Dr. Prasad first started working with patients with pain during his training in the 1990s and joined the Stanford faculty in 2004. In addition to performing patient evaluations and treatment, he develops and teaches curriculum about the psychological aspects of managing chronic pain to patients, residents, and postdoctoral pain fellows.

Dr. Prasad also holds a number of administrative roles. As Associate Chief of Pain Psychology, he oversees all aspects of clinical pain psychology services in the Division of Pain Medicine. He developed a Postdoctoral Pain Fellowship for psychologists and serves as its Training Director. He is also the director of one of the only academic inpatient pain programs in the western United States: the Stanford Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Pain Program. This intensive 5-10 day hospital based program provides medication optimization, physical reconditioning, behavioral modification training, and mood stabilization for patients with complex, debilitating chronic pain conditions.

Clinical Focus

  • Psychology
  • Pain
  • Pain Psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pain

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Administrative Appointments

  • Director of Psychology Training, Division of Pain Medicine, Stanford University (2011 - 2017)
  • Director, Stanford Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Pain Program (2006 - Present)
  • Associate Chief, Division of Pain Medicine, Stanford University (2008 - 2018)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:Kaiser Permanente Pain Management Training (2004) CA
  • PhD Training:Texas Tech University (2003) TX
  • Internship:Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center (2002) UT


2018-19 Courses

Stanford Advisees


All Publications

  • Core competencies for the emerging specialty of pain psychology. The American psychologist Wandner, L. D., Prasad, R., Ramezani, A., Malcore, S. A., Kerns, R. D. 2018


    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has reported that approximately 100 million Americans experience chronic pain. The IOM report on pain and the subsequent National Pain Strategy (NPS) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have both noted the educational gaps regarding pain management and highlighted the pivotal role that psychology plays in the field of pain management. Fishman and colleagues (2013) emphasized the need for all providers involved in the study and practice of pain management to acquire a common fund of knowledge and proposed a comprehensive set of core competencies that would apply across multiple professions and specialty areas (e.g., anesthesiology, nursing, and psychology). These core competencies are meant to be tailored to allow each pain-related subspecialty to incorporate the factors and competencies unique to their discipline. To date, the terms pain psychology and pain psychologist are routinely used in public discourse to refer to psychologists practicing integrated, multimodal, and multidisciplinary pain care, but the field of psychology has not yet defined this emerging specialty. It is important for the discipline itself to define these terms and for psychologists to specify the competencies that would be expected of a clinician working as a pain psychologist. The current article represents an initial effort to define the core competencies necessary to fulfill the role of a pain psychologist working in the field of pain management. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/amp0000330

    View details for PubMedID 30070541

  • Mood and Physiological Arousal in Chronic Pain Patients Jackson, V., Poupore-King, H., Prasad, R. SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS. 2017: 148
  • Core competencies for pain management: results of an interprofessional consensus summit. Pain medicine Fishman, S. M., Young, H. M., Lucas Arwood, E., Chou, R., Herr, K., Murinson, B. B., Watt-Watson, J., Carr, D. B., Gordon, D. B., Stevens, B. J., Bakerjian, D., Ballantyne, J. C., Courtenay, M., Djukic, M., Koebner, I. J., Mongoven, J. M., Paice, J. A., Prasad, R., Singh, N., Sluka, K. A., St Marie, B., Strassels, S. A. 2013; 14 (7): 971-981


    The objective of this project was to develop core competencies in pain assessment and management for prelicensure health professional education. Such core pain competencies common to all prelicensure health professionals have not been previously reported.An interprofessional executive committee led a consensus-building process to develop the core competencies. An in-depth literature review was conducted followed by engagement of an interprofessional Competency Advisory Committee to critique competencies through an iterative process. A 2-day summit was held so that consensus could be reached.The consensus-derived competencies were categorized within four domains: multidimensional nature of pain, pain assessment and measurement, management of pain, and context of pain management. These domains address the fundamental concepts and complexity of pain; how pain is observed and assessed; collaborative approaches to treatment options; and application of competencies across the life span in the context of various settings, populations, and care team models. A set of values and guiding principles are embedded within each domain.These competencies can serve as a foundation for developing, defining, and revising curricula and as a resource for the creation of learning activities across health professions designed to advance care that effectively responds to pain.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/pme.12107

    View details for PubMedID 23577878

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3752937

  • Reduced Cold Pain Tolerance in Chronic Pain Patients Following Opioid Detoxification PAIN MEDICINE Younger, J., Barelka, P., Carroll, I., Kaplan, K., Chu, L., Prasad, R., Gaeta, R., Mackey, S. 2008; 9 (8): 1158-1163


    One potential consequence of chronic opioid analgesic administration is a paradoxical increase of pain sensitivity over time. Little scientific attention has been given to how cessation of opioid medication affects the hyperalgesic state. In this study, we examined the effects of opioid tapering on pain sensitivity in chronic pain patients.Twelve chronic pain patients on long-term opioid analgesic treatment were observed in a 7- to 14-day inpatient pain rehabilitation program, with cold pain tolerance assessed at admission and discharge. The majority of participants were completely withdrawn from their opioids during their stay.We hypothesized that those patients with the greatest reduction in daily opioid use would show the greatest increases in pain tolerance, as assessed by a cold pressor task.A linear regression revealed that the amount of opioid medication withdrawn was a significant predictor of pain tolerance changes, but not in the direction hypothesized. Greater opioid reduction was associated with decreased pain tolerance. This reduction of pain tolerance was not associated with opioid withdrawal symptoms or changes in general pain.These findings suggest that the withdrawal of opioids in a chronic pain sample leads to an acute increase in pain sensitivity.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2008.00475.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000261106100026

    View details for PubMedID 18564998

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2751584

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