At some time in everyone’s life, pain interferes with enjoyment or limits accomplishments. Though it is universal, pain is so complex and subjective that it is difficult to comprehend, describe, and treat. Protective pain is beneficial and warns us of danger. You pull back reflexively from the hot stove to avoid a burn. But when pain persists, it is pathological – a condition and not simply a symptom of another problem. The departments of Anesthesiology and Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine have established a multidisciplinary center that combines basic research, clinical research, clinical pain management and education in an organized, interactive group of dedicated researchers and clinicians. The Washington University Pain Center is committed to alleviating human suffering from pain and aims to be the foremost center in the nation for the advancement of pain science. Advances in our understanding and our therapies will come from collaboration involving clinicians, basic scientists and clinical researchers. We cannot predict where insights will arise, but we expect that each of our members and all of the departments involved will make significant contributions. At the Pain Center, our cross-disciplinary approach quickly translates new knowledge into an improved ability to care for people.