SD Virtual Pain Summit Speaker Information


Keynote Tasha Stanton, Ph.D.

Title: Targeting Pain From Many Angles: a foray into language, sensory modulation, and brain trickery

Synopsis: Pain can be perplexing. While clearly an effective way to alert us of danger to, or damage of, our body tissues, what happens when pain doesn’t go away? In this presentation, I will discuss the concept of over-protection – the idea that changes occurring in the nociceptive and immune systems in chronic pain often result in elevated responses to innocuous or painful stimuli, and when combined with unhelpful beliefs about pain, can foster sustained over-protection. I will then discuss how we can use innate bodily systems that modulate over-protection to our advantage in treatment. Specifically, I will discuss how both explicit knowledge as well as how implicit sources of information (via sensory input about the body or the environment) can influence over-protection, ultimately exploring how we can embed these into clinical practice.Bio: Associate Professor Tasha Stanton leads the Pain and Perception Group in Adelaide at the University of South Australia. Her research group is affiliated with the Body in Mind Research group both in Adelaide (University of South Australia) and in Sydney (Neuroscience Research Australia). She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney in 2010 and is currently a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellow (2019-2021). She has received over $3.2m in competitive research funding to date, including a highly renowned Canadian Institute of Health Research Postdoctoral Training Fellowship (2011-2014) and NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2014-2018).

Tasha completed her training as a clinical Physiotherapist in 2002 and after two years of clinical work, she returned to pursue her Master of Science in spinal biomechanics with Prof Greg Kawchuk at the University of Alberta, Canada, completing in 2007. She then received a highly competitive PhD recruitment scholarship – the University of Sydney International Research Scholarship – and relocated overseas to complete her PhD, studying low back pain and clinical prediction, with Prof Chris Maher, Prof Jane Latimer, and Associate Prof Mark Hancock at the University of Sydney/The George Institute for Global Health.

Her research aims to understand why we have pain and why, sometimes, pain doesn't go away. Her work investigates the neural underpinnings of pain in a unique way – by manipulating our sense of reality. Using mediated and virtual reality, her work explores the contribution of multisensory input to the experience of pain. Her work spans both experimental and clinical pain and she is particularly interested in the role that pain education and activity play in recovery from chronic pain. Together, her research focusses on clinical pain neuroscience and she is specifically interested in cortical body representation, multisensory integration/modulation, multimodal illusions, somatosensation, and pain.

Tasha has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been a keynote or invited speaker at 50 national/international conferences. She was recognised as one of Australia's Top 5 under 40 Science Communicators (ABC Radio National and UNSW). The quality and importance of her research and her communication of that research has been recognised through various awards: In 2016, she won the Ronald Dubner Research Prize from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) that recognizes the best series of papers by a trainee, including all pain research areas. She also won the Inaugural Rising Star Award from the Australia Pain Society. In 2015, she was named the South Australia Young Tall Poppy of the Year (Australian Institute for Policy and Science) and received the Best New Investigator Award at the National Australian Physiotherapy Association Congress.

She is currently looking for Masters and PhD students.


Philip Austin, Ph.D.

Title: Virtual reality for the treatment of chronic pain disorders

Synopsis: First, I will present current knowledge concerning mechanisms underlying the effects of VR on pain. Here I will discuss two known processes involved in distraction with short-term VR use and neuroplasticity in more long-term use. Second, I will present findings from recent clinical trials and systematic reviews on the effects of VR for the treatment of various chronic pain disorders. Third, I will present our current findings on the use of VR for neuropathic pain in spinal cord injury patients supported by secondary outcomes using EEG outputs.

Bio: Philip Austin is a postdoctoral research fellow and practicing osteopath who holds a PhD in pain medicine. Phil’s research interests include the analgaesic effects of virtual reality experiences in people with spinal cord injury and cancer pain and the assessment of endogenous pain modulation in people with chronic pain conditions. Phil’s clinical areas of interest include the effects of work-related stress on the severity and duration of musculoskeletal pain. Phil also work as an academic tutor for the Masters' postgraduate degree program in Pain Management at The University of Sydney and is a visiting fellow at Victoria University.


Sandy Hilton, DPT, MS

Title: TBA

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Sandy Hilton, DPT, graduated from Pacific University (Oregon) in 1988 with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy and earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Des Moines University in December 2013. She has worked in multiple settings across the US with neurologic and orthopaedic emphasis combining these with a focus in pelvic rehabilitation for pain and dysfunction since 1995.

Sandy teaches Health Professionals and Community Education classes on returning to function following back and pelvic pain, and co-teaches Advanced Level Male Pelvic Floor Evaluation/Treatment for Entropy Physiotherapy as well as Neurodynamics and Sensory Integration for Pelvic Pain and a Practical Application of Pain Science course with Pelvic Health Solutions.

Sandy’s clinical interest is chronic pain with a particular interest in complex pelvic pain disorders for men and women.  Sandy is also pursuing opportunities for collaboration in research into the clinical treatment of pelvic pain conditions.  Sandy has co-authored two papers, 2 book chapters and "Why Pelvic Pain Hurts" a patient focused book.


Kat Gloor

Title: Seek First to Understand: Navigating the Language of Persistent Pain


You’re a culturally-competent active listener who knows how to explain pain, so why doesn’t your patient get what you’re saying? Why can’t they accurately describe their pain experience, and what do they really mean when they give you a pain score? Effective communication is key to a successful therapeutic alliance, yet misunderstandings abound. 

This engaging presentation from an individual living with persistent pain examines the difference between what clinicians say and what a patient may hear.

Explore the language of lived experience and learn how the words you use affect adherence and outcomes from a patient point of view.

Bio: Kat Gloor is learning to live well with persistent neuropathic pain. After her first diagnosis of a "chronic, progressive" pain disorder, she learned to meditate and somewhat navigate the healthcare system. After receiving her second, she began discovering pain science and is finding strength in (mostly gentle) movement. She has a special interest in the ways we communicate about pain but claims no expertise beyond her lived experience.

Kat has a French degree from a liberal arts college, which isn't particularly helpful when attempting to decipher medical research. She received a diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia in 2015, and of CRPS in 2019. In her current role, she generates numbers for a pain scale that has no meaning to her and spends countless hours speaking to insurance adjusters. She has login credentials for six unique patient portals.


Laura Rathbone, PT, MSc, BSc

Title: What about us? How psycholgociallyflexible are we?

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Laura Rathbone is a clinical specialist physiotherapist working in the field of persistent and complex pain and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  She gained her MSc in Advanced Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy from Kings College London in 2015.  Here she was heavily influenced by the teaching of Prof Mick Thacker who introduced her to the wider philosophical discussion around human experience and pain.  

She has held multiple Physiotherapy roles in London within 1st and 3rd contact environments working in clinics, GP practices, hospitals and a specialist programme.  She worked as part of the multi-disciplinary team delivering the INPUT Pain Management programme at St Thomas’ Hospital under the management of Prof. Lance McCracken.  Here she gained an in-depth working model of ACT and became skilled in session development for groups and individual work.  

Laura is dedicated to the understanding and exploration of the science of pain.  She is the host of the podcast Philosophers chatting with Clinicians which brings and is working on understanding the model of Embodied Cogniton and how pain might fit within this.  She co-hosts Le Pub Scientifique in Amsterdam and guest lectures on the topic of pain and incorporating psychological frameworks into practice.  

She is currently interested in the ‘how’ and ‘why’ people experience pain.  She is exploring the philosophical discussions around conscious experience and how humans interact with their environment.  She is particularly keen to explore how these models feed into the development of a modern, person-centred health care service.


Michael Ray, M.S., D.C.

Title: Pain: Exploring the Human Experience

Synopsis: Three primary objectives: 1) Examining language and pain 2) Models used to frame pain and understanding 3) Being a guide in clinical practice

Bio: Michael Ray is a chiropractor based out of Harrisonburg, VA. He owns and operate Shenandoah Valley Performance Clinic and specializes in the rehabilitation of neuromusculoskeletal issues,associated pain, and dysfunction. He enjoys helping people from various backgrounds return to their desired level of activity. His primary goals for working with clients, educate about their situation and collaboratively design a game-plan to move them from where they are at to where they want to be.

Education & Credentials

  • M.S. in Exercise Science with a concentration in Motor Control and Rehabilitation
  • Doctor of Chiropractic


Tim Salomons, Ph.D.

Title: TBA

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Tim Salomons is interested in the cognitive and biological mechanisms that make pain salient and how individual differences in these mechanisms might underlie differences in coping and treatment response.

