Gary A Walco, PHD

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Gary A Walco, PHD


"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."
  • Biography

    GARY A. WALCO, PhD, ABPP is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine (adjunct in Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Behavoral Science) 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 treatment 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, was elected president of the society in 2018, and was the 2003 recipient of the Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Childrens Pain Relief and the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. 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 a 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 a past president of the special interest group on Pain in Childhood of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Dr. Walco was an associate editor for the Clinical Journal of Pain, and has also sat or currently sits on the editorial boards of Pain, the Journal of Pain, Frontiers in Pain Meidicne, the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, and the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He was an invited member of the Neonatal Pain Research Initiative (NICHD, FDA), the Pediatric Analgesia Trials workshop (FDA), and IMMPACT panels on pediatric pain, the transition from acute to chronic pain, functional outcomes, and individualized medicine for pain. Dr. Walco has served as a consultant to a number of pharmaceutical firms on analgesic trials for children, was a special government employee, serving on the United States Food and Drug Administrations Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee, and is the founder and chair of the Pediatric Research Network for Pain (PRN-Pain).

    Board Certification(s)



    Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

    Clinical Interests

    Assessment, prevention, and treatment of pain in children; transitions from acute to chronic pain; holistic models of pain in children

    Research Description

    Research interests focus on clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medications to treat pain in children. These endeavors require the collaboration of academic clinicians, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and pharmaceutical sponsors. Ethical and pragmatic considerations call for novel research paradigms that maintain the validity and clinical applicability that are necessary to adequately evaluate a medication. I contnue to work for the establishment of a national registry focused on recurrent and chronic pain in children.

  • Patient Testimonials

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  • Awards and Honors

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  • Publications

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  • Clinical Trials and Research Studies

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