Rochester, Minnesota


Gazelka.Halena@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


Halena M. Gazelka, M.D., is an anesthesiologist with subspecialty training in pain medicine and palliative medicine. Her areas of research include chronic pain and its treatment, acute pain management, and particularly, opioids. Her opioid-related research is focused on prescribing for special populations, understanding opioid prescribing, guidelines for clinicians, tapering opioids, and appropriate opioid prescribing in varied settings and specialties.

Focus areas

  • Opioid use in surgical specialties
  • Opioid use and prescribing in patients undergoing spine surgery
  • Indications and complications of spinal cord stimulation
  • Treating acute postoperative pain more effectively and with fewer opioids
  • Institutional management of opioid stewardship

Significance to patient care

Dr. Gazelka is an expert on the opioid epidemic, its origins and its potential solutions. Through her work with colleagues on opioid-related topics, she hopes to enhance patient care by offering the right pain management for each patient, whether that treatment includes opioids or not.

Professional highlights

  • Medical director, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 2019-present
  • Member, Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council, Minnesota Department of Human Services, 2019-present
  • Chair, Opioid Advisory Committee, American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), 2017-present
  • Chair, Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program, 2016-present
  • Member, Ethics Council, AAPM, 2015-present
  • Producer, "The Opioid Fix" documentary series, PBS, 2019
  • Invited to testify, HELP Committee hearing on pain management and the opioid crisis, U.S. Senate, 2019
  • Member, Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018-2019


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Joint Appointment

  1. Consultant, Section of Palliative Care, Department of Internal Medicine

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology


  1. Fellow Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program, Mayo School of Graduated Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Enterprise
  2. Fellow Pain Medicine Fellowship Program, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. Resident Anesthesiology Residency Program, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. MD University of Minnesota Medical School
  5. BS - BS in Physician Assistant Studies University of Wisconsin
  6. BS - BS in cell and Molecular biology and minor in biochemistry Winona State University

Clinical Studies

Learn about clinical trials that address specific scientific questions about human health and disease.

Explore all research studies at Mayo Clinic.


See the peer-reviewed findings I have published as a result of my research.

Review publications.

Mayo Clinic Footer