2015 John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award
Bob A. Rappaport
Bob A. Rappaport, MD, completed his medical training at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine. In 1994, after 4 years on the faculty at George Washington, he joined the neurology division at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, where he spent the first few years developing expertise in the drug regulatory sciences, drug product development, and clinical trial design and analysis. In 1998 Dr. Rappaport was asked to become a team leader in the FDA division responsible for the analgesic, anesthetic, and addiction drug products, an opportunity well suited to his long-standing interest in improving pain management. He was promoted to deputy division director later that year and division director 3 years later. He remained in that position until he retired from the FDA in October 2014.
As director of the Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products, Dr. Rappaport led a large team of physicians, scientists, and regulatory project managers to oversee the investigation, development, approval, continued safety, and safe use of drug products to treat pain and addiction disorders, as well as drug products used in the setting of clinical anesthesia. During his 12 years as division director, he was responsible for numerous innovations and important initiatives. He was an advocate for the development of novel analgesic, anesthetic, and addiction drug products throughout his tenure, and instituted new standards for the study of these drugs. He has also been an active member of the IMMPACT consensus group since its inception. In 2010 he worked within the FDA to build the ACTTION (Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks) public-private-partnership, which was initially designed to advance the field of analgesic drug development by improving analgesic clinical study design, conduct, and analysis. This highly successful initiative was later expanded to include improving the study and development of anesthetics and drugs that treat addiction and peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Rappaport was centrally involved with the FDA’s continued efforts to encourage and assist in the development of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations, and with his staff he completed an updated guidance for the pharmaceutical industry on the development of analgesic drug products. In 2013, Dr. Rappaport received the agency’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the anesthesia, analgesia, and addiction fields by accelerating the discovery and development of new drugs with improved efficacy and safety.
The John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award honors outstanding contributions by an individual or an organization to the field of pain through public education, dissemination of information, public service, or other efforts to further knowledge about pain. The award is named for John Bonica, a leading force in the development of the pain treatment movement, and his wife, Emma.