Gary A. Walco, PhD

Gary A. Walco, PhD

Anesthesia, Pain Medicine

On staff since March 2009

Children's Title: Director, Pain Medicine

Academic Title: Professor, Department of Anesthesiology; Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research

"Being present to help ease the pain and suffering of infants and children is an unparalleled human experience. As a clinician, I have the very special opportunity to do that one child at a time. As a researcher and advocate, I am inspired to partner with others locally, nationally, and internationally to improve the well-being of thousands to millions of children at a time."

  • GARY A. WALCO, PhD, ABPP is a Professor of Anesthesiology (adjunct in Pediatrics and Psychiatry) at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Director of Pain Medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital. He has conducted multiple studies on pain management and assessment in children and has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts, including a text he co-edited, Pain in Children: A Practical Guide for Primary Care.

    Dr. Walco was the founder of the Special Interest Group on Pain in Infants, Children, and Adolescents for the American Pain Society and was the 2003 recipient of the Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Childrens Pain Relief. He also received the Lee Salk Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to pediatric psychology from the American Psychological Association in 2006. Dr. Walco chaired the task force responsible for the joint American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on the assessment and management of acute pain in children, is the immediate past chair of the Pain Committee for the Childrens Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance and was on the core committee for Palliative Care in the Childrens Oncology Group. He is the president elect of the special interest group on Pain in Childhood of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Dr. Walco is an associate editor for the Clinical Journal of Pain, and currently sits on the editorial board of Pain, the Journal of Pain and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. He was an invited member of the Neonatal Pain Research Initiative (NICHD, FDA), the Pediatric Analgesia Trials workshop (FDA), and two IMMPACT panels, one on pediatric pain and one on the transition from acute to chronic pain. Dr. Walco has served as a consultant to a number of pharmaceutical firms on analgesic trials for children, is currently a special government employee, serving on the United States Food and Drug Administrations Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee, and is the principal investigator of an international collaborative to conduct analgesic trials in children.

    • jennifer kinnelon, nj 08.29.11

      To say Dr Walco saved our lives is an understatement. My daughter, who has CRPS, was sent to over 25 Dr's yet her constant pain in her back and both legs continued to get worse and had her bedridden and unable to attend high school. My 6 year old and i were heartbroken and i tried everything humanly possible to fix it but to no avail. She was a healthy, happy, wonderful student and athlete but was hit with such horrific pain with CRPS (RSD) that she was unable to have any quality of life...until she met Dr walco. Not only did he treat her physical condition but helped her find the emotional strength that she needed to fight this painful disease. My daughter was at the point of not believing in Dr's and only someone as brilliant and compassionate as he could bring out such strength in a girl who had all but given up on getting better. Dr walco made sure she knew he was on her side and worked as hard as she did to get her on the road to recovery. My daughter had to go through very painful physical therapy in order to have a chance at getting better yet he was able to get her to do even more than she was asked to do. It was a long road but she is living a full life. She is in her 3rd year of college and even works part time. After seeing her bedridden for almost 2 years its hard to watch her go snowboarding and many other things that worry me but to see a young lady who had no friends around anymore.... no fun... live her life to the fullest is a dream come true and it is Dr. Walco that helped her work so hard to get better and to have a life that she appreciates every day. He is our hero and there are no Dr's i would recommend but him.....PS--- my daughter is going to school to become a physical therapist and hopes to help children just as she was helped by Dr Walco. If you need your child to have the best care there is then Dr. Waco is what you need. Jennifer Morrow

  • Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
    SEATTLE MAGAZINE TOP DOCTOR - 2015 Seattle Magazine 2015
    Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2013 Seattle Magazine 2013
    • Walco, G.A
      New federal initiatives on pain, opioids are silent on kids under 18
      Seattle Times , 2016 Apr, 6
    • Chou, R., Gordon, D.B., de Leon-Casasola, O., Rosenberg, J.M., Bickler, S., Brennan, T., Carter, T., Cassidy, C.L., Chittendon, E.H., Degenhardt, E., Griffith, S., Manworren, R., McCarberg, B., Montgomery, R., Murphy, J., Perkal, M.F., Suresh, S., Sluka, K., Strassels, S., Thirlby, R., Viscusi, E., Walco, G.A., Warner, L., Weisman, S.J., Wu, C.L
      Management of postoperative pain: A clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Regional Anesthesia, Executive Committee, and Administrative Council
      J Pain , 2016 : 17131-157
    • Schechter, N.L., Walco, G.A
      Above all, do no harm: The potential impact of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain on children (invited editorial)
      JAMA Pediatr , 2016 : 170425-426
    • Gewandter, J.S., Dworkin, R.H., Turk, D.C., Farrar, J.T., Fillingim, R.B., Gilron, I., Markman, J.D., Oaklander, A.L., Polydefkis, M.J., Raja, S.N., Robinson, J.P., Woolf, C.J., Ziegler, D., Ashburn. M.A., Burke, L.B., Cowan, P., George, S.Z., Golik, V., Graff, O.X., Iyengarm, S., Jay, G.W., Katz, J. Kehlet, H., Kitt, R.A., Kopecky, E.A., Malamut, R., McDermott, M.P., Palmer, P., Rappaport, B.A., Rauschkolb, C., Steigerwald, I., Tobias, J., Walco, G.A.
      Research design considerations for chronic pain prevention clinical trials: IMMPACT recommendations
      Pain , 2015 : 1561184-1197
    • Weiss, J.E, Haines, K. Chalom, E.C., Li, S., Walco, G.A., Nyirenda, T.L., Edelheit, B., Kimura, Y
      A randomized study of local anesthesia for intra-articular corticosteroid injection in children with arthritis
      Pediatr Rheumatol Online J , 2015 : 1336
    • Walco, G.A
      Managing chronic non-cancer pain in children and adolescents
      In Washington State Agency Medical Directors’ Group: Interagency Guideline on Prescribing Opioids for Pain. Olympia Washington, State of Washington , 2015 : 45-47
    • Law, E.F., Lewandowski, A.S., Walco, G.A
      Headache in adolescence
      In ODonohue, W.T. , Benuto, L., Tolle, L.W. (Eds.): Handbook of Adolescent Health Psychology. Springer, New York, NY , 2013 : 689-703
    • Walco, G.A., Kelley, M.C
      The ethics of pain control in infants and children
      In McGrath, P.J., Stevens, B.J., Walker, S., Zempsky, W.T. (eds.): Oxford Textbook of Paediatric Pain. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK , 2013 : 661-668
    • Walco, G.A
      Section editor on Pain in Children
      In Schmidt, R.F., Gebhart, G.F. (Eds.): Encyclopedia of Pain, 2nd edition. Springer Publishing: Heidelberg, Germany , 2013
    • Walco, G.A., Palermo, T.M
      Pain in Children
      In Schmidt, R.F., Gebhart, G.F. (Eds.): Encyclopedia of Pain, 2nd edition. Springer Publishing: Heidelberg, Germany , 2013 : 2612-2614
    • Kelley, M.C., Walco, G.A
      Ethics of Pain Control in Infants and Children
      In Schmidt, R.F., Gebhart, G.F. (Eds.): Encyclopedia of Pain, 2nd edition. Springer Publishing: Heidelberg, Germany , 2013 : 1192-1195
    • Dworkin RH, O'Connor AB, Audette J, Baron R, Gourlay GK, Haanpää ML, Kent JL, Krane EJ, Lebel AA, Levy RM, Mackey SC, Mayer J, Miaskowski C, Raja SN, Rice AS, Schmader KE, Stacey B, Stanos S, Treede RD, Turk DC, Walco GA, Wells CD
      Recommendations for the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain: an overview and literature update.
      20194146 Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic , 2010 Mar. : S3-14
    • Walco GA, Dworkin RH, Krane EJ, LeBel AA, Treede RD
      Neuropathic pain in children: Special considerations.
      20194147 Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic , 2010 Mar. : S33-41
    • Walco GA
      Needle pain in children: contextual factors.
      18978005 Pediatrics , 2008 Nov. : S125-9
    • McGrath PJ, Walco GA, Turk DC, Dworkin RH, Brown MT, Davidson K, Eccleston C, Finley GA, Goldschneider K, Haverkos L, Hertz SH, Ljungman G, Palermo T, Rappaport BA, Rhodes T, Schechter N, Scott J, Sethna N, Svensson OK, Stinson J, von Baeyer CL, Walker L, Weisman S, White RE, Zajicek A, Zeltzer L
      Core outcome domains and measures for pediatric acute and chronic/recurrent pain clinical trials: PedIMMPACT recommendations.
      18562251 The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society , 2008 Sept. : 771-83
    • Walco GA
      Religion, spirituality, and the practice of pediatric oncology.
