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William Zempsky, MD

Division Head, Pain & Palliative Medicine
Francine L. and Robert B. Goldfarb-William T. Zempsky, MD, Endowed Chair for Pain and Palliative Medicine
Associate Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

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Practice Name Connecticut Children's Specialty Group


BA, Cornell University, 1984
MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1988

Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1988-1991

Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 1993-1995

Board Certifications

  • Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Faculty Appointment

    Associate Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
    Professor of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

    Clinical Expertise

    Dr. Zempsky is an international expert on the pediatric pain management. He has published numerous research papers, and holds several ongoing NIH grants regarding pain in youth with sickle cell disease, obesity, fibromyalgia, neurofibromatosis, postoperative pain and pain-related stigma. Dr. Zempsky has received major awards including the prestigious Donaghue Investigator Award, as well as the Mayday Pain and Society Fellowship to enhance his abilities in pain advocacy. Dr. Zempsky is a co-editor of the Oxford Textbook of Pediatric Pain, the leading text in the field. His division was designated a Center of Clinical Excellence by the American Pain Society in 2014, and it’s one of the first 3 programs in the world to receive the ChildKind certification focused on improving pain management for all children. Dr. Zempsky was elected as Chair of the Pediatric Special Interest Group of the American Pain Society in 2015. He was appointed as the pediatric representative to the Physicians Medical Marijuana Board for the State of Connecticut in 2016. In 2017, Dr. Zempsky received the M1mentoring grant from the University of Connecticut.

    Selected Publications

    • Zempsky WT, Palermo TM, Corsi JM, Lewandowski AS, Zhouc , Casella JF. Daily Changes in Pain, Mood, and Physical Function in Youth Hospitalized for Sickle Cell Pain. Accepted Pain Res Manage.

    • Berde CB, Walco GA, Krane EJ, K Anand KJSAranda JSCraigKDDampier C, Finkel JCGrabois MJohnston CLantos J, Lebel AMaxwell LGMcGrath PMOberlanderSchanberg LEStevens BTaddio Avon Baeyer CLYaster M and Zempsky WT. Pediatric Analgesic Clinical Trial Designs, Measures, and Extrapolation: Report of an FDA Scientific Workshop Pediatrics, 2012;129:354-64.

    • Zempsky WT, Corsi JM, McKay K. Pain scores: Are they used in sickle cell pain? Pediatric Emerg Care 2011;27:27-28.

    • Schechter NL, Bernstein BA, Zempsky WT, Bright NS, Willard AK. Educational outreach to reduce immunization pain in office settings. Pediatrics. 2010;126(6):e1514-21.

    • Zempsky WT, Loiselle K, Mckay K, Lee B, Hagstrom JN, Schechter NL. Do children with sickle cell disease receive disparate care for pain in the emergency department? J Emerg Med 2010;39:691-695.

    • Zempsky WT, Corsi JM, Loiselle K, Hagstrom JN. Use of Low-Dose Ketamine Infusion for Pediatric Patients with Sickle Cell Disease-Related Pain: A Case Series. Clin J Pain 2010;26:163–167.

    • Zempsky WT. Treatment of sickle cell pain: Fostering trust and justice. JAMA 2009;302:2479-2480.

    • Conway M, White N, St.Jean C, Zempsky WT, Steven K. Use of continuous intravenous ketamine for end-stage cancer pain in children. J Pediatr Onc Nurse 2009;26:100-106.

    • Zempsky WT. Optimizing the Management of Peripheral Venous Access Pain in Children: Evidence, Impact, and Implementation. Pediatrics 2008;122:S121-124.

    • Zempsky WT. Pharmacologic Approaches for Reducing Venous Access Pain Pediatrics 2008;122:S140-153.

    • Kennedy R, Luhmann J, Zempsky WT. Clinical Implications of Unmanaged Needle Insertion Pain and Distress in Children. Pediatrics 2008;122:S130-133.

    • Zempsky WT, Robbins B, McKay L. Reduction of topical anesthetic onset time using ultrasound: A randomized controlled trial prior to venipuncture in young children. Pain Med 2008;9:795-802.

    • Zempsky, WT, Loiselle KA, McKay K, BlakeGL , Hagstrom, NJ, et al. Retrospective Evaluation of Pain Assessment and Treatment for Acute Vasoocclusive Episodes in Children with Sickle Cell Disease, Pediatric Blood and Cancer 2008;51:265-268.

    • Zempsky WT, Bean-Lejewski J, Kaufman RE, Koh JL, Malviya SV, Rose JB, Richards PT, Gennevois DJ. Needlefree powder lidocaine delivery system provides rapid and effective analgesia for venipuncture or cannulation pain in children: The randomized bouble-blind COMFORT-003 trial. Pediatrics 2008;121:979-987.

