While most in-person conferences and meetings have been canceled or postponed as a result of the pandemic, U.S. Pain Foundation staff were able to participate in three important virtual events recently.
On June 16, Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Clinical Director of Pain Connection, joined a videoconference meeting of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), the highest-ranking permanent pain policy committee in the United States. The IPRCC heard from representatives across various federal agencies and programs.
In April at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit and in a recent Journal of American Medical Association article, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced a bold new initiative to advance addiction and pain research called “Helping to End Addiction Long-term,” or the HEAL Initiative. Congress has added $500 million to NIH’s budget to pay for this initiative.
A record 540 U.S. Pain members have sent 2,010 letters to their representatives through an online campaign to support the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act. The bill would allocate $5 billion over 5 years toward developing new treatments for both chronic pain and substance use disorders. Pain has traditionally been grossly underfunded relative to its enormous impact.
“This is a very promising piece of pain legislation,” says Cindy Steinberg, national director of Policy and Advocacy. “The persistent underfunding of pain research relative to its burden means that we have very few effective and safe options of treating chronic pain.”
Pain advocates are encouraged to ask Congress to support Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act, which was introduced in December, through an easy online engagement campaign.
HR4733/S2260 proposes to expand, intensify, and coordinate research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with respect to the understanding of pain and the development of safer and more effective pain treatments. It also will help fund the development of improved options for medication-assisted treatment and opioid overdose reversal
The Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), the nation’s highest pain policy advisory committee, held its biannual meeting Oct. 23 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. The IPRCC is the committee that oversaw the development of the National Pain Strategy, as well as the recently released Federal Pain Research Strategy. U.S. Pain Foundation’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg, a member of the IPRCC, was in attendance.
On June 1, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released the Federal Pain Research Strategy (FPRS), a long-term strategic plan for the federal agencies that support pain research. It is essentially a companion plan to the National Pain Strategy (NPS), which identifies what steps must be taken to improve pain awareness, professional education, and delivery of care.
“U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased with the thoughtful work that was invested by many researchers in creating this excellent plan,” says Cindy Steinberg, national director of policy and advocacy for U.S. Pain. “There is no specific funding earmarked to implement this essential plan, so we encourage our members to support our efforts to advocate for increased funding for pain research at the NIH and within other federal agencies.”
U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy, Cindy Steinberg, was invited to present the patient perspective at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 12th Annual Pain Consortium Symposium on May 31 and June 1. Each year, noted researchers working in the field of pain management are invited to present their research findings and an award is given to a junior investigator who has done outstanding pain research.This year, the theme was, “Multidisciplinary Strategies for Pain Management.”