National Pain Strategy PAINS Collaborators Meeting Recap
By Barby Ingle, Power of Pain Foundation President
On June 29 and 30, 2015, the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS), a group of over 100 pain collaborators and stakeholders, came together in Washington DC to discuss the National Pain Strategy (NPS). The purpose was to provide attendees an opportunity to discuss the NPS and find areas of agreement on next steps, collaborations, priorities, and to hold accountable those responsible for implementation.As the president of the Power of Pain Foundation, I was invited to participate. I went into the meeting with some preconceived notions based on little happening since the Institute of Medicine’s report in 2011 and didn’t expect much to be accomplished. To my great surprise, the meeting exceeded my expectations. I left the meeting feeling that a path toward implementation of stronger access to care issues was clarified as a result of the meeting. I am excited to be one of the attendees present that will be helping move a chronic pain agenda forward, making a difference in the lives of those living with pain.The goals of the meeting were to encourage collaboration among key pain community leaders, to promote the NPS report and build enthusiasm for it, and to facilitate conversations about how to move forward to implementation of the strategy outlined in the report.For me, the meeting clarified the path ahead for the NPS in terms of priorities,implementation, next steps, funding,leadership and accountability. One of the unintended outcomes from the meeting was the consensus to support the messaging of the Chronic Pain Advocacy Task Force (CPATF). The CPATF is a group of 17 consumer advocacy groups convened by the State Pain Policy Action Network (SPPAN), which is a program of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM). As a founding member of the CPATF and the representative of one of the 17 groups involved, I was very proud to see that our work was recognized by this larger group of collaborators and stakeholders. As agreed 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.
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