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Kate Nicholson

Founder & Executive Director

National Pain Advocacy Center

Pronouns: (she/her)


Kate M. Nicholson, JD is founder and executive director of the National Pain Advocacy Center. She is also a civil rights attorney and a nationally-recognized expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She formerly served in the U.S. Department of Justice for 18 years, where she litigated and managed cases, coordinated federal disability policy, and drafted the current ADA regulations.

Kate developed intractable pain after a surgical mishap left severely limited in her ability to sit, stand, or walk for many years. She gave the TEDx talk, What We Lose When We Undertreat Pain, and speaks widely at universities and conferences and to medical groups.

She was an appointed member of the Opioid Workgroup of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a 2019-20 Mayday Pain & Society Fellow, and she currently serves on the Global Advocacy Task Force for the International Association for the Study of Pain. Kate also serves on task forces and in working groups of many aligned civil rights, disability rights, women’s health, pain, and drug policy organizations. Kate was a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth College and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.