Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine - Faculty
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James P. Rathmell, MD

James P. Rathmell, MD


Vice Chair and Chief, Division of Pain Medicine; Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Clinicial Specialty

Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine

Professional Activities

Clinical Care. I devote the majority of my professional time to the direct care of patients with acute, chronic, and cancer-related pain. My clinical expertise and much of my research has focused on the treatment of pain related to disorders of the spine.

Education. Outside of the pain clinic, my focus has been on improving medical education for physicians and physicians-in-training. Through direct teaching in the classroom, continuing medical education activities around the world, and publication of original research and textbooks, my aim is to improve the care of patients with painful disorders. I have dedicated much of my professional career to improving the training of physicians specializing in the field of pain medicine. Some of my most meaningful past and present roles in medical education include:

  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education: Member, RRC for Anesthesiology
  • American Board of Anesthesiology: Member, Pain Medicine Examination Committee; Associate (Oral Board) Examiner
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists: Associate Editor, Anesthesiology; Member, Committee on Research; Member, Committee on Academic Anesthesiology; Member, Committee on Professional Liability; Past Chair, Committee on Pain Medicine
  • American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine: Associate Editor-in-Chief, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine; Member, Board of Directors; Past Chair, Annual Pain Meeting Program Committee
  • Harvard Medical School: Member, Admissions Subcommittee 4; Lecturer, Advanced Clinical Pharmacology (HST 350)

Research. The thrust of my research is to examine the effectiveness of new and emerging treatments for pain through a blend of investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored trials. Many of my publications have involved critical appraisal of the safety and effectiveness of specific interventions used in pain medicine. Much of this work has been assembled in recent textbooks:

Medical Training

Wake Forest University, MS (Biochemistry)
Wake Forest University, MD
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Internship in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Residency in Anesthesiology


View Publications

Contact Information

Clinical Office:

Center for Pain Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Wang Ambulatory Care Center, Suite 324
15 Parkman Street Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3341

Academic Office:

Division of Pain Medicine
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Gray-Bigelow Suite 444, Room 444M
55 Fruit Street MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-3332
Fax: 617-726-3032

Public Transportation Access: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes

Office Information

Department of Anesthesia,
Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Gray-Bigelow 444
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Public Transportation Access: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes