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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion


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Rollin M. Gallagher, MD, MPH


R Gallagher

CHERP VA Emeritus Investigator
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania
Director for Pain Policy Research and Primary Care, Penn Pain Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests:

Dr. Gallagher served as a co-investigator on a VA HSR&D study titled, Care Management for the Effective Use of Opioids (IIR10-128, Bair), which is a 2-arm randomized clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of pharmacological vs. behavioral approaches for chronic lower back pain and on a project to develop reporting metrics for the VHA’s Opioid Safety Initiative and in the development and use of STORM for establishing tiered levels of opioid prescribing risk for the large population of Veterans with chronic pain (VA QUERI 10-106 Trafton PI), and is presently co-investigator on a VA-HSR&D study, Staying Positive: An Intervention to Reduce Osteoarthritis Pain Disparities (NCT02223858, Hausmann PI) and on a DoD CDMRP study, Comparative Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Pain and Comorbid Conditions in Veterans  (PR140995 Mao PI).  He was PI on Regional Anesthesia And Military Battlefield Pain Outcome Study (RAMBPOS - VA RRD D45064-1) which examined the short and long-term impact of implementing early regional anesthesia techniques for pain control after a major traumatic injury to one or more extremities during combat in the Iraqi/Afghanistan war. 

His career-long dedication to practicing, teaching and conducting research at the interface between medicine, behavioral medicine, and psychiatry, as manifest in the clinical and public health problem of chronic pain, has led to leadership posts such as founding Editor-in-Chief of Pain Medicine (2000-present) and President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (2009-10). 

He works to find and test trainable techniques that can facilitate a more patient-centric approach to the management of pain, including with vulnerable populations. As principal author of the Veterans Health Systems Directive on Pain Management (VHA Directive 2009-053), National Director (2013-16) and Deputy Director (2009-12) of Pain Management for the Veterans Health Administration, Task Force Member and co-author/co-editor of the Army Pain Task Force Report (2011), and Co-Chair of the VA-DoD Health Executive Council’s Pain Management Workgroup (2011-16), Dr. Gallagher participates in policy development and implementation that directs our health systems to adopt a single, population-based model of pain management, the Stepped Care Model, in all VA and military treatment facilities.  In this role he has developed and promoted training for such care in our national health system as Co-Chair of the Professional Education and Training Sub-Committee of the NIH-HHS National Pain Strategy and as VA Project Director for two VA-DoD JIF education grants (P13149 Gallagher): the Joint Pain Education Project (JPEP), which has developed a complete pain curriculum with 31 evidence-based training modules for primary care clinicians; and the Tiered Acupuncture Training Across Clinical Settings (ATACS), which has trained over 2700 clinicians in a form of auricular acupuncture and over 100 physicians in medical acupuncture to ensure access to acupuncture across our health systems.

Current VA-Funded Research:

Staying Positive: an intervention to reduce osteoarthritis pain disparities, Investigator