The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium has selected 11 health professional schools as designated Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs). 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 health care professionals are taught about pain and its treatment. Twenty institutes, centers, and offices at NIH participate in the consortium.
“Virtually all health professionals are called upon to help patients suffering from pain,” says NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “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.”
The NIH Pain Consortium selected CoEPEs after a contract solicitation process and review. The awardees are the University of Washington School of Medicine; the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Southern Illinois University School of Pharmacy, School of Dental Medicine, and School of Medicine; the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of New Mexico Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy and School of Medicine; the Harvard School of Dental Medicine; the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Health Professionals; the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Maryland; and the University of Pittsburgh. Many of the new CoEPEs will build curricula across several of their health professional schools.
“We were impressed with the scope and breadth of the proposals that came in from academic centers around the country—all recognizing the need for a more coordinated approach to the treatment of pain,” says Story C. Landis, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and Chair of the consortium. “We are confident that these 11 centers will lead the way in improving pain education for health care professionals, and ultimately, the quality of care for people who suffer from chronic pain.” Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million Americans, costing up to $635 billion in medical treatment and lost productivity, and causing immeasurable suffering for people of every age.
NIH supports the full spectrum of pain research from basic understanding of pain mechanisms through translation of discoveries into treatments and prevention strategies. In FY 2011, NIH supported $386 million in research focused on chronic pain, not including the related, chronic-pain-causing diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and stroke. The general public may view details of individual pain-focused grants on the NIH RePORTER website. The June 29, 2011, report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, published by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, highlighted enhancing education of pain care professionals.
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For more information on the NIH Pain Consortium, please refer to this website.