by Myra Christopher, PAINS Director

Download a report from the PAINS Collaborators Meeting held earlier this summer.

Our goals for the meeting were to:

  • promote the National Pain Strategy Report and build enthusiasm for it
  • facilitate conversation about how to move forward to implementation of the report
  • encourage collaboration among key stakeholders

Based on responses to a survey circulated the day after the meeting, we are confident that we achieved our goals. Perhaps most gratifying to me is that, following the meeting, almost 94% of respondents said they felt more positive about the report than they had before the meeting.

An unintended outcome from the meeting was that a broad consensus supporting four core messages that had been developed by the Chronic Pain Advocacy Task Force emerged in the course of the meeting. CPATF is a group of 17 consumer advocacy groups that was convened by the State Pain Policy Action Network. (SPPAN is a program of the American Academy of Pain Management.)

With their permission, following the meeting, PAINS negotiated some minor revisions to the messages with key organizational stakeholders. As agree upon, the core messages are:

  • Chronic pain is a real and complex disease that may exist by itself or be linked with other medical conditions.
  • Chronic pain is both an under-recognized and under-resourced public health crisis with devastating personal and economic impact.
  • Effective chronic pain care requires access to a wide range of treatment options, including biomedical, behavioral health and complementary treatment.
  • Denying appropriate care to people with chronic pain is unethical and can lead to unnecessary suffering, depression, disability and even suicide.

We are pleased that these messages have now been endorsed by more than 50 organizations and pain leaders. If you or your organization is not among those, please contact us and add your name today.

PAINS has requested that HHS include the core messages in the final version of the National Pain Strategy Report. We have also asked organizations that have endorsed them to post them on their websites and incorporate them into their regular communications.

As one of the 19 members of the Institute of Medicine’s committee that published Relieving Pain in America which called for a national population health strategy to improve chronic pain care and as a member of the National Pain Strategy Oversight Committee, I believe we are at the precipice of “the cultural transformation in the way pain is perceived, judged and treated” called for in both reports.

Together we can do this. Together we have the opportunity to improve the lives of 100 million Americans. Together we can make our country more just and humane.

But we are at the beginning not the end. There is much work to be done.

Download the Report

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