Meet the Speakers

Robert B. Raffa, PhD has devoted his professional career to pharmacology and understanding the balance between therapeutic utility and abuse potential of medications. He was team co-leader for analgesics drug discovery at Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Raffa has received more than $3 million in research funding from National Institutes of Health and other sources for the investigation of drug action and drug abuse issues. Dr. Raffa has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers, is the co-author or editor of several books on pharmacology and thermodynamics and is a co-editor of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. He is a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society, and he lectures and consults worldwide on analgesic drugs and analgesic combinations. 

Joseph V. Pergolizzi, Jr., MD is the co-founder of NEMA Research Inc. He specializes in clinical research and brings to the project over 20 years of clinical strategy, rescue and trial-execution experience. Dr. Pergolizzi has an extensive network of KOLs/SMEs that support the projects and move them forward to the highest standards. Dr. Pergolizzi was previously Director of Business Development and Financial Affairs for the John Hopkins University School of Medicine Clinical Trial Unit. And he chairs the Analgesic Clinical Trials Track at Pain Week. He has extensive experience with drug discovery and development of novel NSAIDs. 


Steven Wright, MD is a residency-trained family physician with a 36-year clinical career. Active in addiction medicine (board certified) 31 years and medical pain management 15 years, he focuses on issues related to controlled substances, addiction, and medical pain management via consulting, speaking, advocacy, policy development, education, medical provider assessment and supervision, and medical-legal work. His clinical interests include the neuro­-physiology and treatment of pain and addiction (etiology, pharmacogenetics, treatment), non­opioid analgesia, opioids (medical and non-medical use), benzodiazepines (medical consultant for the Alliance for Benzodiazepine Reform), cannabis (medical and nonmedical use), adverse consequences, best practices, and systems of care. 

Todd W. Vanderah, PhD is Head and Professor of Pharmacology and is a Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Anesthesiology at the University of Arizona. His research interests include mechanisms of chronic pain including cancer pain, neuronal integration in pain pathways, neurochemical release during conditions of neuropathy, neuronal plasticity, drugs of abuse including opioids and benzodiazepines, cannabinoid pharmacology, and novel targets for drug discovery. He is the author of over 180 original research articles and has NIH funding for over 20 years.