Gary W. Donaldson, PhD


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Anesthesiology - Professor, Nursing - Adjunct Professor

Academic Office Information

  • 801-585-9223
  • Pain Management Center
    Department of Anesthesiology
    615 Arapeen Dr., Room: 200
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Academic Bio

Director, Pain Research Center
Senior Strategic Statistician, College of Nursing

The overall mission of the Pain Research Center is to investigate the perception, causes, and consequences of pain. We take a broad view of this mission, recognizing that pain is a complex multidimensional experience that cannot be reduced to pain “signals” traveling this way and that through the nervous system. Rather, we view pain as an active, dynamic construction that depends not just on sensory input but also on the psychology, personal history, social and cultural environment, and a host of other individual attributes that help form and sustain the perception of this pernicious state. The complex multidimensional construct of pain is difficult to study without an overarching methodological perspective. Although our individual research interests vary, we are united by the shared premise that consistent, incisive statistical and analytical methods can extend and elaborate theoretical understanding of pain. Theory informs analysis, and analysis sharpens theory. My interests in particular concern better ways to measure pain, understand its causes, and represent the vast variation in individual responses to objectively similar painful situations. New developments in statistical and causal modeling have been critical for these investigations, and many of my publications are either applications of these methods or didactic illustrations of the new methods. This passion for integrated methods, theory, and clinical understanding extends beyond the domain of pain. In addition to my work as Director of the Pain Research Center and Senior Strategic Statistician for the College of Nursing at the University of Utah, I am an affiliate Member of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where I maintain an active program in Quality of Life research.

Education History

Type School Degree
Fellowship University of Denver
Predoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of Denver
Experimental Psychology
Undergraduate University of Arizona
Undergraduate Harvey Mudd College
Math, Physics