His work aims to understand how the brain and body interact to create the experience of pain, and why some people might be prone to develop pain while others are relatively resilient. He’s especially interested in the biological mechanisms that underlie cognitive and affective responses to pain and how this knowledge might help us treat pain.


Catherine (Katie) Siengsukon, PT, Ph.D.

Title: The Relationship Between Sleep and Pain: What To Do?

Synopsis: Learning objectives:

  1. Consider the relationship between sleep disturbances and pain 
  2. Select and implement appropriate screening tools for the most common sleep disorders
  3. Incorporate strategies into practice to promote clients’ sleep health

Bio: Catherine F. Siengsukon, PT, Ph.D., provides instruction in neuroscience, neurorehabilitation, and sleep health promotion in the physical therapy and rehabilitation science doctoral degree programs. She is currently the course director for PTRS 852 Neurologic Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation I.

Siengsukon is also co-director of the multiple sclerosis STEP UP program. She is frequently invited to present on promoting sleep health and integration of sleep health info physical therapy practice. She also has advanced training in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and utilizes CBT-I in her research.

As director of the Sleep, Health, and Wellness Laboratory, Siengsukon's line of research seeks to understand how sleep impacts function, learning, and overall health particularly with aging and in those with neurological conditions. She possesses a clinical background in outpatient physical therapy treating individuals with musculoskeletal and neurologic injury.

Siengsukon is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has served on the research committee for the association's Neurology Section, and she is past chair of the research committee for the Kansas Physical Therapy Association. She is also a reviewer for several journals.

Siengsukon earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in physical therapy from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. She received her doctorate in rehabilitation science from the University of Kansas and is the first graduate from the medical center campus to receive the Marnie and Bill Argersinger Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation.

Siengsukon received the 2014 Rising Star Award in Health Professions from the Women in Medicine and Science at KU Medical Center.


Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT

Title: TBA

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Jason Silvernail has been a practicing physical therapist since 1997, on duty in the United States Army as a career military officer with over 25 years of service. Dr. Silvernail has worked with a wide variety of patient populations and settings including orthopedic/sports, chronic pain, amputee and neurological rehabilitation, and strength and conditioning.

Dr Silvernail earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Scranton, and his Doctor of Science from Baylor University. He is board-certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Army-Baylor Army-Baylor Doctoral Fellowship in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy at Fort Sam Houston, earning him a Fellowship in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy.

A clinician and researcher, he has published clinical commentaries and original research in the medical literature (including the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Manual Therapy, and the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy) and he has a prominent professional presence online where you can connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Opinions expressed by Dr. Silvernail are his own and do not represent the official policy or position of the United States Army, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.


Devra Sheldon, PT

Title: TBA

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Devra Sheldon is a physical therapist and owner of DevraJoy LLC. Through one on one mentoring, she guides learning experiences for clinicians who are working with patients who experience persistent pain. Within these interactions, she helps clinicians develop skills to address patient’s strategies for self-management in order to reclaim their joy and function. She has been in practice since 2004, and has been board certified in neurology since 2009.

Devra has served as an item writer for the neurologic clinical specialty certification exam, serves as a peer reviewer for Physiotherapy Canada, lectures at the university level on a range of topics, and has co-authored a paper on a neglect disorder in stroke. 

Devra works in Chicago focusing on low-income and minority populations with persistent pain and neurological conditions. She has a special interest in the clinical impact of sensory processing on rehabilitation.


Timothy Wideman, Ph.D., PT

Title: TBA

Synopsis: TBA

Bio: Dr. Timothy Wideman is a physical therapist and assistant professor at McGill University in Montreal. The overarching goal of his work as a clinician, researcher and educator is to improve the clinical care offered to people living with persistent pain. He has aimed to cultivate a comprehensive perspective on pain throughout his training and clinical experience.

He completed his entry-level physical therapy training in 2003 and has practiced across a range of clinical settings, including homecare, private clinics and multi-disciplinary pain management programs. Driven by his interest in better understanding how psychological and neurophysiological factors relate to pain and disability, he completed his doctoral training in McGill’s experimental psychology program and focused his post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins on the clinical assessment of pain sensitization.

He joined McGill faculty in 2014 and his recent work has focused on developing a conceptual model for clinicians and researchers that aims to better integrate and address the subjective experience of pain within research and practice. 

Dr. Wideman has received several national awards for excellence in research and clinical education and has presented his work in the leading international conferences and journals in the fields of pain and rehabilitation.