PREP Faculty Pamela Ressler Named to Stanford’s Medicine X Program Executive Board

by Libby Bradshaw, DO, MS, Academic Director, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program  and Daniel Carr, MD, Director, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program, Tufts University School of Medicine

We were delighted and extremely proud to learn that PREP graduate and faculty member Pamela Ressler, MS, RN, HNB-BC was just named to the Medicine X Program ExePamela Katz Ressler RN MS HN-BC Distant Head Shotcutive Board as a Senior Leader for this renowned, cutting edge program. Six years ago while a student in the PREP program, Pam began to explore the use of social media by patients with chronic pain and other disabilities, as a mean to overcome their social isolation. Pam started and maintains this same PREP-Aired blog. Pam’s award-winning PREP Capstone project characterized this emerging social trend in detail, and led to subsequent publications in the professional and lay press, and numerous speaking engagements. She has collaborated with other faculty members in Public Health at Tufts, including Libby Bradshaw, Lisa Gualtieri and Ken Chui, in the PREP and Health Communication programs.

As a faculty member in the PREP program, Pam has taken on the role of Course Director for established courses such as those on the social and ethical dimensions of pain, and end-of-life and palliative care issues (another section of the latter course is taught by Lewis Hays). Recently with the assistance of PREP faculty Maureen Strafford, Pam inaugurated a well-received PREP course in mindfulness and pain. Outside of the PREP program, Pam is the founder of Stress Resources in Concord, Massachusetts, a firm specializing in building resiliency for individuals and organizations through tools of connection, communication and compassion.

Pam first began to present at Medicine X in 2014. As described on its website, Medicine X is an initiative “designed to explore the potential of social media and information technology to advance the practice of medicine, improve health, and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. The ‘X’ is meant to evoke a move beyond numbers and trends—it represents the infinite possibilities for current and future information technologies to improve health. Under the direction of Dr. Larry Chu, Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Medicine X is a project of the Stanford AIM Lab.”

Further details on this important appointment may be found at

Add comment January 26th, 2016

Can Love Reduce Pain?

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?

1 comment February 14th, 2011

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