Gary M. Franklin, MD, MPH

Research Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences (Primary department)
Adjunct Research Professor, Health Services
Adjunct Research Professor, Neurology
Dr. Franklin is a Research Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and in the Department of Medicine (Neurology), as well as Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Health Services, at the University of Washington (UW). Dr. Franklin has served as the Medical Director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) from 1988 to the present, and has more than a 25-year history of developing and administering workers’ compensation health care policy and conducting outcomes research. He has served as Director or Co-Director of the NIOSH-funded ERC Occupational Health Services Research training program since its inception.

Dr. Franklin is also Director of the Occupational Epidemiology and Health Outcomes Program at the UW, which is the most productive program of its kind in the U.S. This program houses and facilitates primary research as well as the secondary use of workers' compensation data in order to improve medical care and reduce disability related to occupational injuries and illnesses. Because of his unique dual directorship roles, he is in a unique position to conduct meaningful policy-relevant health services research, and provide leadership in this area. Dr. Franklin’s research has focused on (1) evaluating a major quality improvement program within L&I to reduce worker disability and improve outcomes; (2) identifying predictors of long-term disability among workers with back sprain and carpal tunnel syndrome; (3) assessing the risks associated with opiate use for chronic pain; and (4) evaluating outcomes of lumbar fusion. In addition, since the epidemic of opioid deaths became apparent earlier in the decade, Dr. Franklin has conducted several studies related to opioid prescribing practices, has translated this research directly back into state health care policy, and is leading a statewide effort to educate physicians about best practice use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

Contact Information

Box: 359116
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98109-
Tel: 206-685-7193
Fax: 206-685-7031

Research Interests

  • Occupational injury. Neurological epidemiology. Outcomes research.
  • Occupational and environmental medicine. Occupational disease statistics. Occupational and environmental epidemiology. Occupational exposure. Opiate use. Surveillance of occupational illnesses and injuries. Workers' compensation issues.

In the News


MD, Internal Medicine, George Washington University, 1969
MPH, Pub Health & Comm Med, University of California (Berkeley), 1982


2. Prospective Study of Predictors of Long-Term Disability

Investigators: Gary Franklin, Deborah Fulton-Kehoe, Terri Smith-Weller, Judy Turner, Tom Wickizer.

Statistical models were used to predict chronic work disability from data obtained from administrative databases and worker interviews soon after a work injury in this large prospective study. A brief instrument, the Functional Recovery Questionnaire, was developed to screen injured workers for chronic disability risk soon after injury. Although many publications have come from this NIOSH grant funded study, analysis continues.

1. Occupational Health Innovations and Best Practices

Dr. Franklin’s group at the UW, the Occupational Epidemiology and Health Outcomes Program, has had more than 15 years of contracts with the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries to develop and test new occupational health quality indicators and best practices. Over the years the group has been involved in the creation and evaluation of Centers of Occupational Health and Education. The current contract is to develop a community-based collaborative care treatment model for chronic pain and behavioral health services for injured workers, to analyze risk scoring tools used by L&I to predict injured workers’ risk of long term disability, and to investigate structured physical medicine best practices.

Selected Publications

Sullivan M, Bauer A, Fulton-Kehoe D, Garg R, Turner J, Wickizer T, Franklin GM. Trends in Opioid Dosing Among Washington State Medicaid Patients Before and After Opioid Dosing Guideline Implementation. J Pain 2015 [in press].

Franklin GM, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, Sullivan MD, Wickizer TM.  Changes in Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain in Washington State. J Am Board Fam Med 2013 July-August; 26(4): 394-400.

Franklin GM.  Primum non nocere.  Pain Med 2013; 14(5): 617-8.
Franklin GM, Mai J, Turner, J, Sullivan, M, Wickizer T, Fulton-Kehoe D. Bending the prescription opioid dosing and mortality curves: Impact of the Washington State Opioid Dosing Guideline. Am J Ind Med 55:325-331, 2012.

Wickizer TM, Franklin G, Fulton-Kehoe D, Gluck J, Mootz R, Smith-Weller T, Plaeger-Brockway R. Improving quality, preventing disability and reducing costs in workers’ compensation healthcare: A population-based intervention study. Med Care 49:1105-11, 2011.

Franklin GM, Rahman EA, Turner JA, Daniell WE, Fulton-Kehoe D. Opioid use for chronic back pain: A prospective, population-based study among injured workers in Washington State, 2002-2005. Clin J Pain 25:743-751, 2009.

Turner JA, Franklin G, Fulton-Kehoe D, Sheppard L, Stover B, Wu R, Gluck JV, Wickizer TM. ISSLS prize winner: Early predictors of chronic work disability: A prospective, population-based study of workers with back injuries. Spine 33:2809-2818, 2008.

Franklin GM, Stover BD, Turner JA, Fulton-Kehoe D, Wickizer TM. Early opioid prescription and subsequent disability among workers with back injuries: The Disability Risk Identification Study Cohort. Spine 33:199-204, 2008.

Franklin GM, Mai J, Wickizer T, Turner JA, Fulton-Kehoe D, Grant L. Opioid dosing trends and mortality in Washington State workers’ compensation, 1996-2002. Am J Ind Med 48:91-99, 2005.

Wickizer TM, Franklin GM, Mootz RD, Fulton-Kehoe D, Plaeger-Brockway R, Drylie D, Turner JA, Smith-Weller T. A communitywide intervention to improve outcomes and reduce disability among injured workers in Washington State. Milbank Quarterly 82:547-567, 2004.

Wickizer, TM, Franklin G, Plaeger-Brockway R, Mootz RD. Improving the quality of workers' compensation health care delivery: The Washington State Occupational Health Services Project. The Milbank Quarterly 79:5-33, 2001.

Cheadle A, Wickizer TM, Franklin G, Cain K, Joesch J, Kyes K, Madden C, Murphy L, Plaeger-Brockway R, Weaver M. Evaluation of the Washington State workers’ compensation managed care pilot project II: Medical and disability costs. Med Care 37:982-993, 1999.

Kyes KB, Wickizer T, Franklin G, Cain K, Cheadle A, Madden C, Murphy L, Plaeger-Brockway R, Weaver M. Evaluation of the Washington State workers’ compensation managed care pilot I: Medical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Med Care 37:972-981, 1999.

Franklin GM, Lifka J, Milstein JD. Device evaluation and coverage policy in workers’ compensation: examples from Washington state. Am J Managed Care 4:SP178-186, 1998.
Franklin GM, Fulton-Kehoe D. Outcomes research in Washington state workers’ compensation. Am J Ind Med 29:642–648, 1996.

Franklin GM, Haug JA, Heyer NJ, McKeefrey SP, Picciano J. Outcome of lumbar fusion in Washington State workers’ compensation. Spine 19:1897-1904, 1994.

Cheadle A, Franklin GM, Wolfhagen C, et al. Factors influencing duration of work-related disability: A population-based study from Washington State Workers’ Compensation. Am J Public Health 84:190-196, 1994.

Franklin GM, Haug J, Heyer N, Peck N, Checkoway H. Occupational carpal tunnel syndrome incidence in Washington State, 1984-1988. Am J Public Health 81:741-746, 1991.

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