Robert H. Dworkin, Ph.D.

Robert H. Dworkin, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 604
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-8214
Fax: (585) 244-7271

Professional Bio

Associate Editor, Pain
Editorial Board, Journal of Pain
Editorial Board, Current Pain and Headache Reports
Professional Advisory Board, American Chronic Pain Association
Herpes Zoster Working Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Special Government Employee, Food and Drug Administration
Director, Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION), a public-private partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (

Research Bio

Research Interests:
Methodologic aspects of analgesic clinical trials
Treatment and prevention of chronic pain
Neuropathic pain

My current research focuses on methodologic aspects of acute and chronic pain clinical trials, especially identifying factors that increase the assay sensitivity of a trial to detect differences between an active and a control or comparison treatment. With funding from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we are examining in large databases of acute and chronic pain trials the relationships between study methodologic features and study outcomes and placebo group responses, as well as comparing the responsiveness to treatment effects of different primary and secondary outcome measures. These studies and other efforts to improve the efficiency and informativeness of analgesic clinical trials are being conducted under the auspices of the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership with the FDA, of which I serve as director.

In addition, in collaboration with Dennis Turk at the University of Washington, we are currently conducting a randomized clinical trial of tramadol, cognitive-behavior therapy, and health education alone and in combination for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

I have also been very interested in the identification of risk factors for the development of chronic neuropathic pain. One of our major results has been that patients with greater acute pain are more likely to develop chronic pain. This suggests that attenuating acute pain might prevent chronic pain, and an additional focus of my research has involved developing approaches to test this hypothesis.


HHSF223201400191C (9/30/14-9/29/17)
Food and Drug Administration
Analysis of FDA clinical trial data to improve assay sensitivity and informativeness of analgesic clinical trials
Role: Principal Investigator

U01 FD004187-01 (9/15/11-8/31/16)
Food and Drug Administration
Analgesic clinical trial innovations, opportunities, and networks (ACTION)
Role: Principal Investigator

1R01 AR059102-01A (9/1/11-7/31/16)
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Combined behavioral and analgesic trial for fibromyalgia (COMBAT-FM)
Role: Principal Investigator

T32 NS007338 (7/1/90-6/30/20)
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Experimental therapeutics of neurological disease
Role: Preceptor

Awards & Honors (National)

Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain | American Academy of Neurology 2015
John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award | American Pain Society 2014
John J. Bonica Award | Eastern Pain Association 2011
Advisory Committee Service Award | US Food and Drug Administration 2007
Wilbert Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award | American Pain Society 2005

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 219 available »

2015 Nov 17
Dworkin JD, McKeown A, Farrar JT, Gilron I, Hunsinger M, Kerns RD, McDermott MP, Rappaport BA, Turk DC, Dworkin RH, Gewandter JS. "Deficiencies in reporting of statistical methodology in recent randomized trials of non-pharmacologic pain treatments: ACTTION systematic review." Journal of clinical epidemiology. 2015 Nov 17; Epub 2015 Nov 17.
2015 Nov 10
Dworkin RH. "Two very different types of clinical importance." Contemporary clinical trials. 2015 Nov 10; 46:11. Epub 2015 Nov 10.
2015 Oct 6
Markman JD, Gewandter JS, Frazer ME, Pittman C, Cai X, Patel KV, Jahromi BS, Dworkin RH, Burke LB, Farrar JT. "Evaluation of outcome measures for neurogenic claudication: A patient-centered approach." Neurology. 2015 Oct 6; 85(14):1250-6. Epub 2015 Sep 09.
2015 Oct
Turk DC, Dworkin RH, Trudeau JJ, Benson C, Biondi DM, Katz NP, Kim M. "Validation of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in Patients With Acute Low Back Pain." The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society. 2015 Oct; 16(10):1012-21. Epub 2015 Jul 21.
2015 Aug
Singla N, Hunsinger M, Chang PD, McDermott MP, Chowdhry AK, Desjardins PJ, Turk DC, Dworkin RH. "Assay sensitivity of pain intensity versus pain relief in acute pain clinical trials: ACTTION systematic review and meta-analysis." The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society. 2015 Aug; 16(8):683-91. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Anesthesiology (SMD) - Primary
Professor - Department of Neurology (SMD)
Professor - Department of Psychiatry (SMD)
Professor - Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics


PhD | Harvard University1977
BA | University of Pennsylvania1971