School of Medicine
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Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Emeritum
Current Research and Scholarly Interestsliterature and medicine, humanistic aspects of medicine and anesthesia care, language and medicine, communication, medical humanities, creative writing, arts and healthcare
Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine (Pediatric)
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am a Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and a clinical psychologist who evaluates and treats youth presenting with chronic pain in the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic (PPMC) at Stanford Children’s Health. My program of research aims to utilize a pain neuroscience psychology approach to gain a mechanistic understanding of cognitive and affective processes in pediatric pain, perform rigorous patient-oriented research that translates targeted assessment into mechanistically informed treatment approaches for optimal clinical care and leverage the ubiquity of digital health to enhance patient access and reach. Central to these goals are projects targeting adolescence and youth adults with chronic pain that encompass defining brain signatures of threat interpretation, evaluating the efficacy of graded exposure (NCT03699007), deriving a biosignature of improvement vs. persistence of pain and disability (NCT04285112), and evaluating the impact of virtual reality on pain rehabilitation (NCT04636177). These studies along with additional work examining the journey of pain care for youth with pain and their parents form a comprehensive research portfolio in the realm of understanding and treating chronic pain in young people. My long-term career goal is to lead a robust research program focusing on alleviating the suffering of youth and emerging adults with chronic pain.
Vanila M. Singh, MD MACM
Clinical Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
BioDr Singh is the immediate past Chief Medical Officer in the US Department of Health and Human Services and was Chairperson of the highly regarded HHS Task Force in conjunction with the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs. She led this group to the comprehensive and approachable final report submitted to Congress. She is a clinical associate professor of Anesthesiology, Pain and Peri-operative Medicine at Stanford and is a teaching mentor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Pain Management Best Practices HHS Task Force Report: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pain-mgmt-best-practices-draft-final-report-05062019.pdf
The Best Practices Pain Inter-agency report that was convened by US Department of HHS in conjunction with Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration is supported by over 160 organizations including the Human Rights Watch, dozens of patient advocacy groups, respected medical organizations including AMA, AAOS, AAPS, ASA, CMA, ASIPP, AAPM, ACOG, CSNS, and dozens of others and key stakeholders such as nursing, social workers, integrative health primary physicians pharmacists and others. There were over 10,000 public comments highlighting the challenges that forced tapering of opioids and the abandonment of chronic pain patients across the nation. The significant patient harms have been a topic of concern with the resulting number of suicides and adverse clinical outcomes pushing patients to the medically unsupervised black market.
Dr Singh has a background in molecular and cell biology, economics, pain medicine, and regional anesthesia with a forte in advanced ultrasound guided procedures for pain and anesthesia medicine. She is double board-certified in pain and anesthesiology. She has served in medical ethics, and to served on scientific editorial boards, committees for the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, California Medical Association, and the Santa Clara County Medical Association . She has an interest & remains involved in health policy with a background in economics. Dr Singh has been invited and has spoken extensively around the country about the opioid crisis and pain management as well as the growing illicit drug crisis afflicting the nation. Dr Singh's practice uniquely focuses on regional anesthesia and peri-operative, subacute, and the development of chronic pain, with an appreciation on complimentary and traditional medicine approaches that emphasizes an individualized patient-centered approach. She has interests that include public health, persistent pain following surgical procedures, and long term chronic and complex pain issues. Dr. Singh has a background and interest in education for medical students, residents, and fellows. She has identified the growing clinical administrative burden of physicians as a challenge to good patient care, and has spoken about EHR and health IT in general. She strongly believes in a compassionate, individualized patient-centered approach to medicine. She completed a masters in academic medicine as part of her professional development to further enhance leadership, educational curriculum development, interdisciplinary work and various presentations and projects with faculty from around the country.
Kristen M. Slater, PsyD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Bio“Understanding and appreciating the totality of a person’s experience in the context of a difficult pain condition is vital in helping them heal in a way that respects their body and reduces suffering” states Dr. Kristen Slater, pain psychologist. “With a compassionate interdisciplinary care team in place, I wholeheartedly believe it is possible for anyone and everyone living with pain to pursue a meaningful and valuable life.”
Dr. Kristen Slater earned her Doctorate of Psychology with an emphasis in Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology from Loma Linda University. She completed her APA-accredited internship at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson, Arizona. It was there that she developed a passion for Pain Medicine after appreciating how much of an impact pain can have in all areas of life and how powerful interdisciplinary treatment of pain can be in improving one’s quality of life. She went on to receive specialized postdoctoral training and completed an APA-accredited Fellowship in Pain Psychology at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Pain, in 2014.
Following her training, she was hired as the lead psychologist and Director of Behavioral Medicine and Psychological Services at Comprehensive Spine and Sports Center in Campbell, California for 5 years where she helped create and found their Functional Restoration Program and Pain Psychology Program. She also worked part-time as a Clinical Instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine and in private practice. She transitioned to Stanford full time in 2019 and is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Pain Medicine. The majority of her time is allocated towards implementing evidence-based clinical practices but she also enjoys being involved in advancing the field through research. She is involved in multiple NIH and PCORI funded clinical trials working to enhance treatment efficacy and accessibility. She is also a faculty member of the "Empowered Relief" team, and is a Master Trainer involved in teaching international workshops to train clinicians to deliver the single-session evidence-based pain relief skills class, (https://empoweredrelief.com).
Outside of work, Dr. Slater enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys hiking, traveling and visiting her home state of Colorado.
Katie Speirs M.D.
Clinical Instructor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
BioDr. Speirs is a practicing Anesthesiologist at Stanford Hospital. She is a member of the multi-specialty division with a focus on Head and Neck and Thoracic Anesthesia subdivisions. Passionate about education, Dr. Speirs values highly the art of teaching and excellence in clinical care within the medical community and participates in the education of all level of student from undergraduate to fellow levels. She is an advocate for green initiatives and sustainability in healthcare. Dr. Speirs strives to enhance collaboration and communication within the medical field and was involved in the introduction of personalized scrub caps to the operating rooms at Stanford. With a unique blend of medical expertise, dedication to education, environmental consciousness, and a proponent of communication, Dr. Speirs is at the forefront of shaping a holistic approach to high quality healthcare at Stanford.