by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP candidate, PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine
Please join the Pain Research Education and Policy Program’s (PREP) faculty, students and alumni for the 2011 Sackler Lecture on Thursday, April 21 at 4 PM in the Tufts Medical Center’s Wolff Auditorium. The PREP program is honored to host Dr. Rollin (Mac) Gallagher, MD, MPH for this year’s lecture. Dr. Gallagher, a prominent expert in the field of pain management, will address the complex pain issues confronting the military in today’s wars and how the VA Health System is managing these from acute injury through rehabilitation. His lecture is entitled: “The Veterans Administration Department of Defense Systems Redesign: Pain Management for Wounded Warriors from Injury to Recovery”.
Dr. Gallagher currently serves as Director of Pain Management, Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center. He is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Anesthesiology and Critical Care and Director for Pain Policy Research and Primary Care, Penn Pain Medicine Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is Editor-in-Chief of Pain Medicine, the official journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, that he has also served as president. He currently serves on the National Pain Management Strategy Coordinating Committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you cannot join us in person for Dr. Gallagher’s lecture, we will have a link to his recorded lecture posted here next week.
April 19th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student, PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine
Chronic pain is elusive, often impossible to visualize or describe, and a continuing challenge for patients and health care providers alike. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 76.5 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, an all encompassing term which includes pain that persists for months or years, often with no visible evidence of underlying injury. A recent Time Magazine Health Special featured an informative series of articles on the issue of chronic pain with new insights from the bench and the bedside, as well as patient stories reflecting on the challenges of living with pain.
Leading voices in pain management are quoted extensively in the Times Magazine health special focusing on chronic pain, one of whom is Dr. Rollin M. Gallagher, editor of Pain Medicine and the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Past President. The Tufts University Pain Research, Education and Policy Program is honored that Dr. Gallagher will be presenting the annual Sackler Lecture at Tufts Medical Center on April 21. Dr. Gallagher will be addressing the complex pain management issues of today’s combat veterans.
For more information about the 2011 Sackler Lecture, please click here.
March 27th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine
The American Pain Foundation has produced a number of helpful online videos for patients, families and health care professionals highlighting the complex nature of pain, especially chronic pain. It is essential that pain care be a multidisciplinary process with the patient an active participant in care. You may want to check out the American Pain Foundation’s selection of online videos on their YouTube site. Take a look at “Health Professionals Making a Difference in Pain Care” to listen to health professionals and pain patients share their message.
March 17th, 2011
Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine
Beliefs and expectations of a medication’s pain reducing ability may influence the amount of pain relief a patient receives from the drug, suggests a study recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine Science. In the study, The Effect of Treatment Expectation on Drug Efficacy: Imaging the Analgesic Benefit of the Opioid Remifentanil, investigators observed that the expectation of efficacy or lack of efficacy of the potent opioid Remifentanil shaped both therapeutic and adverse effects of the medication. Those participants who believed that the drug would have a positive effect on the experimental pain condition had double the pain relief benefit as compared to those who believed that the drug would have a negative or exacerbating effect on their pain. Evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging data suggest a multifocal expression of pain in the study participants with brain activity changes correlated to the expectation of efficacy of the analgesic. The study authors conclude that integrating patients’ beliefs and expectations into pain management may produce better treatment outcomes in the future.
March 6th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine
In honor of Valentine’s Day and in celebration of “heart month”, February, today’s blog entry asks the question…can viewing a photograph of a romantic partner reduce pain? This was the research question posed by investigators from Stanford University in a study entitled: Viewing Pictures of a Romantic Partner Reduces Experimental Pain published in PLoS ONE. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the investigators examined fifteen individuals in the early stages of a romantic relationship (first nine months). Participants completed three tasks under periods of moderate and high thermal pain: 1) viewing pictures of their romantic partner, 2) viewing pictures of an equally attractive and familiar acquaintance, and 3) a word-association distraction task previously demonstrated to reduce pain. Viewing pictures of a romantic partner and the distraction task both decreased the amount of self-reported pain experienced by the study participants. However greater pain relief was reported while viewing pictures of a romantic partner and this was the only study condition associated with increased activity in several reward-processing regions of the brain. According to the research team lead by Dr. Jarred Younger, “The results suggest that the activation of neural reward systems via non-pharmacologic means can reduce the experience of pain”. In the clinical setting, creating an environment that encouraging patients to have pictures of loved ones within view may help to achieve more effective pain management.
What are your thoughts on this study?
February 14th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator
Anticipate, Assess, Alleviate
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is the leading professional forum for science, practice and education in the study of pain. Each year the IASP focuses on an area of importance in the field of pain management. This year’s focus is acute pain, with 2010-2011 being designated as the Global Year Against Acute Pain by the IASP. Acute pain is the most frequent reason why patients visit an emergency department. Unfortunately, inadequate acute pain control is common. If uncontrolled or inadequately controlled, acute pain can result in increased health care costs due to longer hospital stays and a higher liklihood of the development of chronic pain. By raising awareness of acute pain as a significant health care issue, the IASP hopes to lessen the gap between acute pain knowledge and research and current clinical practice.
Click here to access resources and information about acute pain mangement and how to become involved in the IASP Global Year Against Acute Pain.
