by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student, PREP-AIRED blog moderator
Thanks to Cyndie Rodman, MS-PREP ’09, for sending along the press release from the recent Massachusetts Pain Initiative Survey. Cyndie writes that “the survey not only quantified the incidence of chronic pain among the Massachusetts general population, but also the differences and disparities experienced by minorities versus non-minorities. This is the first Massachusetts study we are aware of to look at how pain is experienced by minorities compared to non-minorities.” Tufts University School of Medicine’s Pain Research, Education and Policy (PREP) faculty member, Carol Curtiss, RN, MSN, as well as PREP guest lecturer, Paul Arnstein, PhD, APRN-BC, played instrumental roles in the survey. Click here to read the Massachusetts Pain Initiative’s press release about the survey. For more information about the Massachusetts Pain Initative, click here.
May 10th, 2010
by Nancy Mitchell, MS-PREP/NESA student
According to an American Journal of Medicine study, regular use of over the counter (OTC) pain relievers may contribute to hearing loss in men. In the prospective study, which included 27,000 men surveyed every two years between 1986 to 2004 approximately 25% of the men said they had been diagnosed with hearing loss. Individuals who used OTC pain relievers at least twice a week were more likely than non-users to be diagnosed. Previous nonhuman research has found some substances in pain-relievers can decrease blood flow to the cochlea, the part of the inner ear that converts waves sound into brain signals.
Click here to read an abstract of the study.
April 14th, 2010
By Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program at Tufts University has reached an important milestone by celebrating its first ten years of existence. In the Fall of 1999, the first two students were welcomed into the new master’s program, the first of its kind in the United States, founded by two prominent pain specialists, Daniel Carr, MD, an anthesthesiologist-internist, and sociologist Kathryn Lasch, PhD; and housed within the Tufts University School of Medicine. Recent MS-PREP alumna, Xu Cheng, discovered an archive edition of the Tufts Daily announcing the MS-PREP program’s launch on October 26, 1999.
Click here to view the Tufts Daily 1999 article
In 2009, the PREP program remains an innovative, multidisciplinary program that has grown and evolved since its launch a decade ago. As one of the foremost experts in the field of pain management, Dr. Daniel Carr continues to be a guiding presence in the growth and direction of the Pain Research Education and Policy program. On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of the program, I asked Dr. Carr to share his reflections about the PREP program with the PREP-AIRED blog community. Dr. Carr’s remarks appear in the italicized text below:
“Ten years ago, a front page article in the Tufts Daily announced the launch of a new Masters of Science degree program in Pain Research, Education and Policy (“MSPREP”). Kathryn Lasch PhD, a medical sociologist now with an international outcomes research consultancy, and I were its co-founders. The inaugural class had 2 students. Shahnaz Turkistani, a physician, returned to her native Saudi Arabia after graduation and now treats women with pain. Ewan McNicol, a Tufts-based pharmacist now on the PREP faculty, is known internationally for systematic reviews of pain therapies with the Cochrane Collaboration and others.
The first of its kind in the United States, our program remains unique and has grown slowly and steadily since 1999. We now offer a shorter, certificate track in addition to the original MS track. We owe much to the Sackler family, whose initial and ongoing support has been indispensable, the Hermanson family for funding scholarships, and the Saltonstall family for supporting pain research in the Department of Anesthesia at Tufts Medical Center, the source of many PREP faculty. Jeanne Connolly-Horrigan combined a marketing background and passion for pain control to help us grow enrollment during the mid-2000s. Richard Glickman-Simon MD, now its Director, brought a career-long interest in complementary and alternative medicine and built a successful dual degree program between PREP and the New England School of Acupuncture.
