“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, (

Outside of work, Dr. Slater enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys hiking, traveling and visiting her home state of Colorado.

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

All Publications

  • Application of multidisciplinary team conference for neuromodulation candidates facilitates patient selection and optimization. Frontiers in pain research (Lausanne, Switzerland) Salmasi, V., Rasouli, M. R., Kao, M. C., Ottestad, E., Terkawi, A. S., Morris, G., Qian, X., Coleman, S., Talavera, D. C., Poupore-King, H., Slater, K., Leong, M. S. 2023; 4: 1331883


    Psychological evaluation is required by insurance companies in the United States prior to proceeding with a spinal cord stimulation or a dorsal root ganglion stimulation trial. Since January 2017, we implemented a Multidisciplinary Team Conference for Neuromodulation in our center to facilitate the collaboration between pain physicians and psychologists and to optimize screening of neuromodulation candidates. This study aims to report the impact of this team conference on improvement of neuromodulation outcome in our center.Appropriateness of neuromodulation were discussed in the team conference after initial visit with the pain specialist and psychological evaluation. For this study, we prospectively and retrospectively collected data on neuromodulation candidates who went through the team conference and those who did not as controls.We discussed 461 patients in the team conference sessions from January 2017 to July 2023. Out of these, a spinal cord stimulator or a dorsal root ganglion stimulator trial was performed in 164 patients with 80.5% (132 cases) trial success rate leading to 140 implants. Out of these implants, 26 (18.6%) explanted and 21 (15%) required revision in 41 (29.3%) patients. We performed neuraxial neuromodulation trial for 70 patients without going through the team conference from January 2016 to July 2023 with a trial success rate of 45.7% (32 cases). In this group, 7 (21.9%) and 6 (18.8%) patients underwent explant and revision. The differences between the groups were statistically significant for trial success rate (odds ratio of 4.9 with p-value of <0.01) but not for explant (odds ratio of 0.8 with p-value of 0.627) or revision (odds ratio of 0.8 with p-value of 0.595).Implementing Multidisciplinary Team Conference increased trial success rate in our center. Team conference provides therapeutic benefit for patients, and also provides the opportunity for an educational discussion for trainees.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fpain.2023.1331883

    View details for PubMedID 38249566

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10796794

  • Comparison of a Single-Session Pain Management Skills Intervention With a Single-Session Health Education Intervention and 8 Sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA network open Darnall, B. D., Roy, A., Chen, A. L., Ziadni, M. S., Keane, R. T., You, D. S., Slater, K., Poupore-King, H., Mackey, I., Kao, M. C., Cook, K. F., Lorig, K., Zhang, D., Hong, J., Tian, L., Mackey, S. C. 2021; 4 (8): e2113401


    Chronic low back pain (CLBP), the most prevalent chronic pain condition, imparts substantial disability and discomfort. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) reduces the effect of CLBP, but access is limited.To determine whether a single class in evidence-based pain management skills (empowered relief) is noninferior to 8-session CBT and superior to health education at 3 months after treatment for improving pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, pain interference, and other secondary outcomes.This 3-arm randomized clinical trial collected data from May 24, 2017, to March 3, 2020. Participants included individuals in the community with self-reported CLBP for 6 months or more and an average pain intensity of at least 4 (range, 0-10, with 10 indicating worst pain imaginable). Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat and per-protocol approaches.Participants were randomized to (1) empowered relief, (2) health education (matched to empowered relief for duration and format), or (3) 8-session CBT. Self-reported data were collected at baseline, before treatment, and at posttreatment months 1, 2, and 3.Group differences in Pain Catastrophizing Scale scores and secondary outcomes at month 3 after treatment. Pain intensity and pain interference were priority secondary outcomes.A total of 263 participants were included in the analysis (131 women [49.8%], 130 men [49.4%], and 2 other [0.8%]; mean [SD] age, 47.9 [13.8] years) and were randomized into 3 groups: empowered relief (n = 87), CBT (n = 88), and health education (n = 88). Empowered relief was noninferior to CBT for pain catastrophizing scores at 3 months (difference from CBT, 1.39 [97.5% CI, -∞ to 4.24]). Empowered relief and CBT were superior to health education for pain catastrophizing scores (empowered relief difference from health education, -5.90 [95% CI, -8.78 to -3.01; P < .001]; CBT difference from health education, -7.29 [95% CI, -10.20 to -4.38; P < .001]). Pain catastrophizing score reductions for empowered relief and CBT at 3 months after treatment were clinically meaningful (empowered relief, -9.12 [95% CI, -11.6 to -6.67; P < .001]; CBT, -10.94 [95% CI, -13.6 to -8.32; P < .001]; health education, -4.60 [95% CI, -7.18 to -2.01; P = .001]). Between-group comparisons for pain catastrophizing at months 1 to 3 were adjusted for baseline pain catastrophizing scores and used intention-to-treat analysis. Empowered relief was noninferior to CBT for pain intensity and pain interference (priority secondary outcomes), sleep disturbance, pain bothersomeness, pain behavior, depression, and anxiety. Empowered relief was inferior to CBT for physical function.Among adults with CLBP, a single-session pain management class resulted in clinically significant improvements in pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, pain interference, and other secondary outcomes that were noninferior to 8-session CBT at 3 Identifier: NCT03167086.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.13401

    View details for PubMedID 34398206