Updated: April 22, 2008

rollin-m-gallagher(ROLLIN M. GALLAGHER)Rollin M. Gallagher, MD, is a clinical professor of psychiatry and of anesthesiology and critical care, as well as director for pain policy research and primary care, at the Penn Pain Medicine Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is also director of pain management at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Gallagher is a pioneer in the field of pain medicine, which first piqued his interest when he was a family doctor delivering babies in the Colorado mountains, and a nurse from Paris introduced him to the Lamaze breathing techniques. He saw women able to deliver babies without medication and with more control over their labor outcomes, and it planted a seed. Later, while developing a model clinical program for biopsychosocial medicine at the University of Vermont, Dr. Gallagher saw that no one knew how to treat chronic pain; he studied why some patients do not recover from it. There he began to appreciate the complex nature of chronic pain: that it has phenomenological, biopsychosocial, and neurological components that make it a formidable public health challenge.

Dr. Gallagher has dedicated his career to improving the teaching of pain medicine to all doctors, developing residency programs in pain medicine that will produce well-trained teachers and investigators to create reliable pain practice at all levels of health care. He believes the future of pain medicine will rely upon primary care physicians, using evidence-based information, to bring pain management to the community and family level.

Dr. Gallagher received his BA from Harvard University, his MD from Boston University, and his MPH from Columbia University, where he completed a NIH National Institutes of Health postdoctoral epidemiology fellowship. After family practice in Colorado and psychiatry training at Dartmouth College, he held joint professorships in psychiatry and family practice and founded and directed clinical pain teaching programs at the University of Vermont and at State University of New York Stony Brook. After directing the pain medicine program at the Drexel University College of Medicine, he moved to his current position.

Dr. Gallagher has served as editor-in-chief for the official journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) since 1998 and was founding editor (2000–2007) of the National Pain Foundation's public education website, where he served as a founding board member until 2007. He has been president of the American Board of Pain Medicine and is president-elect of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. In the Veterans Health Administration, he serves on the National Pain Management Strategy Coordinating Committee and on the Review Committee for the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Merit Award Program for the VA Office of Research and Development.

Dr. Gallagher's research and writing has covered topics ranging from opioid use in primary care and workers' disability to depression and chronic pain, as well as early interventions to prevent the development of chronic pain. He lectures nationally and internationally and has received the American Academy of Pain Medicine's Founders and Distinguished Service awards.