Press Release

Dahl Receives ASHP Board of Directors Award of Honor

Champion of Patients’ Rights Advocates for Safe and Effective Pain Management


BETHESDA, Md.—June Dahl, Ph.D., an advocate for patients’ rights and appropriate pain management, today received the American Society of Health-System Pharmacist’s (ASHP) Board of Directors Award of Honor. The award recognizes individuals outside the pharmacy discipline who have made extraordinary national or world-wide contributions to the health field.

Dahl, a professor of pharmacology in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, was presented with the award during the opening session of the Society’s 47th Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas.

As a champion of patients’ rights, Dahl has spent her entire career advocating for patients who suffer from pain. She is noted for her instrumental role in securing the inclusion of pain standards within The Joint Commission and the consideration of the pain score as the “5th vital sign.” 

As an early leader of the cancer pain movement in the 1980’s, Dr. Dahl rallied states to engage in grassroots efforts to improve the care provided to cancer patients with untreated and undertreated pain.  She went on to create the American Alliance of Cancer Pain Initiatives, which encouraged health care professionals within these states to champion the rights of those with pain. Dahl’s paper, published 25 years ago and entitled, “Wisconsin Initiative for Improving Cancer Pain Management,” changed the way pain is viewed in this country and abroad.

“Dahl’s tireless work to improve how we care for patients in pain is an inspiration to all health care providers,” said ASHP President Kathryn R. Schultz, Pharm.D., M.P.H., FASHP. 

Dahl has been recognized with distinguished service awards from the American Pain Society and American Cancer Society, the Excellence in End-of-Life Care Award from HospiceCare Inc., and the Legislative, Policy and Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Pain Management. Today, she continues to strive for safe and effective management of pain through through educating prescribers and advocating action among legislators. She has been called the “godmother of pain management” and has worked tirelessly to challenge the barriers to pain management and opioid prescribing worldwide.

Dahl obtained a B.A. in Chemistry from Macalester College and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Iowa State University, Ames. 

About ASHP
ASHP is the national professional organization whose nearly 40,000 members include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students who provide patient care services in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics. For 70 years, the Society has been on the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's website,, or its consumer website,



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