Pain Awareness in Three Words

By Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, Faculty, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program, Tufts University School of Medicine, PREP-Aired blog moderator

When Pope Francis recently visited the United States, CNN asked its viewers to share, in three words, what the Pope meant to them. What a brilliant idea! As September is Pain Awareness Month, we in the PREP program put forth a similar challenge to our alumni, faculty and current students. We asked “what three words express what you want the world to know about pain”. Here are the results of our query in the form of a word cloud and some three word phrases:Pain Awareness


  • “Don’t give up”
  • “Try acupuncture first”
  • “The invisible captivity”
  • “Share with us”
  • “Don’t be afraid”
  • “There is hope”

What three words express what you want the world to know about pain? We welcome your comments.


Add comment September 29th, 2015

August Capstone Presentations

by Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, Faculty, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program and PREP-Aired moderator, Tufts University School of Medicine

Five graduating PREP students took to theAugust 2015 Tufts Capstone Presenters lectern on August 10, presenting their capstone projects to an audience of faculty, students, alumni, family and friends. After rigorous study and investigation, each student highlighted their chosen area of interest. While the capstones mark the culmination of matriculation in the PREP program, each of the graduates plan on continuing to expand their capstone projects in the areas of education, policy, and research as they move into their careers.

Congratulations to our newest graduates of the PREP program:

• Susan Neary, DVM
Integrating the Ancient Wisdom of Acupuncture into Modern Medicine: Using Case Studies in Developing CME for the Health Care Team
o Preceptor: Steven Scrivani, DMD
• Felice Indindoli
Gut Instinct: The Need for Guidelines in the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Abdominal Pain in Adolescent Girls
o Preceptor: Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD
• Alexandra vander Baan
Mind Over Matter: The Development of a Pilot Study Combining Acupuncture and Mindfulness
o Preceptor: Maureen Strafford, MD
• Byron Cheng-Han Lu, MAOM
Wear Your Pain on Your Sleeve: Exploration of Fitness Wearables and Pain Tracking
o Preceptor: Pamela Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC
• Abdulaziz Alfadhel, MD
Strategies that Transform: Toward Development of Electronic Self-Management Care in Chronic Pain Conditions
o Preceptor: Daniel B. Carr, MD

Add comment August 11th, 2015

Spring 2015 Capstones Reflect the Multidisciplinary Focus of the PREP Program

imageThe Pain Research, Education and Policy program prides itself in addressing the complex nature of pain in the individual and in society through multidisciplinary learning and collaboration.  The 2015 capstone projects exemplified the depth and breadth of the program by the varied nature of the graduating students’ innovative selection of topics and research. Congratulations to these members of the MS-PREP Class of 2015, the next generation of leaders in the field of pain.

Emily Rowe, MS-PREP, PharmD

  • Low-Dose Ketamine Infusion for Vaso-Oclusive Crises in Pediatric Patients with Sickle Cell Disease
  • Preceptor: Cathy Rosenfield, MD, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, The Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA

Lindsay St. Louis, MS-PREP

  • Social Support for Chronic Pain Patients: Are There Unmet Needs?
  • Preceptor: Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, Stress Resources LLC

Dora Kaluma, MS-PREP

  • Opioid Risk Management: Quality Improvement Evaluation
  • Preceptor: Ronald J. Kulich, PhD, Craniofacial Center, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Lyndsey A. Walsh, MS-PREP, MAc

  • Cancer Patients and Their Experience Receiving Acupuncture: How Treatment Impacts Quality of Life
  • Preceptors: Marybeth Singer, MS, ANP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN and Barbara Parton, LicAc, MAc, Tufts Cancer Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA

Add comment May 19th, 2015

The Intersection of Pain Practice, Research and Policy: Experiences in Improving Pain Control in Peace and War

rosemary polomanoby Pamela Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, PREP faculty and blog moderator, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program, Tufts University School of Medicine

The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program welcomes Rosemary C. Polomano, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Pain Practice, Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care (Secondary) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and
Perelman School of Medicine to Tufts on Tuesday October 14 (4-5 PM, DeBlois Auditorium, Sackler Building 1st floor,145 Harrison Avenue, Tufts Medical School, Boston). She will be discussing her experiences  in improving pain control and treating pain with members of the armed services, as well as addressing the intersection of practice, research and policy in times of war and peace.

Dr. Polomano, an accomplished researcher and clinician, has co-authored more than 25 peer reviewed data-based publications. Her research focuses on instrument development and testing of patient-reported outcome measures with emphasis on improving pain management and pain control with military service members and veterans experiencing pain from combat-related injuries.

Please join the students, alumni, faculty and friends of the Tufts’ Pain Research, Education and Policy Program for this important and informative lecture on Tuesday, October 14.  Read more on the PREP Website

Add comment September 30th, 2014

Tufts Pain Research, Education and Policy Alumna Contributing Author to Pain Medicine

Pain MedicineLynn Teo, ’12 MS-PREP,  is a contributing author to a recent special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Pain Medicine, “Are Active Self-Care Complementary and Integrative Therapies Effective for Management of Chronic Pain?: A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature and Recommendations for the Field“.

