by Lesli Hill, MS – Volunteer Coordinator, PAINS Advisory Committee
Cindy Steinberg is a woman with a mission to use her serious workplace accident as a catalyst for improving pain care through policy change, transforming understanding of the personal impact of pain in the medical community and helping individuals with pain move toward a life that isn’t defined by pain.
Cindy has so many impressive accolades and awards for her policy work in pain it would take this entire piece to list them all. She is currently the National Director of Policy and Advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation and Policy Council Chair for the Massachusetts Pain Initiative.
In addition to her professional roles, Cindy has run a chronic pain support group for 17 years as a volunteer. As a person who lives with pain, Cindy realized that pain policy doesn’t always translate to improving the lives of individuals with pain. Since 2000, the group Cindy founded has helped hundreds of chronic pain sufferers and their families find positive ways to manage their lives despite pain. The group has created a safe and supportive community that enables members to discuss the impact pain has had on their lives without judgement.
This dedicated group still has some original members, and always welcomes new members with open arms at their monthly meetings. Some travel long distances to be a part of this pain family. The group shares responsibility for tasks that keep it going and in seventeen years, they have only cancelled three meetings, all due to wintry conditions.
There is no doubt that Cindy’s policy work has had a positive impact on pain care in this country, but it is her dedication to this group and how it has improved the daily lives of its members that she is most proud. It is a piece of her legacy that creates ripples of hope for people who live with pain and those who love and care for them.