      17984689 Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology : official journal of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology , 2007 Nov. : 733-5
    • Kimura Y, Walco GA
      Treatment of chronic pain in pediatric rheumatic disease.
      17396106 Nature clinical practice. Rheumatology , 2007 Apr, : 210-8
    • Kimura Y, Walco GA
      Pain in children with rheumatic diseases.
      17092447 Current rheumatology reports , 2006 Dec. : 480-8
    • Anand KJ, Aranda JV, Berde CB, Buckman S, Capparelli EV, Carlo W, Hummel P, Johnston CC, Lantos J, Tutag-Lehr V, Lynn AM, Maxwell LG, Oberlander TF, Raju TN, Soriano SG, Taddio A, Walco GA
      Summary proceedings from the neonatal pain-control group.
      16777824 Pediatrics , 2006 Mar. : S9-S22
    • Kimura Y, Walco GA, Sugarman E, Conte PM, Schanberg LE
      Treatment of pain in juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a survey of pediatric rheumatologists.
      16463417 Arthritis and rheumatism , 2006 Feb. 15 : 81-5
    • Walco GA, Conte PM, Labay LE, Engel R, Zeltzer LK
      Procedural distress in children with cancer: self-report, behavioral observations, and physiological parameters.
      16215333 The Clinical journal of pain , 2005 Nov. : 484-90
    • Anand KJ, Aranda JV, Berde CB, Buckman S, Capparelli EV, Carlo WA, Hummel P, Lantos J, Johnston CC, Lehr VT, Lynn AM, Maxwell LG, Oberlander TF, Raju TN, Soriano SG, Taddio A, Walco GA
      Analgesia and anesthesia for neonates: study design and ethical issues.
      16117988 Clinical therapeutics , 2005 June : 814-43
    • Anand KJ, Johnston CC, Oberlander TF, Taddio A, Lehr VT, Walco GA
      Analgesia and local anesthesia during invasive procedures in the neonate.
      16117989 Clinical therapeutics , 2005 June : 844-76
    • Walco GA
      Commentary: psychologists in pediatric oncology: kudos, criticism, and courses for the future.
      15610991 Journal of pediatric psychology , 2005 Jan. : 115-8
    • Labay LE, Walco GA
      Brief report: empathy and psychological adjustment in siblings of children with cancer.
      15148353 Journal of pediatric psychology , 2004 June : 309-14
    • Walco GA
      Toward an integrated model of pain over the life course.
      15030938 Pain , 2004 Apr, : 207-8
    • Kupst MJ, Patenaude AF, Walco GA, Sterling C
      Clinical trials in pediatric cancer: parental perspectives on informed consent.
      14528101 Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology : official journal of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology , 2003 Oct. : 787-90
    • Conte PM, Walco GA, Kimura Y
      Temperament and stress response in children with juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome.
      14558099 Arthritis and rheumatism , 2003 Oct. : 2923-30
    • Sterling CM, Walco GA
      Protection of children's rights to self-determination in research.
      14680002 Ethics & behavior , 2003 : 237-47
    • Berde, C. B., Walco, G., Krane, E., Anand, K., Aranda, J., Craig, K. D., Dampier, C., Finkel, J., Grabois, M., Johnston, C., Lantos, J., Lebel, A., Maxwell, L., McGrath, P., Oberlander, T., Schanberg, L., Stevens, B., Taddio, A., von Baeyer, C., Yaster, M., Zempsky, W.
      Pediatric analgesic clinical trials: Designs, measures, and extrapolation from adult studies
    • Selvaggi, T. A., Walco, J. P., Parikh, S. R., Walco, G.
      Hypersensitivity testing for Aspergillus fumigatus immunoglobulin E (IgE) is significantly more sensitive than testing for Aspergillus niger IgE
      Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
    • Stinson, J., Connelly, M., Jibb, L., Schanberg, L., Walco, G., Spiegel, L., Tse, S., Chalom, E., Chira, P., Rapoff, M.
      Ask Me Where it Hurts?: Developing a standardized approach to the assessment of pain in children and youth presenting to pediatric rheumatology providers
      Arthritis Care and Research
    • Gary A. Walco, PhD, Law, E., Palermo, T., Walco, G.
      The making of a pediatric pain psychologist: Education, training and career trajectories
      Pain Medicine
    • Walco, G., Wilder, R. T., Walco, J. P.
      Adolescent decision-making at the end of life: Legal, ethical, and clinical concerns
      Chambers, C.T., Finley, G.A., McGrath, P.J. (Ed.), Pediatric Pain: A Clinical Casebook
    • Walco, G., Siegel, L. J., Dolgin, M. J., Varni, J. W.
      Pediatric pain
      Van Hasselt, V B, Kolko, D J (Ed.), Inpatient Behavior Therapy for Children and Adolescents : 183-203
    • Varni, J. W., Walco, G., Wilcox, K. T.
      Cognitive-biobehavioral assessment and treatment of pediatric pain
      Gross, A.M., Drabman, R.S. (Ed.), Handbook of Clinical Behavioral Pediatrics : 83-109
    • Walco, G.A
      Children, pain, and care
      Invited thought piece for the Mayday Fund,

