Director of Orofacial Pain Appointed

We are pleased to announce that with nearly 20 years of experience in orofacial pain, Aurelio Alonso, DDS, MS, PhD, officially joined the Department of Anesthesiology on July 1 as assistant professor in anesthesiology and as the director of orofacial pain in the new Center for Translational Pain Medicine. He will also help lead our new Duke Innovative Pain Therapies clinic, set to open in Brier Creek this August. Dr. Alonso comes from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was an assistant professor in the School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Alonso is an internationally-respected orofacial pain clinician and one of only five dentists certified by the American Board of Orofacial Pain in North Carolina. He is also notably the first boarded orofacial pain clinician at Duke. With Dr. Alonso’s addition to our team, we are now the only department of anesthesiology in the nation (and possibly the world) that has an orofacial pain program. In his new position with Duke Anesthesiology, Dr. Alonso will help to further expand our excellent clinical and research program in pain medicine.

The new clinic, Duke Innovative Pain Therapies at Brier Creek, is the first-of-its-kind in the world to provide patients access to advanced orofacial pain therapies, acupuncture, non-opioid biologic therapies, diagnostics and procedural interventions, all under one roof. A multidisciplinary team of experts, including anesthesiologists, an acupuncturist, physical therapist and eventually, a health psychologist and a neurologist, will ultimately transform the way care is delivered to patients suffering from chronic pain. The clinic, set to open its doors to the public on August 8, complements the Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM), led by Dr. Bill Maixner. The CTPM brings together leading basic scientists, clinical researchers and clinicians to drive the discovery of new and innovative therapies in an effort to unravel the causes of painful conditions to better improve patient care.

After completing his doctor of dental surgery from the University of Ribeirao Preto in 1997, Dr. Alonso completed a fellowship in occlusion and temporomandibular disorder (TMD) at São Paulo State University in Brazil. During his training at São Paulo State University, he also earned a certificate of prosthodontics and subsequently, completed a fellowship in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. From 2002 to 2005, Dr. Alonso completed graduate training in TMD and orofacial pain from the UMDNJ New Jersey Dental School and University of Minnesota. He received his MS in dentistry and PhD in oral biology from the University of Minnesota. He is also trained in dental sleep medicine and oral appliances for the management of snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Alonso is a diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. He has published several abstracts and peer-review publications in the prosthodontic and orofacial pain fields. His clinical research interests are in myofascial pain, primary headaches, sleep disorders and the use of stem cells in the management of chronic orofacial pain condition.

“My vision for the new pain clinic at Duke University is to be the leading orofacial pain clinic in the state of North Carolina and hopefully achieve national and international recognition,” says Dr. Alonso. “My immediate goals are to have the clinic fully running with the diagnosis and management of all types of orofacial pain conditions in all levels of complexity, including the management of patients suffering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and to develop a fellowship program in orofacial pain here at Duke Anesthesiology.”

Dr. Alonso currently resides in Chapel Hill with his wife, Claudia, and his daughter, Mel. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Alonso to Duke Anesthesiology!