Robert Dworkin, Ph.D. received the 2015 Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain from the American Academy of Neurology for his outstanding contributions to research in the field. Dworkin, a Ph.D. psychologist by training and a professor of Anesthesiology, Neurology, and Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry is the first non-neurologist to receive the award.
Dworkin’s most notable achievements include his efforts to improve the methods used to evaluate and approve new, safe, and effective treatments for the more than 100 million Americans who report having chronic pain. Despite substantial attention in the pharmaceutical industry to developing novel pain therapies, very few truly new therapies have been approved by the FDA in the past 10 years. Dworkin directs the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership with the FDA to address this glaring lack of new therapies and accelerate the development of more effective and safer pain treatments.
Over the course of his career, Dworkin has also conducted clinical trials of treatments for various types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain conditions, low back pain, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and various pharmaceutical companies he’s examined risk factors for the development of chronic pain. One of the major results of this research has been that patients with greater acute pain are more likely to develop chronic pain, which suggests that stopping acute pain might prevent chronic pain.
He has spearheaded the development of treatment guidelines for neuropathic pain conditions like diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury pain, and shingles; efforts that were sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Pain. These guidelines have provided evidence-based recommendations for clinicians treating these challenging chronic pain conditions.
Dworkin is an associate editor of the journal Pain, a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Pain and Current Pain and Headache Reports, and has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as edited books, commentaries and other publications.
He will receive the award on April 21 at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.