Keela Herr, PhD, RN, AGSF, FGSA, FAAN

Kelting Professor in Nursing Emerita
Associate Dean for Faculty
Co-Director, Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence

During the past 30+ years, Dr. Herr has had an interdisciplinary program of pain research, scholarly, and professional activities focused on the problem of pain in older adults, with emphases in assessment strategies, improving practices through translation research and end-of-life care. She has served as PI or co-PI on nine and Investigator on seven externally funded projects that focus on pain in older adults and has been funded by AHRQ, NINR, NCI and private foundations. Dr. Herr is co-PI of the College of Nursing’s NINR T32 pre- and post-doctoral training grant focused on Pain and Associated Symptoms and of the University of Iowa’s interdisciplinary Center of Excellence in Pain Education, funded by NIDA.

Dr. Herr presents nationally and internationally on strategies for improving assessment and management of pain in elders and has published extensively on the topic of elder pain. She provided expert consultation to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), the American Pain Society (APS) and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) in establishing standards for pain assessment in older persons and contributing to clinical practice guideline development. Her expertise in measurement and improving practices led to involvement in national initiatives to develop quality measures for improving pain care in various settings. Dr. Herr served on national panels to examine safety issues related to pain care in older adults, including FDA Expert Panel on Analgesic Management of Pain in Older Adults, NIA/NIH Pain Consortium Expert Panel on Pharmacological Management of Chronic Pain in Older Adults, and Technical Advisory Panel for Medication Safety for Quality Innovation Network-Quality improvement Organization. She provided national professional leadership in service on the Board of Directors for the American Geriatrics Society, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), and the American Pain Society (APS). Dr. Herr was a leader in the development of national interprofessional prelicensure core pain competencies and in identifying strategies to improve health professional pain education and practices, leading a national effort to provide best practice tools and resources to improve pain care for older adults (

Dr. Herr has received numerous awards for her contributions to geriatrics and pain care for older adults with the most recent John A. Hartford Foundation/MNRS Award for Leadership in Geriatric Nursing Research, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Gerontological Nurses Association, the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, and the Doris Schwartz Award for Excellence in Gerontological Nursing Research. She is a Robert Woods Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow alumni and Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the American Geriatric Society and the Gerontological Society of America.

Curriculum Vitae

Research areas
  • Pain in older adult -- assessment, treatment, and caregiver support
  • End-of-life and palliative care
  • Promoting evidence-based practice and translation science
Keela Herr
PhD in Nursing, University of Texas at Austin
MSN in Medical-Surgical Nursing, University of Texas at Austin
BSN, Northeast Missouri State University