Division of Pain Medicine in Anesthesiology

Thomas R. Vetter, M.D., M.P.H. 
Associate Professor, Vice Chair and

Director, Division of Pain Medicine 

Faculty within the Division of Pain Medicine are responsible for optimizing clinical care related to acute, chronic and cancer-related pain as well as expanding research endeavors that will lead to improved understanding of pain mechanisms and improved implementation of effective pain treatment practices.

All of the clinical faculty members of the Division at the level of Assistant Professor and above are certified as Diplomates of the American Board of Anesthesiology. Resident and fellow education are imbedded in both the clinical practice and research endeavors of the Division.

Pain treatment-related care provided by the division is divided into two subdivisions: the Inpatient Pain Service and the Pain Treatment Clinic. The Inpatient Pain Service is responsible for the care of inpatients at University Hospital with unique medical situations or difficult-to-control pain. The Pain Treatment Clinic, physically located at UAB Highlands, is the outpatient arm of the Division and provides consultative and procedural services related to pain treatment.

The research mission of the division is translational in nature with the goal of moving scientific discovery from the laboratory to implementation within patient care. As such, the Division has both basic scientists defining the neurophysiology and behaviors of pain and clinical scientists giving clinical trial to novel therapies. The division includes researchers funded by multiple extramural organizations including the National Institutes of Health. Some ongoing studies include psychophysical measures of pain processing in pain patients, functional MRI imaging of cerebral blood flow responses to painful stimuli and its modification by pharmacological therapy, electrophysiological studies of reflex responses to noxious stimuli in rodents with an assessment of effects of inflammation, stress, neurological injury and genetic manipulation.