    • Zempsky WT, Robbins B, Richards PT, Leong MS, Schechter NL. A study evaluating venipuncture pain in children receiving a novel needlefree powder lidocaine delivery system for rapid local analgesia. J Pedaitr 2008;152:405-411.

    • Van Epps S, Zempsky W, Schechter N, Pescatello LS, Lerer T. The effects of a two-week trial of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for pediatric chronic back pain. J Pain Sympt Manag 2007;34:115-117.

    • Schechter NL, Zempsky WT, Cohen LL, McGrath PJ, McMurtry CM, Bright N. Pain reduction and pediatric immunizations: Evidence-based review and recommendations. Pediatrics 2007;119:e1184-1198.

    • Zempsky WT. Topical anesthetics for procedural pain in children. What does the future hold? Current Drug Therapy 2006;1:283-290.

    • Zempsky WT, Zehrer CL, Lyle CT, Hedbloom EC. Economic comparison of methods of wound closure: wound closure strips versus sutures and wound adhesives. International Wound Journal 2005;2:272-281.

    • William T. Zempsky, Joseph P. Cravero, and the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. Relief of pain and anxiety in pediatric patients in emergency medical systems. Pediatrics 2004; 114: 1348-1356.

    • Zempsky WT, Grem C, Parrotti D, Nichols J. Prospective comparison of cosmetic outcomes of simple facial lacerations closed with Steri-Strips or Dermabond. Pediatric Emergency Care 2004;20(8):519-524.

    • Zempsky WT, Sullivan J, Paulson D, and Hoath S. Evaluation of a low-dose lidocaine iontophoresis system for topical anesthesia in adults and children: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Therapeutics 2004;26:1110-1119.

    • Zempsky WT, Parkinson TM. Lidocaine iontophoresis for local anesthesia prior to shave biopsy. Derm Surg 2003;29:627-630.

    • Zempsky WT, Parkinson TM. Lidocaine iontophoresis for topical anesthesia before dermatological procedures in children: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatric Derm 2003;20:364-368.

    • Losek JD, Endom E, Dietrich A, Stewart G, Zempsky W, Smith K. Adenosine and pediatric supraventricular tachycardia in the emergency department: multicenter study and review. Ann Emerg Med 1999;33:185-191.

    • Zempsky WT, Haskell GH. Paramedics as allied health care providers in the pediatric emergency department. Ped Emerg Care 1998;14:329-331.

    • Zempsky WT, Ashburn MA. Iontophoresis: noninvasive drug delivery. Am J Anesthesiol 1998;25:158-162.

    • Zempsky WT, Anand KS, Sullivan KM, Fraser D, Cucina K. Lidocaine Iontophoresis for topical anesthesia prior to intravenous line placement in children. J Pediatr 1998;132:1061-1063.

    • Simon HK, Zempsky WT, Bruns TB, Sullivan KM. Lacerations against Langer’s lines: To glue or suture? J Emerg Med 1998;16:185-189.

    • Zempsky WT, Karasic RB. Superiority of EMLA compared with TAC for anesthesia of extremity wounds in children. Ann Emerg Med. 1997;30:163-166.

    • Simon HK, Bruns TB, McClario D, Zempsky WT, Sullivan KM. Long-term appearance of lacerations repaired using a tissue adhesive. Pediatrics 1997;99:193-195.

    • Zempsky WT, Isaacman DJ, Sullivan KM, Sipp N. Child restraint device use in patients leaving a children’s hospital. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1996;150:1284-1287.

    • Zempsky WT, Bhende MS. The lytic cocktail. Pediatr Emerg Care 1995;11:151.

    • Zempsky WT, Rosenstein BJ, Carroll JA, Oski FA. Effect of pancreatic enzyme supplements on iron absorption. Am J Dis Child 1989;143:969-972.

    • Zempsky WT, Rosenstein BJ. The cause of rectal prolapse in children. Am J Dis Child 1988;142:338-339.

    • Bodnar JW, Hanson PI, Polvino-Bodnar M, Zempsky WT, Ward DC. The terminal regions of adenovirus and minute virus of mice DNA’s are preferentially associated with the nuclear matrix in infected cells. J Virology 1989;63(10):4344-4353.

    • Bodnar JW, Zempsky WT, Warder D, Bergson C, Ward DC. Effect of nucleotide analogs on the cleavage of DNA by the restriction enzymes Alu I, Dde I, Hinf nI, Rsa I, and Taq I. J Biological Chem 1983;258:15206-15213.

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