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National Institutes of Health Selects 11 Centers of Excellence in Pain Education

Posted on May 23, 2012

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium has selected 11 health professional schools as designated Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPE). The CoEPEs will act as hubs for the development, evaluation, and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing, and pharmacy schools to enhance and improve how healthcare professionals are taught about pain and its treatment. Twenty institutes, centers, and offices at NIH are involved in the consortium.

"These new centers will translate current research findings about pain management to fill what have been recognized as gaps in curricula so clinicians in all fields can work with their patients to make better and safer choices about pain treatment," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The new Centers of Excellence in Pain Education were selected by the NIH Pain Consortium after a contract solicitation process and review. The awardees are the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville; the University of Rochester, N.Y.; the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston; the University of Alabama at Birmingham; the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine, Philadelphia; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and the University of Pittsburgh. Many of the new CoEPEs will build curricula across several of their health professional schools.

Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans, costing up to $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity, and producing immeasurable suffering for people of every age. Yet, pain treatment is not taught extensively in many health professional schools, and clinical approaches can be inconsistent. The curricula developed by the CoEPEs will advance the assessment, diagnosis, and safe treatment of a wide variety of pain conditions while minimizing the abuse of opioid pain relievers. They will include multiple case-based scenarios, many taught in video or electronic formats popularly used in contemporary academic settings.

Types of pain of particular interest to the NIH Pain Consortium are rehabilitation pain, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and headache pain. In addition, the curricula will teach about the pathophysiology and pharmacology of pain and its treatment, the latest research in complementary and integrative pain management, factors that contribute to both under- and over-prescribing of pain medications, and how pain manifests itself differently by gender, in children, in older adults and in diverse populations.

NIH institutes and centers funding the CoEPEs include the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is coordinating the project; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; the National Institute on Aging; the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research; the Office of Research on Women's Health; and NINDS. Other NIH institutes and centers that are part of the consortium will act as technical advisors to the project. The full list of the consortium members can be found at: http://painconsortium.nih.gov/members.html.

"While opioid pain medications have improved the quality of life for millions who suffer from pain, they can also produce harmful consequences, including addiction," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., a member of the consortium’s executive committee. "These new CoEPEs can help prevent negative outcomes by designing curricula that promote appropriate screening and management of chronic pain patients, along with education about the risks of prescription drug abuse."

Source: NIH News