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Robert H. Dworkin, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-8214

Fax: (585) 244-7271

Faculty Appointments


Professional Background

1. Director, Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION), a public-private partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) []
2. Special Government Employee, FDA
3. Professional Advisory Board, American Chronic Pain Association
4. Associate Editor, Pain
5. Editorial Boards: Journal of Pain; Canadian Journal of Pain; Current Pain and Headache Reports


My major research interests are (1) methodologic aspects of analgesic clinical trials and (2) treatment and prevention of chronic neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. The primary focus of our current research involves the identification of factors that increase the assay sensitivity of clinical trials to detect differences between an active and a control or comparison treatment. In ongoing studies, we are examining the relationships between clinical trial results and their research designs, patient characteristics, and outcome measures. This program of research and other efforts to improve the efficiency and informativeness of analgesic clinical trials are being conducted under the auspices of the ACTTION public-private partnership with the FDA. 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 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.

Current Funding (as Principal Investigator)
1. FDA, U01 FD005936-01 (9/15/16-8/31/21): Analgesic, anesthetic, and addiction clinical trial translations, innovations, opportunities, and networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership
2. FDA, HHSF223201400191C (9/30/14-9/29/19): Analysis of FDA clinical trial data to improve assay sensitivity and informativeness of analgesic clinical trials
3. NIH/NIAMS, R01 AR059102-01A (9/1/11-7/31/18): Combined behavioral and analgesic trial for fibromyalgia (COMBAT-FM)



BA | University of Pennsylvania
Psychology, Sociology

PhD | Harvard University


Founders Award
Sponsor: American Academy of Pain Medicine

Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain
Sponsor: American Academy of Neurology

John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award
Sponsor: American Pain Society

John J. Bonica Award
Sponsor: Eastern Pain Association

Advisory Committee Service Award
Sponsor: US Food and Drug Administration

Wilbert Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award
Sponsor: American Pain Society

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Journal Articles

Williams MR, Nayshtut M, Hoefnagel A, McKeown A, Carlson DW, Cravero J, Lightdale J, Mason KP, Wilson S, Turk DC, Dworkin RH, Ward DS. "Efficacy Outcome Measures for Pediatric Procedural Sedation Clinical Trials: An ACTTION Systematic Review." Anesthesia and analgesia.. 2018 Mar 0; 126(3):956-967.

Gewandter JS, Chaudari J, Iwan KB, Kitt R, As-Sanie S, Bachmann G, Clemens Q, Lai HH, Tu F, Verne GN, Vincent K, Wesselmann U, Zhou Q, Turk DC, Dworkin RH, Smith SM. "Research Design Characteristics of Published Pharmacologic Randomized Clinical Trials for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Pelvic Pain Conditions: An ACTTION Systematic Review." The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society.. 2018 Feb 2; Epub 2018 Feb 02.

Smith SM, Dworkin RH. "Prospective clinical trial registration: not sufficient, but always necessary." Anaesthesia.. 2018 Jan 2; Epub 2018 Jan 02.