January 30th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED Blog Administrator and Moderator
As we enter a new year, pain is still the #1 reason individuals seek out medical care (American Pain Foundation data). Those who are involved in research, as well as direct caregivers of patients, know that pain is complex and needs to be addressed by a multi-modal and interdisciplinary approach. Let’s take stock of where we are and where we hope to go in 2011. We invite you to comment, discuss and brainstorm ways that we can more effectively manage pain on this site Let’s envision a day when pain is no longer the #1 reason individuals seek medical care.
Happy New Year…may your year be filled with opportunities and possbilities.
January 3rd, 2011
By Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student, PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator
Thank you to Dr. Daniel Carr, founder of the Tufts University School of Medicine’s Pain Research Education and Policy Programs (PREP) for alerting us to a collection of articles in a recent edition of Nature Medicine which review progress and challenges in pain research from the bench to the bedside. Take a look at some of the interesting issues being addressed with a focus on pain research and treatment.
Click here to view the table of contents
December 10th, 2010
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
Untreated or under-treated pain causes needless suffering and negatively affects the quality of life. That is why the management of pain remains a critical area of health care and why the concept is addressed throughout the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirements.
We congratulate the Tufts University School of Medicine’s Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs co-founder, Daniel Carr, MD, FABPM for providing the forward to the newly published second edition of Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders
Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders, published by the Joint Commission Resources, provides an overview of pain assessment and management, identifies what the standards require regarding the treatment of patients with pain, and offers guidance on making pain management an integral part of care services. Dr. Carr, an internationally recognized expert in pain management, provides both perspective and vision on the complex nature of pain.
The majority of the book is devoted to the best practices of health care institutions that have adopted focused pain programs. This updated guide also incorporates a global view of pain management, additional organizational best practices—including some from non-U.S. institutions. Other features include the following:
- Summaries of every Joint Commission and Joint Commission International pain assessment and management requirement across all health care settings
- Strategies for identifying and using evidence-based medicine resources for pain management
- Expanded case study chapters from clinical leaders describing how their organizations developed and implemented their pain management activities
- Techniques and ideas for understanding and meeting pain-related standards
- Guidance on committing an organization to pain management improvements
For more information about the newly released edition of Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders, click here
November 29th, 2010
By Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
You may see a new face if you are on the Tufts University School of Medicine campus in Boston these days. Wendy Williams, BSN, M.Ed, is in a new role with the Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs at Tufts University School of Medicine, focusing on program development and administration. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Wendy to ask her a few questions about herself and her visions for the PREP programs.
Welcome Wendy…Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I just arrived at Tufts from spending 8 years at Northeastern University in the School of Nursing working to ensure high quality clinical nursing education placements for both the undergrad/pre-licensure students and the advanced practice students seeking both clinical and non-clinical nursing master’s degrees. My own clinical nursing background centers around oncology and HIV/AIDS. I spent wonderful years at both Dana Farber Cancer Institute, during the time they had inpatient units, and at Harvard Community Health Plan/Harvard Vanguard with other highly skilled nurses on the HIV/AIDS Resource Team.I married a great guy back in 1996 who had a couple of sweet little boys who are now terrific college age young men, studying here in Boston. My husband, Jeff, and I live in Framingham with our 3-legged cat, Punky, and hairless dog, Diddy.
What interests you about the PREP programs?
The concern for under-treated pain and pain management are steady threads that ran throughout my own clinical practice. Ensuring adequate pain management is a strong cornerstone of quality nursing care and practice, so the PREP programs of study are very attractive to me and tie together much of what I value. The chance to work collaboratively with the three program leaders (who are also physicians), Dr. Dan Carr and Dr. Richard Glickman-Simon and Dr. Ylisabyth Bradshaw, is an opportunity I want to leverage.I have long sought ways to be a force behind strengthening linkages between medicine and nursing and other health care disciplines to encourage both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to health care. The PREP programs present an ideal setting to have broad-based conversations around the area of pain issues. Also, my own master’s degree is in education, specializing in adult and organizational learning, so . the opportunity to develop a program of study and optimize learning for students globally is a really strong draw for me to be here at Tufts working with the PREP programs.
What do you see as the strengths and challenges of the PREP program?
A real strength of the PREP programs is its unique position in masters level education that delves deeply into the many physical/clinical, social and scientific aspects of pain. There is not a population of people, worldwide, that is not impacted by pain issues. Also, the fact that the PREP programs are not solely clinically based creates a rich learning environment for many types of students… clinicians seeking to be subject matter experts in pain issues learn side by side with non-clinicians who may be seeing the PREP programs as a way to become well-informed advocates for pain issues. After about a month in this role, I see two challenges to the PREP programs that I would like to positively impact. One challenge is getting more and more people in the greater Boston area to know about this great set of programs and to become students in the program. I happen to know one graduate of the program, Hallie Greenberg, a nurse from the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and know that there are so many others that would be really inspired to become proficient in this area. The other challenge is understanding and communicating to others clear linkages between getting one of the certificates and/or the master’s degree and a specific career enhancement. There seems to be a certain pioneering element to encouraging students to go for the certificates or the degree as a natural next step in career growth.
What are your hopes and vision for the PREP program?
I hope that PREP grows steadily, both in numbers and in innovative educational initiatives, and sustainably with input from all communities of interest: students and alumni and staff and our steering committee and faculty and leaders in pain issues globally. I would love to speak with students and alumni and gain their insights on how we can best lead the way in pain research, education and policy. I welcome calls, 617 636-0815, emails email@example.com, or simply stop by my office in the M&V building, Room 142A. I’d love to meet you.
November 15th, 2010