In 2010, the Army Surgeon General’s Pain Management Task Force and the Institute of Medicine recommended active self-care complementary and integrative therapies that require minimal training for the management of chronic pain. This systematic review put out by the Samueli Institute sought to rigorously assess the quality and effectiveness of these self-care strategies.  Yoga, tai chi and music therapies yielded the most compelling studies in the treatment of chronic pain, with music therapy showing the best results.  The report also sought to identify gaps in the literature, and to make recommendations for further research as well as steps for implementing programs to increase the practice of these complementary and integrative therapies.

Lynn Teo, MAOM, MSc, graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture in 2011 and from the Tufts University School of Medicine’s  Pain Research, Education and Policy Program in 2012.  She is a review manager for the Systematic Review Initiative at the Samueli Institute, a non-profit research organization committed to exploring the science of healing, including complementary modalities such as acupuncture, meditation and yoga. Alongside her work as a researcher, Lynn is owner of Three Rivers Wellness in Bethesda, MD where she teaches yoga and practices Japanese-style acupuncture, Chinese herbs and shiatsu. She enjoys bringing her clinical expertise to her research work and applying the knowledge she acquires as a researcher to her practice.


Office of the Army Surgeon General.  Pain Management Task Force Final Report: Providing a standardized DoD and VHA vision and approach to pain management to optimize the care for warriors and their families. Falls Church, VA: 2010

Lee C, Crawford C, Teo L, Spevak S. Active Self-Care Therapies for Pain (PACT) Working Group. An analysis of the various chronic pain conditions captured in a systematic review of active self-care complementary and integrative medicine therapies for the management of chronic pain symptoms. Pain Med 2014;15

(Suppl 1):96-103.


Add comment July 2nd, 2014

NEW COURSE for Summer 2014: Interprofessional Team Management of Pain

New Tufts PREP Course Offering for Summer 2014

interprofessional pain management

Interprofessional Team Management of Pain (PREP 244; 0.5 credit)

Health care is increasingly delivered by groups of providers with diverse professional training, roles and identities. Lack of coordination and communication between health professionals may lead to adverse patient outcomes and lower patient satisfaction, risk management challenges, and provider dissatisfaction and burnout.  This course provides tools to construct effective interprofessional (“IP”) teams to treat pain within models of care such as the medical home, to assess how well these teams are functioning, and to analyze and repair their dysfunction.  Attendees will acquire knowledge and skills for achieving outcomes crucial to patient-centered care, focusing on pain and its treatment.

Led by seasoned IP clinician educators from occupational therapy and medicine, joined by fellow educators from the nursing and pharmacy professions, this innovative course will present methods to analyze and optimize team function.  Attendees will examine how teams function as small groups, and identify how to shape cohesive functional groups.  Participants will also develop skills to turn typical threats to team function from destructive forces to constructive and/or creative elements.

Pain is the most common reason for patients to seek medical care. By the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to analyze, optimize, and if circumstances require create de novo the team-based processes and policies that shape effective and efficient care of patients with pain.  Applying these principles to optimize IP team management of pain will impact upon patient satisfaction, quality measures and potentially, and quality-based payment.  In keeping with the PREP’s approach of training the trainers, attendees will be equipped to assume leadership roles in the assessment and treatment of pain within multiple organizational models including the medical home.

Dates & Location

·         The 2014 course will take place from Thursday May 29 through July 2.

·         Onsite class sessions will take place on Thursday evening, May 29 from 4-7 PM and Friday May 30 from 9AM- 5PM.  [Dinner Thursday and lunch Friday plus snacks are included.]

·         Online synchronous videoconferencing for case discussions and team problem-solving continue at 5:30-7:30 PM Wednesdays on June 11, June 18, June 25 and July 2.


To learn more about our Summer 2014 courses visit: To register for non-credit enrollment click “Register now for a course” at the end of the first paragraph on that web page. Non-credit enrollment is meant for those who want the experience of this course without receiving a grade, nor submitting homework or other assignments. Course cost for non-credit enrollees is $1,130 ($905 if paid before April 29, 2014).

Current Tufts graduate students may enroll in the course through the Integrated Student Information System (iSIS) and will be responsible for pre-course readings and 2 papers.  The standard fee per graduate credit will apply.  Prospective applicants wishing to earn credit graduate credit towards a future Tufts degree should follow this link: 

Contact the co-course director, Dan Carr at with any questions.


