pursue innovative projects and support our junior investigators. I am the author of over 200 journal articles and book chapters in addition to numerous national and international lectures. Broadly, some of my current research falls into two categories: (1) Characterizing CNS mechanisms of the human pain experience and its modulation and using this to develop biomarkers and (2) development and use of an open-source learning healthcare system (CHOIR; to transform the care of people with pain, and serve as a platform for innovative research in real-world clinic patients. Additionally, we are investigating novel therapies for pain including: transcranial magnetic stimulation, virtual reality, psychological and pharmacological therapies.

Clinical: Under my leadership, the Stanford Pain Management Center has been twice designated a Center of Excellence by the American Pain Society for the Center’s innovative approach in comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and outcomes-based care. We have one of the largest academic pain centers in the country, Stanford Pain Management Center ( with multiple physicians from different disciplines, psychologists, physical therapists, nursing, nutritionists and other professionals all working together to understand and treat the person in pain.

Mentorship: I am the Program Director for our NIH T32 postdoctoral training program “Interdisciplinary Training in Pain and/or Substance Use Disorders”. Furthermore, I have an NIH K24 which funds time to mentor and develop junior investigators. I have a long track record in mentoring of researchers and clinicians to develop their own successful careers.

Leadership: I am Past-President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). I co-authored the Institutes of Medicine’s report on Relieving Pain in America and was Co-Chair of the Oversight Committee for the HHS/NIH National Pain Strategy (NPS), an effort to establish a national health strategy for pain care, education and research. I have received multiple awards for leadership, teaching, research and clinical care.