Since the late 1990s, Christopher has expanded the scope of her work to include the under-treatment of chronic pain. She speaks and writes about both pain and palliative care. Christopher also continually strives to advance PAINS’ mission of improving care for the more than 100 million Americans who live with chronic pain.
From 2010-2011, she served as a member of the Pain Study Committee at the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) which focused on the under treatment of pain. The IOM report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, was submitted to Congress in June, 2011. In 2012, Christopher was appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Christopher also consults with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to promote pain and palliative care as a public health issue and to provide education for directors of public health and aging services at the state level.
The many awards she has received for the work she has done to improve the care for those living with advanced illness and chronic pain include:
- American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Patient Advocacy Award
- American Academy of Pain Management’s Head Heart Award
- W.F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College
- American Academy of Critical Care Nursing Pioneering Spirit Award
- Marian Gray Secundy SANKOFA Award
- National Association of Attorney’s Generals President’s Award
- Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences – University of Missouri – Kansas City
- Honorary Alumnus of the Year, University of Kansas School of Nursing
- Nonprofit Professional of the Year, Kansas City Council on Philanthropy
- Honorary Doctorate, National University of Health Sciences in Chicago