Our faculty have taught students, treated patients, advised policymakers and professional organizations, and authored many articles and books. Our next book is a guide to pain treatment for busy clinicians practicing in the current era of health care reform. The editors of this volume are Ewan McNicol MSPREP, Carol Curtiss MSN RN BC, a distinguished nurse educator and PREP faculty member, and me; other contributors include Richard Glickman-Simon MD, Libby Bradshaw DO, MS, PREP’s Associate Director, and Steven Scrivani DDS PhD, another valued faculty member. We 6 faculty comprise PREP’s Steering Committee. Given pain’s burden upon public health, it is most appropriate that PREP is housed within the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, capably led by Dean Harris Berman and more recently, Dean Aviva Must.
For me, the best thing about the first 10 years of PREP has been seeing our students succeed as they extend and enhance their careers, helping those with pain and becoming educational resources for their new colleagues. Students have come to PREP from across the US and from many countries, with diverse healthcare and non-healthcare backgrounds, and from other graduate programs at Tufts and affiliates. They have been MDs, RNs, DDSs, pharmacists, PTs, OTs, EMTs and others interested in pain, whether making a mid-career change from another field or beginning their graduate training immediately after college. One is the principal pain nurse educator in a large urban medical center. Another works with a world-famous outcomes research consultancy, on pain. Yet another accepted a high-profile advocacy position at a major pharmaceutical company. Another works in a hospice. Others have proceeded to medical or osteopathic school or to seek a PhD.
Our students are a very special group of altruistic people. We are proud of all they have achieved. We look forward to serving more and more students as society at large and the health professions increasingly understand how fundamentally important pain control is for quality of life, and accept pain control as a basic human right.”
Thank you to Dr. Carr and the PREP faculty for their vision and passion in the field of pain control, may the PREP program continue to blaze the trail for many years to come.
October 29th, 2009
by Jessica Gerber, M.Ac., Lic. Ac., MS-PREP
Another article about acupuncture and low back pain…Though this one focuses on pregnant women.
HealthDay News recently reported: “A week of continuous auricular acupuncture can reduce pain and disability in pregnant women with low back and posterior pelvic pain, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology“
“Shu-Ming Wang, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 152 women at 25 to 38 weeks’ gestation who had lower back pain, posterior pelvic pain or both, and were given either acupuncture or sham acupuncture, or put on a waiting list (control group). The subjects were then monitored for two weeks.”
“Compared with those in the sham acupuncture and control groups, women receiving auricular acupuncture reported the best results, the researchers discovered. At the seven-day mark, about 80 percent of the acupuncture group reported a clinically significant reduction in pain, whereas only 56 percent of the sham acupuncture group and 36 percent of those in the control group did. However, the authors note, for some of the participants, the benefits were not sustained.”
“Long-term efficacy of auricular acupuncture as a treatment for pregnancy-related low back and posterior pelvic pain is still inconclusive but clearly shows promise,” Wang and colleagues conclude. “A future large-scale randomized control study is indicated to explore the characteristics of acupuncture responders versus non-responders [and] the optimal duration of treatment to achieve the sustained therapeutic effect.”
October 14th, 2009
by Daniel Carr, M.D, FABPM, Founding Director PREP program Tufts University School of Medicine and Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
As the healthcare system has become more patient-centered, one sees increasing reference to patient rights to aspects of care, such as pain care. What does it mean for something — in particular, pain management
— to be a “human right”?
Do entitlements evolve into rights, or are rights something that have always existed but whose formal recognition may be slow to come? How is the human right to pain management operationalized within national legislative, judicial and regulatory systems, and healthcare policy? Dr Dan Carr, Founding Director of the PREP program, explores whether there is a fundamental human right to pain management in a comprehensive review available at
http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.com/cgi/reprint/105/1/205. Co-authored with two distinguished international authorities, this article was published in the official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society along with an unprecedented four editorials including a very affirming one from the World Health Organization. Those with a deeper interest in this important topic may wish to read the white paper prepared by Human Rights Watch, available at http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/health0309web_1.pdf .
What are your thoughts about pain managment as a fundamental human right? Please share your thoughts and comments.
July 29th, 2009