Dr. Hainsworth earned a M.S. and PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She joined the MCW faculty in 2006 after completing a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric pain at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is currently an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and serves as the Research Director of the Jane B. Pettit Pain and Headache Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The Center’s research program covers a broad range of areas important to acute and chronic pain management, such as optimal opioid delivery systems, post-surgical pain management, and the study of biopsychosocial factors that affect pediatric pain. The Center is known for our inclusion of integrative medicine and a biopsychosocial approach to pediatric pain.
Dr. Hainsworth’s research interests span acute to chronic pain, and emphasize a behavioral approach to the understanding of factors that affect pain management and individual response to pain. Her main area of research focuses on the interrelationships between pain and obesity in children and adolescents. She has shown that youth who experience both chronic pain and obesity have significantly lower quality of life than youth with either chronic condition alone. She has also shown that youth with co-occurring pain and obesity have altered pain thresholds, and significantly higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers than youth with chronic pain alone, or obesity alone. Despite the risks of a lifetime of disability in this patient population, currently, no tailored approaches to pain management exist for these children and adolescents. To that end, she has designed and conducted a number of studies focused on the benefits of yoga for children and adolescents. Study samples have included youth with chronic headache pain, youth with pediatric obesity and a sample of high school sophomores.