Dr. Gary Franklin is a Research Professor in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and in the Department of Medicine (Neurology), as well as an Adjunct Research Professor in the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health. Dr. Franklin has served as the Medical Director of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) from 1988 to the present, 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. 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 dual directorship roles, he is in a unique position to conduct 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.