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


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

Awards and Honors

Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
SEATTLE MAGAZINE TOP DOCTOR - 2015 Seattle Magazine 2015
Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2013 Seattle Magazine 2013


  • 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


Presentations Title Event Location Date
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

Research Funding

Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
Ask Me where It Hurts: Pain Assessment in Youth with Arthritis and Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain $61,831 2008
Enhancing PROMIS in Pediatric Pain, Rheumatology, And Rehabilitation Research