Afton Hassett

Afton Hassett, Psy.D.

Associate Research Scientist, Anesthesiology, Medical School
Director of Clinical Pain Research, The Back & Pain Center

Afton Hassett is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. She received her BFA from Colorado State University and her doctorate from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. As a principal investigator at the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center, she conducts interdisciplinary research related to exploring the role of cognitive, affective and behavioral factors in chronic pain populations. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and is a leader in the field of resilience and pain research. Her work has focused on exploring positive emotions and affective balance in people with pain; health-related quality of life in adult and pediatric rheumatology patients; and novel interventions to promote resilience and self-management for individuals with chronic pain. Her most exciting and innovative positive health research involves developing resilience-enhancing activities to promote well-being and the sparing of premature cellular aging in patients with chronic pain (telomere research), as well as developing scalable “prehabilitation” programs for surgical patients to try before surgery to optimize post-surgical outcomes including sparing opioid use. She is committed to education for individuals at many levels including patients, undergraduates and graduate students, medical residents, post-docs, physicians and other health care providers. Dr. Hassett is a Past President of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals – a division of the American College of Rheumatology. Current funding sources include National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the University of Michigan.