  • Presentations Title Event Location Date
    Procedural pain and distress in children: What you do not know may harm them! Invited address at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry and Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry Napa, CA April 2016
    The primary pediatricians role in the assessment and treatment of chronic and recurrent pain Invited Gillian Abbotts Memorial Lecture, Primary Childrens Hospital Salt Lake City, UT March 2016
    How does an aardvark develop a pain medicine service at a major university hospital? Invited plenary address at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Taiwan Pain Society Taiwan March 2016
    Cognitive-behavioral approaches to chronic pain: History, rationale, and evidence Invited address at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Taiwan Pain Society Taiwan March 2016
    Preventing and treating procedural pain and distress in the primary pediatric setting Invited lecture, Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Veterans General Hospital Taipei, Taiwan March 2016
    The assessment and treatment of chronic and recurrent pain in children and adolescents Invited lecture, Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital Taipei, Taiwan March 2016
    The assessment and treatment of chronic and recurrent pain Invited lecture, Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital Taipei, Taiwan March 2016
    Much ado about CPGS: Is it all worth it? Weathering the pain of clinical practice guideline (CPG) development, dissemination and implementation: A practical workshop Workshop presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Canadian Pain Society Quebec City, Quebec, Canada May 2014
    ChildKind: Piloting an international organizational certification process for improving pain in children Poster presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Canadian Pain Society Quebec City, Quebec, Canada May 2014
    Acute and chronic pain in the pediatric population Invited lecture at the 10th Annual Comprehensive Pain Board Review Symposium, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI Aug. 2013


Board Certification(s)


Medical/Professional School

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Clinical Psychology
Ohio State University, Columbus, Clinical Psychology

Clinical Interests

Assessment and management of pain in children; transitions from acute to chronic pain; holistic models of pain in children