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Lesley Rao, MD, named chief of pain management division

Lesley Rao, MD

Following a national search, we are pleased to announce Lesley Rao, MD, has been named the division chief of pain management at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Since November 2020, Dr. Rao has done a tremendous job as the associate division chief of pain management.

In this role, Dr. Rao will lead the clinical and educational responsibilities of the Pain Management Division, serve as the clinical section chief of the Washington University Pain Center, and operate as the director of the Pain Management Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The Pain Management Division is the clinical arm of the Washington University Pain Center, which has the mission to alleviate human suffering from pain through integration of basic and clinical pain research, clinical pain management practice, and pain education.
A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Dr. Rao completed her anesthesiology residency and pain medicine fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine and joined the department faculty in 2010. In 2014, Dr. Rao became the program director for the department’s pain fellowship program, which has trained over 70 pain specialists to date and remains the only ACGME-accredited pain fellowship in Missouri.
“Dr. Rao is an integral member of our community and her contributions – both as a clinician and an educational leader – have been of remarkable benefit to the Pain Management Division, the department, and the broader St. Louis community,” said Robert Gereau IV, PhD, vice chair for research for the Department of Anesthesiology and director of the Washington University Pain Center. “We are excited to see her continue leading our division and build upon the strategy and momentum built over recent years.”
Dr. Rao supersedes Robert Swarm, MD, who stepped down as division chief in July 2021. Please join us in congratulating her on her new role!