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Tait Captures Science Leadership Award

by Nancy Solomon on 01/10/2020
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Nancy Solomon

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Long-time SLU School of Medicine faculty member Raymond C. Tait, Ph.D., will receive one of the Academy of Science-St. Louis’ most prestigious recognitions – the Science Leadership Award – on Thursday, April 2. 

Tait is interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and interim administrative director of Saint Louis University Cancer Center. 

Raymond C. Tait, Ph.D.

A SLU faculty member since 1982, Professor Raymond Tait, Ph.D., has a 40-year career in which he has served as a pain researcher, clinician and program administrator. SLU File Photo

Tait’s award recognizes an individual who has played an important leadership role in the development of science and scientists in the St. Louis region. Tait is among 15 people, institutions and corporations to be honored for their scientific contributions at the 26th Annual Outstanding St. Louis Scientists Awards ceremony.

During his career, Tait has held a variety of research leadership roles at SLU that include Institutional Review Board (IRB) chair and Vice President for Research.

Eager to share his love of science, he also nurtures a research interest in SLU medical residents, medical students and graduate students, providing opportunities for them to participate fully in the research process and gain first-hand knowledge and skills.

A clinical psychologist, Tait has studied and treated pain for nearly 40 years.

In 1982, he founded a successful multi-disciplinary treatment program for chronic pain at SLU. During that time, he observed many instances where patients were evaluated by providers who often reached very different clinical conclusions.

Attempting to understand the reasons for the differences, Tait began to study the factors that systematically influence assessments of pain in others. His pioneering work highlighted racial and socioeconomic disparities in how health care providers treated patients for chronic pain stemming from occupational injuries.

The research had far-ranging implications for African Americans and those who are economically disadvantaged who attempt to navigate the Workers’ Compensation system and receive disability benefits.

Tait is the author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been principal or co-principal investigator of grants totaling nearly $3 million.

His current interests involve the study of “cognitive maps” constructed by providers, patients and the lay public that inform their approaches to pain treatment. 

Tait received the American Pain Society’s 2019 lifetime achievement award for clinical pain scholarship, an award likened to reaching the pain hall of fame.

He served for many years on the Governing Board of the Center of Research, Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange (CORTEX).

He also has served as an editorial board member for nine journals; a National Institutes of Health reviewer; and an organizing committee or board member for multiple conferences, societies and coalitions. Tait was appointed by Gov. Bob Holden to the Missouri Advisory Council on Pain and Symptom Management and also served on the Missouri Life Sciences Research Board.