Add comment April 15th, 2014

Interprofessional Humanistic Approach to Relieving Pain in America

by Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, Faculty, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP), Tufts University School of Medicine

The Pain Research Education and Policy Program (PREP) invites you to attend an informative talk by Edward Bilsky, PhD on Tuesday, February 25 from 4-5 PM at the Tufts Dental School, 14th floor, 1 Kneeland St, Boston (room 1414, Rachel’s Amphitheater). Dr. Bilsky is the 2014 Recipient of the Patient Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and his talk: “Lighting the Song with Sense and Color: an Interprofessional Humanistic Approach to Relieving Pain in America” will provide a springboard to discussion of interdisciplinary pain care. Dr. Bilsky is the Vice President for Research and Scholarship, and a Professor of pharmacology at the University of New England. Additionally, his is the founder and co-director of the Center for Excellence in Neurosciences.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bilsky to the Tufts University Health Sciences campus — all are welcome to attend this free event.

Tufts University School of Medicine


Public Health & Professional Degree Programs

Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP) presents:


“Lighting the Song with Sense and Color: an Interprofessional Humanistic Approach to Relieving Pain in America”

Edward Bilsky

Edward Bilsky, PhD

VP for Research & Scholarship, University of New England; Professor, Pharmacology; Founder & Co-Director, Center for Excellence in Neurosciences; 2014 Recipient of Patient Advocacy Award, American Academy of Pain Medicine


When: 4-5 PM, Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Where: Tufts Dental School, 14th Floor

1 Kneeland Street, Boston (corner of Washington St)

Rachel’s Amphitheater (Room 1414)


Add comment February 14th, 2014

PREP Alumnus Co-Director of Integrative Health for Pain Relief Conference

makena maui hawaiiby Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, faculty, Pain Research Education and Policy Program (PREP), Tufts University School of Medicine

PREP graduates go on to become leaders in the field of pain management, as evidenced by PREP/NESA alumnus, Ian Koebner, in his role as co-director of the Integrative Health for Pain Relief Conference to be held from April 3-6, 2014 in Maui, Hawaii.

The Integrative Health and Pain Relief Conference is being sponsored by University of California-Davis Division of Pain Medicine and Integrative Medicine Program and will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of professionals to come together in both didactic and experiential inquiry to explore the best practices in integrative pain management. Ian states, “The conference is very aligned with the Tufts Pain Research, Education and Policy program’s focus on exploration of pain from the molecule to macro.”  Leading academic and clinical experts in multiple disciplines relating to the integrative management of pain have been selected to present at the conference. The overall objective of the conference will be to provide current, scientific evidence on complementary and alternative medicine approaches used in relieving pain and suffering such as acupuncture, mindfulness based stress reduction, yoga, and nutritional interventions, with the ultimate goal of translating these approaches into improved patient outcomes. The conference planning committee hopes that the interactive nature of the conference will attract a wide variety of professionals, including physicians, nurses, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other allied health care professionals interested in integrative models of pain management. For more information on registration for the Integrative Health for Pain Relief Conference,click here



Add comment December 30th, 2013

2013 Revison of the Declaration of Helsinki

by Pamela Katz  Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, faculty, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP), Tufts University School of Medicine

physican and patient talkingIn 1964, the Declaration of Helsinki ushered in a new paradigm of thinking about medical ethics and research worldwide. Since that time there have been seven revisions of the original Declaration of Helsinki, the most recent one being released this week by the World Medical Association. In the past 50 years healthcare has undergone a myriad of changes, including additional checks and balances for patient protection, such as informed consent and hospital ethics committees: the Declaration of Helsinki has been instrumental in helping to increase awareness of the importance of ethic principles in relation to patients and human research participants. As a living document, there will undoubtedly be continued revisions of the Declaration of Helsinki in years to come. It is important to realize that as far as we have come in the past 50 years, building awareness of ethics in patient care and human subject research, there is still much work to be done locally, nationally and globally.

Click here to read the newly released 2013 Declaration of Helsinki. Are there additional areas that you would amend or revise ?

Add comment October 20th, 2013

Building a Better Aspirin: The Frontiers of Pain Medicine Development

By Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, Pain Research, Education and Policy Program, Tufts University School of Medicine

As the burden of pain continues to weigh heavily on our public health and health care system, developmenprep 2013 sackler schmidtt of innovative ways of safe and effective pain management methods is imperative. The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program (PREP) is honored to have William Schmidt, PhD present the 2013 Sackler Lecture, entitled Building a Better Aspirin: The Frontiers of Pain Medicine Development on Tuesday, September 24 from 4-5 PM at the Tufts University Medical Campus, 145 Harrison Ave (Sackler Building) room 114. Dr. Schmidt is the past president of the Eastern Pain Association and an internationally-recognized expert on pain research and therapeutics.  Of particular interest to Dr. Schmidt is the evolution of safer, more effective pharmaceuticals for the treatment of persistent or chronic pain. The Pain Research Forum interviewed Dr. Schmidt recently on his vision of the future of pain medicine development (click here for a link to the interview).

We hope you will be able to join us on Tuesday, September 24 for Dr. Schmidt’s lecture followed by audience discussion with Dr. Schmidt and members of the PREP program.


Add comment September 12th, 2013

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