Frank Keefe Receives APA Distinguished Scientific Award

By Susan Gallagher

Frank Keefe, PhD, professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, received the American Psychological Association’s 2024 Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology.

The Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology—the highest honor presented by the APA for scientific contribution—recognizes psychologists who have made distinguished theoretical or empirical advances in psychology leading to the understanding or amelioration of important practical problems. 

The award is the highest honor presented by the American Psychological Association for scientific contribution. 

Keefe, who also holds faculty appointments in psychology and neuroscience, anesthesiology, and medicine, directs the Duke Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program, an NIH-funded clinical research program focused on developing new and more effective ways of assessing and treating patients with acute and persistent pain. He currently serves as a co-investigator on a number of NIH grants, several of which involve testing novel strategies for delivering pain coping skills treatment.

Over the course of his career, Keefe and a broad range of collaborators have developed and refined many protocols for persistent pain conditions and conducted numerous NIH- and foundation-funded randomized clinical trials testing the efficacy of various behavioral interventions. He has published nearly 500 papers on topics ranging from pain coping strategies used during mammography to behavioral approaches to managing acute pain and pain at end of life. In addition, Keefe has invested significant time and effort in mentoring students and early career professionals throughout his career. 

Keefe has played a key role in developing clinical pain services and pain research programs at Duke, leading the Duke Pain Management Program for more than 30 years and contributing significantly to the development of Duke’s multidisciplinary pain programs.

He has also been active nationally and internationally in shaping the pain research agenda, serving as editor in chief of PAIN, the premier pain research journal; chairing many NIH Study Sections; and serving as a member of the Institute of Medicine committee whose 2011 report has helped inform national policies in pain research and pain care.